Roast squash & manchego with honey paprika dressing

Quick: Think of Spanish foods. What comes to mind? Probably tapas, cured meats, chorizo and stews —  but veggies, not so much. Prepare to broaden your horizons with this roast squash, manchego and honey paprika dressing recipe, inspired by He Needs Food, that tastes a bit familiar and yet, not.

You’ve probably indulged in dishes with these same ingredients, but not when they’ve been joined in quite the same way. This recipe fuses some of the most mouthwatering flavors found in nature for a dish that you’ll not soon forget.

This recipe calls for acorn squash, which has a sweet, nutty flavor. Readily available at farmers markets and grocery stores, it can be stored for up to a month in a cool, dry location. If you want to up the adventure quotient of this dish, experiment with different members of the winter squash family such as pumpkin, butternut squash and calabaza.

ALSO TRY: Butternut squash with almond-pecan parmesan

The Anaheim pepper, named for the city in Southern California where they were first grown commercially, adds just a touch of spice that blends perfectly with the earthiness of the squash. Can’t find Anaheims? No problem. A Poblano pepper, banana pepper or other mild green chili would be a good substitute — unless, of course, you want to spice this dish up a bit with a jalapeño, serrano or Fresno chili pepper instead.

Manchego cheese is a gift straight from the La Mancha region of Spain. This sharp, hard cheese made from sheep’s milk lends an earthy, nutty flavor. If you want to experiment with other cheeses or have trouble finding this in your supermarket, you can substitute Parmesan, Romano or very sharp white English cheddar.

Just a bit of chopping, drizzling, mixing and baking will give you a truly different dish — and maybe even some inspiration to try other new recipes. It’s time to get a few more stamps in your culinary passport!

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Cut top off of an acorn squash

Squash can be intimidating, but it is actually very easy to prep and cook!

Cut top off of acorn squash

Scoop seeds out of squash

Remove all insides and seeds. The seeds can be rinsed and roasted for a tasty snack.

Scoop seeds out of squash

Slice into sections for roast squash and manchego with honey paprika dressing

Use a sharp knife, as the uncooked squash is very firm.

Slice squash into sections for Roast squash, manchego and honey paprika dressing

Cut an anaheim pepper into slices and remove seeds

The seeds and membrane are where all the heat lies in peppers.

Cut anaheim pepper into slices and remove seeds

Add olive oil, peppers, walnuts and garlic to squash and stir to coat

Olive oil gives the squash moisture to roast in, while the garlic adds flavor.

Add olive oil, peppers, walnuts, and garlic to squash and stir to coat

Spread onto sheet-pan for roast squash and manchego with honey paprika dressing

Spread evenly on sheet-pan so that all ingredients cook consistently.

Spread mixture on sheet-pan for Roast squash, manchego and honey paprika dressing

Whisk together ingredients for honey paprika dressing

This super simple dressing can be made ahead of time if you like. The sweet honey pairs nicely with the smokey paprika.

Whisk together ingredients for honey paprika dressing

Pour dressing over roast squash mixture

All the flavors compliment each other beautifully to create an earthy, smokey and sweet dish.

Pour dressing over roasted squash mixture

Add manchego cheese and move to a serving dish

Manchego cheese shaved over the top finishes the dish.

As easy as that for Roast squash, manchego and honey paprika dressing

So many wonderful textures and flavors!

Crunchy walnuts and creamy squash make for a perfect side dish.

So many wonderful textures and flavors!

An absolutely unique side dish!

Your guests will be impressed.

Roast squash, Manchego and honey paprika dressing

Yield 4 servings


  • 2-1/2 to 3 pounds acorn squash
  • 1 long Anaheim pepper
  • 1 whole bulb garlic
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup virgin olive oil
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/3 pound Manchego cheese


  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Leaving skin on, cut squash into 2-inch wedges and scrape away seeds.
  3. Cut pepper into 1-1/2-inch rings; discard seeds.
  4. Separate cloves from bulb of garlic, leaving skin on. Discard root.
  5. Put squash, pepper, walnuts and garlic cloves into mixing bowl. Add rosemary.
  6. Drizzle with oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Then, mix all together.
  7. Arrange ingredients in single layer on roasting tray.
  8. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.


  1. Whisk all dressing ingredients in bowl to combine.


  1. When squash is done baking, arrange on serving platter or board with pepper.
  2. Gently squeeze each clove of garlic to extract insides, then dot around squash and peppers.
  3. Shake dressing; drizzle over vegetables.
  4. Sprinkle shaved Manchego over all.
  5. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

Courses Side dish