For over a week now, I’ve been seriously considering making a stuffed acorn squash. I bought the squash last weekend at Trader Joe’s and it’s been staring at me every day since, taunting me to find the perfect recipe with which to honor it.
Now, you should know this about me: my love of squash combined with my culinary knowledge of squash has, unfortunately, not led me to actually use acorn squash in any kind of cooking endeavor. Of course, I have eaten acorn squash. I mean, I’m sure I have. I can’t say it was a staple in my household, but I just ate it and it wasn’t a brand new experience, so I must’ve eaten it at some point in my life. Right? That’s logical.
Getting back to my story, this idea for a stuffed acorn squash originated from a formerly vegetarian friend who was making dinner for a friend of hers: acorn squashed stuffed with various delicious-sounding things I don’t remember. I think there was quinoa, and there might’ve been cranberries. I only remember being jealous that I wasn’t the friend she’d invited to her house, and then being hungry.
Tonight was the night. Tonight was the night I would make the much-pondered stuffed acorn squash. There would be forbidden rice, there would be cous cous, there would be caramelized onions, there would be a sauteed portobello mushroom… there would be kale, just for some green. It would be pretty and delicious.
Stuffed Acorn Squash with Forbidden Rice and Cous Cous
4 acorn squash, cut in half and seeded
olive oil (enough for lightly coating the squash and sauteing)
2 cups cooked cous cous
2 cups cooked forbidden rice
4 garlic cloves
2 yellow or white onions, thinly sliced
2 portobello mushrooms, sliced
a handful of kale (1-2 cups raw)
1-2 tbsp dried thyme
salt and pepper
1-2 tbsp panko or other breadcrumbs (optional)
1 tbsp Earth Balance (optional; for the breadcrumbs)
1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Cut a small amount of the bottom of each halved squash so the halves stand level. Prepare a baking pan with aluminum foil and brush the inside of each halved acorn squash with olive oil; place the squash on the foiled pan. In the preheated oven, bake for 45 minutes.
2. While the squash is cooking, saute the garlic and onion slices in olive oil on medium-low heat until they’re limp and start to yellow, then add the mushroom slices and the thyme. Brown the mushrooms, then add the kale and saute for another 3 minutes or until it’s wilted. Remove from heat and stir in the cous cous and forbidden rice. Set aside until the squash is done.
3. Prepare the breadcrumb topping. Mix the Earth Balance with the panko; set aside.
4. Once the squash is done, remove from the oven (don’t turn the oven off yet – you’re not really done). Scoop the cous cous-rice mixture evenly into each squash, then top with the panko. Put the assembled squash back in the oven and bake for another 25 minutes.
5. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes.
I gobbled it up with some yummy brussels sprouts. Hard to go wrong with brussels sprouts, as far as I’m concerned.