September 19, 2021

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Oven-Baked Pork Chops with Delicata Squash No ratings yet.

12 min read
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A perfect fall dinner that comes together quickly, this recipe for Pork Chops in the Oven is everything you want in a weeknight meal. It’s easy to make and easy to clean up, beautiful on the plate, and full of well-balanced nutrition. But perhaps best of all is the complementary ingredients that make each bite a harmonious symphony of flavor you’ll love. Juicy, tender pork chops nestle among sweet delicata squash and smoky poblano pepper with a crunchy garnish of squash seeds to top it off.

This post was created in partnership with the Minnesota Pork Board

Overhead view of oven baked pork chops, roasted poblanos, and baked delicata squash slices plated on a speckled plate.Overhead view of oven baked pork chops, roasted poblanos, and baked delicata squash slices plated on a speckled plate.

Easy Pork Chops in the Oven with Delicata Squash

This easy one-pan dinner features a wet rub. That is, spices mixed with olive oil which are then gently pressed into the pork and vegetables to distribute deep flavor in every bite.

We love to create easy dinner solutions that you can feel good about serving again and again. This Oven-Baked Pork Chop recipe is just the thing to make when you’re short on time but craving slow-cooked, cozy flavors that will nourish your whole family.

All ingredients for Oven Baked Pork Chops with a wet rub and roasted poblanos and delicata squash arranged together on a counter.All ingredients for Oven Baked Pork Chops with a wet rub and roasted poblanos and delicata squash arranged together on a counter.

Ingredients to Make Oven Baked Pork Chops

The cozy, smoky, and toasted flavors of the Sheet Pan Pork Chop recipe come forth from the combination of great-together ingredients and a few key spices. Here’s what you’ll need to make this easy dinner tonight:

  • Pork chops – we call for 5- to 6-ounce boneless pork chops because they fit well on the sheet pan with all the other ingredients. However you could use bone-in pork chops if you prefer, and spread the ingredients among two sheet pans.
  • Delicata squash – you could also use half of a butternut squash or acorn squash or swap in cubed sweet potato
  • Poblano pepper – this pepper adds smokiness and very little spice. You could also use a sweet bell pepper or an Anaheim pepper
  • Olive oil or avocado oil
  • Smoked paprika – a delicious seasoning that brings all of the ingredients together; you could also use Spanish paprika or half the amount of chili powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Ground sage – with its slight eucalyptus and citrus notes, this herb is a perfect match for pork, squash, and peppers
  • Salt and black pepper
  • Fresh cilantro – an optional garnish that adds both color and great flavor
Delicata squash cut into strips laying on a cutting board ready for roasting.Delicata squash cut into strips laying on a cutting board ready for roasting.

What is Delicata Squash?

This recipe calls for delicata squash, which is unique among squash types. It is sturdy, with creamy sweet flesh, similar to other types of winter squash like butternut and acorn squash. However, the outer skin of delicata is thin and tender (aka delicate) and can be eaten. In that way, delicata is like summer squash, such as zucchini and yellow squash.

Delicata squash is also sometimes called peanut squash, Bohemian squash, or sweet potato squash. It has an oblong shape with yellow skin and dark green or orange stripes. We love delicata squash for its sweet and buttery flavor and also its ease of use – no need to peel these squash, and the seeds scoop out so easily. If you can’t get your hands on delicata (it’s in season from early September to January), then you can also use a half of an acorn or butternut squash, or diced sweet potato instead.

Delicata squash cut into strips laying on a cutting board ready for roasting in the oven.Delicata squash cut into strips laying on a cutting board ready for roasting in the oven.

How to make Pork Chops in the Oven

This Pork Chop recipe comes together quickly for a healthy weeknight dinner where the main dish and side dish cook right alongside each other. Here’s how you can make it in 4 simple steps:

  1. Start by prepping the delicata squash and poblano pepper. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds; set the seeds aside in a small bowl. Cut the squash halves into ½-inch thick half-moon slices and place in a large bowl (remember, you don’t need to peel the squash). Next, cut the poblano into rings or ½-inch wide strips (remove any seeds) and add pepper strips to the bowl with the squash. 
  2. Next, make the spice rub by combining the oil, paprika, garlic powder, sage, salt, and pepper. Using your hands, rub half of the spice mixture over both sides of the pork chops (a little goes a long way). Pour the rest of the spice mixture over the squash and peppers; use your hands to work the spice mixture into the vegetables. 
  3. Spread the pork chops and vegetables in an even layer on the sheet pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the thickest part of the pork reaches 145 degrees on a meat thermometer.
  4. While the pork chops and vegetables are cooking, prepare the squash seeds (see next section). To serve, divide pork chops, squash, and peppers among plates. Sprinkle squash with a pinch of salt and garnish with cilantro and the toasted delicata squash seeds.
Overhead view of seasoned pork chops on a sheet pan with poblano peppers and delicata squash.Overhead view of seasoned pork chops on a sheet pan with poblano peppers and delicata squash.

how to Roast Delicata Squash seeds

For extra flavor and crunch (and less waste), we give you instructions for roasting the delicata squash seeds to use as the perfect garnish for the pork chops. You can roast delicata squash seeds in the same way you would roast pumpkin seeds. Here’s how to roast the squash seeds:

  1. After cutting the squash in half lengthwise, use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. Rinse the seeds in a colander and remove any squash flesh from the seeds.
  2. When the seeds are clean, pat them dry on a kitchen towel and transfer to a bowl; toss with 1 tablespoon oil and ½ teaspoon salt.
  3. Spread the seeds on a parchment-lined baking sheet. When the pork chops have 10 minutes left to cook, add the sheet pan with squash seeds to the oven to toast (watch seeds closely as they can burn easily). 

When to use bone-in or Boneless pork chops

Pork chops are the most popular cut of pork. This delicious cut of pork, whether bone-in or boneless, comes from the meat that runs from the pig’s hip to its shoulder. You can use either bone-in or boneless chops for this sheet pan pork chop recipe. We opted for boneless chops because they fit better on the sheet pan when you add the surrounding vegetables. The smaller chops allow for heat to circulate around all of the food so it cooks properly. However, you can certainly use bone-in pork chops. If doing so, we recommend you use an extra large sheet pan or divide all the ingredients among two sheet pans.

Tip!

For Delicious Pork Chops, Cook to 145°F

The best way to ensure peak deliciousness is to cook pork chops to an internal temperature of 145° F (measured on a meat thermometer) and then let them rest for 3 minutes before digging in.

An oven baked pork chop seasoned with a side of delicata squash and poblano peppers plated on a speckled plate.An oven baked pork chop seasoned with a side of delicata squash and poblano peppers plated on a speckled plate.

sustainability practices of pig farmers

We often get asked if pork and other animal choices are good for the environment. When it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, a lot has been said, studied, and hypothesized about the agricultural impact on climate change. Greenhouse gases trap heat and make the planet warmer, which has a trickle down-effect on every living thing. So it is poignant to reign in greenhouse gas emissions whenever possible, and pig farmers have definitely done and continue to do their part.

Four sectors make up more than 90% of greenhouse gas emissions, according to the U.S. EPA. Those are Transportation (mostly the burning of petroleum-based fuel), Producing Electricity (mostly from burning coal and natural gas), Industrial Production (mostly burning fossil fuels for energy and chemical reactions to make products), and Commercial and Residential Occupancy (burning fuel for heat, use of certain products, and the handling of waste).

A close up of oven baked pork chops with a side of roasted delicata squash and poblano peppers topped with roasted delicata squash seeds drizzled with a glaze. A close up of oven baked pork chops with a side of roasted delicata squash and poblano peppers topped with roasted delicata squash seeds drizzled with a glaze.

Agriculture, including all plant food and animal production, accounts for less than 10% of greenhouse gas emissions. And of that, pork production accounts for less than 0.3% of emissions. Because of improvements in nutrition, genetics, and overall pig care, pork producers have been able to reduce land use by 76%, reduce water use by 25%, use 7% less energy, and produce 7.7% fewer carbon emissions in pig production over the last 60 years. When you choose pork, you can feel good about making a sustainable food choice from farmers who keep the environment and pig care as top priorities. Environmental responsibility is an inherent value in all farming since the livelihood of farmers is tied to the protection of air, water, and land.

a healthy Oven-Baked pork chop recipe

Not only do the ingredients in the easy one-pan pork dinner taste delicious together, but they also complement each other in the nutrition department.

  • Pork – an excellent protein source that contains all essential amino acids for building and repairing muscles and body tissue from everyday wear and tear, pork also has B vitamins (needed to convert food to energy) and minerals (to help regulate body fluids)
  • Delicata squash – like other bright orange squash, delicata squash is an excellent source of fiber (think heart health and gut health), potassium (to regulate blood pressure), and carotenoids from vitamin A (for cell, bone, and eye health)
  • Poblano pepper – these mild chili peppers are rich in vitamins A and C (for skin health and immunity), as well as capsaicin, a compound in peppers that has an anti-inflammatory effect
Two plates filled with oven baked pork chops seasoned with a side of delicata squash and poblano peppers sprinkled with roasted squash seeds. Two plates filled with oven baked pork chops seasoned with a side of delicata squash and poblano peppers sprinkled with roasted squash seeds.

prep ahead for a 30-minute sheet pan Meal

Can you prep this recipe ahead to make your weeknights even easier? Well of course you can, and we applaud you for doing so! You can slice the squash and peppers (store them in a covered container in the fridge), you can pre-mix the spice rub (store in a covered container at room temp), and you can roast the squash seeds up to 2 days ahead.

These three quick steps will mean you can get this sheet pan pork chop recipe in the oven in under 5 minutes and have dinner on the table in less than 30. Don’t wait to add this cozy recipe to your weekly menu!

Recipe

Sheet Pan Pork Chops with Delicata Squash

This healthy well-rounded meal is made all on one sheet pan. An easy spice rub coats juicy pork chops, sweet delicata squash, and smoky poblano pepper. Get it in the oven in 15 minutes for a nutritious and delicious dinner tonight. 

Prep: 15 minsCook: 20 – 25 minsTotal: 40 mins

Servings: 4 servings 1x


Ingredients

  • 4 boneless pork chops (5-6 ounces each)
  • 1 delicata squash (13-14 ounces)
  • 1 poblano pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground sage
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Fresh cilantro (optional) for garnish
  • Toasted squash seeds (see Step 6, optional) for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  2. Cut the delicata squash in half lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds; set the seeds aside in a small bowl. Cut the squash halves into ½-inch thick half-moon slices and place in a large bowl (you don’t need to peel the squash).
  3. Cut the poblano into rings or ½-inch wide strips (remove any seeds) and add pepper strips to the bowl with the squash. 
  4. In a small bowl whisk together the oil, paprika, garlic powder, sage, salt, and pepper. Using your hands, rub half of the spice mixture over both sides of the pork chops (a little goes a long way). Pour the rest of the spice mixture over the squash and peppers; use your hands to work the spice mixture into the vegetables. 
  5. Spread the pork chops and vegetables in an even layer on the sheet pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the thickest part of the pork reaches 145 degrees on a meat thermometer.
  6. Meanwhile, rinse the reserved delicata squash seeds in a colander and remove any squash flesh from the seeds. When the seeds are clean, pat them dry on a kitchen towel and transfer to a bowl; toss with 1 tablespoon oil and ½ teaspoon salt. Spread seeds on a separate parchment-lined baking sheet. When the pork chops have 10 minutes left, add the sheet pan with squash seeds to the oven to toast (watch seeds closely as they can burn easily). 
  7. To serve, divide pork chops, squash, and peppers among plates. Sprinkle squash with a pinch of salt and garnish with cilantro and the toasted delicata squash seeds.

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Notes

If you can’t find delicata squash, you can use ½ of an acorn squash, seeds removed. Cut the squash half into ½-inch strips, and then cut each strip in half again. 

If you want to skip the step of roasting the delicata squash seeds, you can also garnish with pepitas (raw pumpkin seeds), hazelnuts, almonds, or walnuts.

Nutrition Information

  • Serving Size: 1 pork chop and 1/4 of the vegetables
  • Calories: 377
  • Fat: 24 g
  • (Sat Fat: 7 g)
  • Sodium: 401 mg
  • Carbohydrate: 10 g
  • (Fiber: 2 g
  • Sugar: 3 g)
  • Protein: 31 g
  • Cholesterol: 84 mg

Dietary

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Overhead view of pork chops, delicata squash strips, and poblano peppers on a sheet pan.Overhead view of pork chops, delicata squash strips, and poblano peppers on a sheet pan.

This post was made possible by our friends at the Minnesota Pork Board. Although we received compensation for this post, the opinions expressed here are – as always – 100% our own. Thank you for supporting the great companies we work with thereby allowing us to continue creating high-quality content for you.

Photo Credit: The photos in this blog post were taken by Rachel of Half Acre House.

All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use our photos without prior written permission. If you wish to republish this recipe, please rewrite the recipe in your own unique words and link back to the source recipe here on The Real Food Dietitians. Thank you!

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