Gluten-free, Special Diets, Vegan/Vegetarian

Roasted Acorn Squash with Lentils and Pearl Onions

Loreto November 16, 2017

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Roasted Acorn Squash with Lentils and Pearl Onions, is one of those dishes that looks beautiful, and has such interesting textures and flavors, making it a hit in our kitchen! A quick stop to The Italian Centre Shop for some great quality ingredients and we are on your way to creating and constructing this dish.

Song of the Day: “I’m Coming Out” by Diana Ross.

Roasted Acorn Squash with Lentils and Pearl onions

[This post is sponsored by The Italian Centre Shop. We’ve been compensated but -as always- all opinions are our own.]

Roasted Acorn Squash with Lentils and Pearl Onions exemplifies flavors of seasonal vegetables using simple roasting techniques and wonderful organic ingredients giving us the best results that passionate foodies can give!



We feel very fortunate to have an Italian market like the Italian Centre Shop. A family-owned business that has stood the test of time and has grown into a very successful business. I remember going to the original store in Little Italy. Walking it you were quickly immersed into the Italian culture with wine jugs up on shelves, beautiful oversized ornate dolls, and these huge gargantuan provolone cheeses only to be overshadowed by the monstrous mortadella hanging from the ceiling. I always loved the smell of those delicious deli meats and cheeses, and was always excited to get home and break open the deli packages and take a slice of fresh pagnotta to make me a sandwich, or as we used to call it, sangweech.

Developing recipes for ITC is always a pleasure knowing we get to go to the store and do some fun shopping and then home to create. The Italian Centre Shop is not just a store where you grocery shop, it is a cultural experience and has a vibrant energy to go with it called ambiance and history.

So let’s take it to the present moment. We are into the winter season it is snowy and a bit cold.  There is definitely a lot of squash gracing the produce section, and squash says comfort and deliciousness.

Usually, squash recipes consist of soups, mash, etc, as we have done in some of our recipes, but we wanted something different, and we found it in the “How To Eataly” cookbook, kind present to Nicoletta from Margaret Kitchen Frau. When I saw the Roasted Squash with Lentils and Pearl Onions recipe,  I was very intrigued by the look, the textures, the colors and could only imagine the flavor, so the only thing to do was to bring this dish to life and then can truly tell you about it. I only changed one thing, I  substituted pearl onions for the cipollini onions that were in the recipe. I was thinking that I love the look and also that beautiful flavor of the pearl onion when it is roasted.


The ingredients for this Roasted Acorn Squash with Lentils and Pearl Onions are nicely unpacked and on our table. Acorn squash, organic black lentils which look a bit mysterious, but that will showcase the color of that squash beautifully. On with the list: carrot, celery, shallot, pearl onions, black peppercorns, fresh thyme, and one of my favorite spices, fresh sage. The condiments: extra virgin cold pressed olive oil, and some aged balsamic vinegar along with balsamic cream.

I think we are set, so let’s get to creating this Roasted Acorn Squash with Lentils and Pearl Onions!

Roasted Acorn Squash with Lentils and Pearl onions

One thing I love about this recipe is the way the squash is prepared. A little knife skill is involved as you strip only portions of the outer skin to give a striped effect. This will look and taste incredible. The squash is roasted after it is seasoned and splashed with olive oil. This is also done with the pearl onions after they are halved. The easy part, into the oven they go to release all those sugars and get all caramelized and delicious. Now as for these black lentils. I placed the herbs consisting of fresh sage and thyme along with the peppercorns and put them in a cheesecloth sachet. Closed it up. To flavor up the black lentils a bit more, some minced carrot, shallot, and celery, nicely sauteed in a pot then swirled around coating and infusing all that flavor into this incredible miniature pulse. The smell is heavenly and to seal the deal, some water and that herb sachet, and just some time to let these morsels cook slowly and intensely.


I have to tell you, between the acorn squash and pearl onions roasting in the oven and the lentils simmering on the stove, the aroma is spiking my appetite. Might have to make up a charcuterie board to munch on while we cook, and maybe a glass of wine, why not, as I say to Nicoletta, live a little!

When everything is said and done the plating begins and you are going to have to bring out your inner artist. Look at the dimension of texture happening here. The lentils offering a mystic depth and those beautiful plump onions sparking vitality and brightness. The acorn squash just bringing in the third dimension and its color so vivid and awakening on the backdrop of the black lentils. Those nice splashes of the reduced aged balsamic combined with the balsamic cream offer a nice variation of texture and enticing color.

Roasted Acorn Squash with Lentils and Pearl onions

Don’t you just want to dive in? It looks so good. I wish sometimes that there could be smell vision. So you could experience the aroma of this dish. Maybe one day, as technology is always being born.


The flavor of the squash is magnificently sweet, nutty, and with that texture so soft and substantial. I have to say the skin is nicely crispy which adds just a bit of diversity to the tongue. Those pearl onions caramelized, soft with those crispy edges take onion sweet flavor to another level and the way they just melt in combination with the earthy, nutty starchiness of the lentil with that bit of bite all infused with the mirepoix of shallot, carrot, celery and the infusion of the herbs and peppercorn, gives you a combination bar none super uber scrumptious, and delicious!

If you are a bit adventurous and love working with great seasonal ingredients, this recipe is for you. So from our kitchen at Sugarlovespices, enjoy our recipe for Roasted Acorn Squash with Lentils and Pearl Onions!

Happy Cooking!

Song of the day: “I’m Coming Out” by Diana Ross.

A big thank you to the Italian Centre Shop for allowing us to express our passion and creativity!

Roasted Acorn Squash with Lentils and Pearl onions

Roasted Acorn Squash with Lentils and Pearl Onions

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes


  • 1 acorn squash
  • 3 Tbsp e.v.o. oil
  • Fine sea salt to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 20 white pearl onions halved
  • 1 sprig fresh sage
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tsp whole peppercorns
  • 1 carrot minced
  • 1 rib celery minced
  • 1 medium shallot minced
  • 1 cup organic black lentils
  • Aged balsamic vinegar
  • Balsamic cream


  1. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  2. Wash acorn squash.
  3. With a sharp pairing knife, carefully peel the outer edge of each rib of the acorn squash. Leave the skin on the indented parts creating a stripped effect .
  4. Halve the acorn squash and scoop out strings and seeds.
  5. Now cut squash in the indentations creating crescents.
  6. Toss crescents with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  7. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  8. Place the seasoned crescents onto the baking sheet.
  9. Bake for 16 minutes then turn crescents over and cook for another 18 minutes or until squash looks golden and is soft.
  10. While squash is baking toss pearl onion halves into a bowl and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper.
  11. Place on another parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes or until onions are soft and caramelized on the edges.
  12. Next place sage, thyme, and peppercorns in a cheesecloth sachet.
  13. Toss minced carrot, celery, and shallot in a medium pot drizzled with 1 Tbsp of the e.v.o. oil.
  14. Saute for 5 minutes till veggies are soft.
  15. Place in lentils and stir well.
  16. Add 3 1/2 cups water and the herb sachet to the pot and bring to a boil.
  17. Reduce heat to a low simmer.
  18. Cook for 30 minutes or until lentils are soft but still hold their shape, and the water has been absorbed.
  19. Take out herb sachet and season lentils with salt and set aside.

To Serve:

  1. Arrange a bed of lentils on each serving plate.
  2. Top with a few slices of the acorn squash, and some pearl onions.
  3. Drizzle with some of the aged balsamic vinegar.
  4. Finish with a nice drizzle of balsamic cream.
  5. Ready to serve.
  6. Enjoy!


  • Serving Size: 4 servings
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Roasted Acorn Squash with Lentils and Pearl onions

[This post is sponsored by The Italian Centre Shop. We’ve been compensated but -as always- all opinions are our own.]

P.S. Making our recipes? Take a pic and tag us on Instagram: #sugarlovespices. You’re going to be in our gallery!

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  • Avatar
    Reply Koko Brill November 17, 2017 at 8:39 am

    Suchhh a great meal for vegetarians – or anyone! I love all the rich, savoury flavours you’ve used. I can imagine this being so hearty and satisfying on a chilly day. I love how you have such a great local shop to support. The personal feel, quality and care you get from family-owned or small businesses is the best!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto November 17, 2017 at 12:46 pm

      So True Koko, this day and age of modernization and automation personalized human interaction and experiences are becoming less, but I am an advocate for human interaction and keeping that experience alive. There is nothing like having a real conversation or asking for help from a real person.Nicoletta and I feel very fortunate to have that here and in Italy where it is still the norm. As for this dish you hit the nail on the head, healthy, substantial, and not only for vegetarians. I loves all the flavorsa and those colors just made me feel so warm inside.
      Than yopu so much for the delightful comment.
      Have a most wonderful weekend!

  • Avatar
    Reply Ayngelina (@Ayngelina) November 17, 2017 at 8:39 am

    I don’t know what it is but I can NEVER cook lentils, they go straight from hard to mush for me. I cannot figure out what I’m doing wrong but I’ve given up on making them.

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto November 17, 2017 at 12:56 pm

      Hi Ayngelina, Lentils are one of those things where you have to try it a few times but when you get it, you never stear from the path. What I would do is check them frequently and set the timer so when they are just right mark the time. It can also be the amount of water you are using to cook them. Maybe the quality of lentil. We used an organic black lentil and I have to say it was fantastic. You know there are dished that demand that kind of mushy consistency, even a veggie burger works better with it a bit soft. I hope you figure it out, and hope I helped in some way, or else if you are ever in the great white north, let us know we will give a lentil cooking class.
      Have a wonderful friday!

  • Avatar
    Reply Gabrielle @ eyecandypopper November 17, 2017 at 9:13 am

    Ohh this looks yummy and comforting for a winter dish! I love black lentils. Although I can never figure out how to call them, I’ve heard French lentils too or even beluga lentils… lol

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto November 17, 2017 at 1:03 pm

      Hi Gabrielle, call them whatever you wish. These combinations of flavors are fantastic and that balsamic reduction and cream takes this plate over the top, giving it that sweet acidic boost without overpowering the other ingredients. I love when flavors balance themselves this way and makes the recipe a total package.Thanks a bunch for stopping by, and have the greatest weekend ever!

  • Avatar
    Reply Nicole November 17, 2017 at 9:48 am

    You guys are always making me hungry. I do agree with you that smell vision should exist, but maybe I’d be even hungrier then. Hmmm. The presentation of this dish is beautiful, and that balsamic is making me drool!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto November 17, 2017 at 3:50 pm

      Hi Nicole so glad to hear that we made you hungry, means we are doing our job well, afterall it is about food and creative ways to use it. The smellvision would be interesting, we will have to look at the future and see what comes,lol.
      Have a great weekend!

  • Avatar
    Reply Shauna Oberg November 17, 2017 at 10:19 am

    This looks like such a delicious and healthy recipe that’s right up my alley! Aren’t roasted vegetables the best?

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto November 17, 2017 at 3:54 pm

      Hi Shauna it goes to show you that healthy can be beautiful and delicious too. Years ago healthy ment steamed brussel sprouts, blanched spinach, over boiled foods, or extremely raw foods, boy we have come a long way, and thank God. This dish is just a bundle of healthy and deliciousness. The roasting of the vegetables creates such a well rounded and tasty profile, especially with that uniqueness of the black lentils Thank you for commenting really appreciate it.
      Happy Cooking!

  • Avatar
    Reply Nicole November 17, 2017 at 6:04 pm

    I really wish I enjoyed butternut squash because this looks great! I do like lentils. Great photos!

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto November 18, 2017 at 7:32 am

      Hi Nicole, maybe we still have a chance to get you on the squash train. If butternut squash is not your thing in this recipe we used acorn squash which is a bit more sweet and subtle and roasting it gives it such an amazing flavor. The way I ate this dish was to get a little of each ingredient so I got the full spectrum of flavors and also the totality of the harmonization of textures, which I felt in my humble opinion was so delicious and inspiring! The only thing I can say is try the recipe. The worst thing that could happen is that you don’t like it and you would never make it again, and so it is no fault, no foul.
      Thank you for commenting!
      Have an awesome Saturday!

  • Avatar
    Reply Margaret@KitchenFrau November 18, 2017 at 12:04 am

    You have, again, turned ordinary foods into a work of art! I love the rustic fall colours and flavours which you’ve turned into such an elegant dish. I love the flavours of all your ingredients separately (especially love lentils) and have never thought to put them together. Great photography. I’m glad you are able to use the cookbook 🙂

    • Loreto
      Reply Loreto November 18, 2017 at 7:25 am

      Thank you Margarette, your words are always encouraging and heart felt. I love using food as an art form and you know what they say once an artist always an artist. It is funny that when we here that word we think painter, art museum, but for me an artist is a person who can weave imagination into reality using the mind, body, soul, and emotion. As on a canvas if one takes the time to look at what is being presented for the taking, you can begin to see the depth of the creation and the emotion involved in bringing it to life. So when The Italian Centre Shop wanted us to do a recipe using fall seasonal ingredients, this recipe in the Eataly cookbook animated in my mind and I so wanted to bring it to life to share with our followers.
      As usual I am so grateful for your comments.
      Have an amazing weekend Margarette!
      Ciao for now!

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