Maple-Cinnamon Squash Agrodolce

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instant pot maple cinnamon squash agrodolce recipe
Christopher Testani/Instant Family Meals

Cookbook author Sarah Copeland is known for beautiful, simple food that we want to eat every night, and her newest title, Instant Family Meals, is full of exactly that. This maple-cinnamon squash agrodolce recipe is the perfect example: It’s gorgeous but requires few ingredients, and comes together in all of 30 minutes.

“One of my earliest food memories is of my mom’s baked acorn squash,” Copeland writes, “with pools of brown-sugary butter floating in its roomy cavity—an American classic. Squash is inexpensive, nutrient-dense and easy—though time-intensive—to prepare. I’ve tweaked my mom’s recipe for a quicker weeknight side dish with a touch of agrodolce (Italian for ‘sour and sweet’) thanks to a blend of cider vinegar and maple syrup, so the squash, not brown sugar, is front and center.”

As for the squash, she suggests Delicata, a striped squash whose skin you can eat—but any smallish winter variety, like sweet dumpling, carnival or acorn will do.

Reprinted with permission from Instant Family Meals. Copyright © 2020 by Sarah Copeland. Photographs copyright © 2020 by Christopher Testani. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House, LLC.


2 small winter squash, halved and seeded (or quartered to fit, if large)

1 teaspoon flaky sea salt, such as Maldon

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

¾ cup water

3 tablespoons pure maple syrup

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons unsalted butter (or a dairy-free butter substitute)


1. Sprinkle the squash with the flaky salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes and cinnamon; drizzle with the olive oil and then add to the inner pot of the pressure cooker, layering as needed. Add the water to the pot. Lock on the lid and Pressure Cook on High Pressure for 12 minutes.

2. Release the pressure naturally (about 10 minutes), then open the lid. Set the inner pot aside until the squash is just cool enough to handle (the squash should be completely tender but still hold its shape). Transfer the squash to a platter and keep warm.

3. Add the maple syrup and cider vinegar to the liquid in the inner pot. Set the pressure cooker to Sauté and cook until slightly reduced and thickened, 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the butter to emulsify.

4. Drizzle the sauce over the squash and serve.

Variation: To make Vegan Coconut Squash with Toasted Walnuts and Pomegranate, prepare the squash, omitting the cinnamon and using coconut oil instead of butter. Top the cooked squash with toasted walnuts, flaky sea salt and roughly chopped fresh parsley. Squeeze some lemon juice generously over the top and serve sprinkled with pomegranate seeds.

Nutrition Facts
  • 139 calories

  • 6g fat

  • 22g carbs

  • 1g protein

  • 6g sugars

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Note: The information shown is Edamam's estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.

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