Stuffed Baked Acorn Squash Recipe: A Fall Delicacy Worth Savoring
As the leaves change and the air turns crisp, it’s time to embrace the flavors of autumn. One delightful way to do so is by preparing Stuffed Baked Acorn Squash. This recipe combines the earthy sweetness of acorn squash with a savory stuffing that’s sure to please your taste buds. Whether you’re looking for a cozy family dinner or a stunning side dish for Thanksgiving, this dish is perfect. In this article, we’ll guide you through the steps to create this comforting and delicious recipe.
Ingredients You’ll Need
Before you start cooking, gather these ingredients:
For the Squash:
- 2 medium-sized acorn squash
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
For the Stuffing:
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
- 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 cup chopped kale or spinach
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese (optional)
Let’s dive into the steps to create this delightful Stuffed Baked Acorn Squash:
Step 1: Prepare the Squash
- Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Cut the acorn squash in half horizontally. Scoop out the seeds and stringy pulp from the center.
- Brush the cut sides of the squash halves with olive oil and season with salt and black pepper.
- Place the squash halves, cut side down, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until the squash is tender but still holds its shape.
Step 2: Cook the Quinoa
- While the squash is baking, rinse and drain the quinoa.
- In a saucepan, bring the vegetable or chicken broth to a boil.
- Add the quinoa, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the quinoa is cooked and the liquid is absorbed. Fluff it with a fork.
Step 3: Prepare the Stuffing
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.
- Add the finely chopped onion and minced garlic. Sauté until they become fragrant and translucent, usually for about 2-3 minutes.
- Stir in the diced red bell pepper and chopped kale or spinach. Cook until the vegetables are tender.
- Add the cooked quinoa, dried cranberries, chopped pecans or walnuts, dried thyme, salt, and black pepper. Mix everything together until well combined.
- If desired, fold in the crumbled feta cheese for an extra layer of flavor.
Step 4: Stuff and Bake
- Turn the baked acorn squash halves cut side up.
- Fill each squash half with the prepared stuffing mixture, pressing it gently to pack it in.
- Return the stuffed squash to the oven and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until heated through and the tops are slightly golden.
With its vibrant colors and harmonious flavors, Stuffed Baked Acorn Squash is a true celebration of autumn. Serve it as a main dish or a side, and watch as it becomes a seasonal favorite at your table. The blend of sweet and savory ingredients creates a perfect balance that’s both comforting and nutritious.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I use a different type of squash?
- While acorn squash is traditional for this recipe, you can experiment with other winter squash varieties, such as butternut or delicata, for a similar dish.
- What can I use instead of quinoa?
- You can substitute quinoa with rice, couscous, or bulgur if you prefer.
- Is there a vegan version of this recipe?
- Yes, you can make this recipe vegan by omitting the feta cheese or using a dairy-free alternative.
- Can I prepare the stuffing in advance?
- Absolutely! You can make the stuffing ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to stuff and bake the squash.
- How can I make this dish more protein-rich?
- To add more protein, consider incorporating cooked ground turkey, chicken, or tofu into the stuffing mixture.
Embrace the flavors of the season with this Stuffed Baked Acorn Squash Recipe. It’s a delightful way to enjoy the bounties of fall and share a memorable meal with loved ones.
- 1 Acorn Squash
- Olive Oil Spray
- Salt and Black Pepper
For the Stuffing:
- 225g (8oz) of 5% ground beef (beef mince)
- 1 small onion, diced small
- 1 clove of garlic, crushed
- 1 small carrot, diced small
- 1 teaspoon of paprika
- 1 teaspoon of cumin
- 2 tablespoons of tomato paste (puree)
- ¾ cup (180ml) of beef or chicken stock
- ⅓ cup (50g) of frozen peas
- salt and black pepper
- 15g (0.5oz) of cheddar, grated
- 25g (1oz) of mozzarella grated
Preheat oven to 200c, 180c fan, 400f or gas mark 6
Slice Acorn squash in half with a sharp knife, remove seeds and discard. I also like to take a slither of the squash off each bottom so they sit flat on the tray, but this is optional.
Spray flesh side with olive oil spray, season flesh with salt and black pepper and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for approx 40-45 minutes until flesh is soft and can be easily pierced with a fork.
While the squash is baking, add the beef, onion, carrot and garlic to a frying pan and fry until browned and softened.
Add in the paprika, cumin and tomato and paste and stir to coat, then add in the stock and peas and simmer until the stock reduces and just coats the meat. Taste and season with salt and black pepper as needed.
Once the squash has finished baking remove from oven, fill each half with the meat mixture. Top with the mozzarella and cheddar.
Place back in the oven for about 15-20 minutes until the cheese is all melted and lightly golden.
Serve and enjoy!!.
Nutrition InformationYield 1 Serving Size 2
Amount Per ServingCalories 1113Total Fat 64gSaturated Fat 24gTrans Fat 1gUnsaturated Fat 34gCholesterol 214mgSodium 2085mgCarbohydrates 66gFiber 16gSugar 14gProtein 74g
The information contained herein is subject to change.