When fall harvest comes I’m always experimenting in search of new answers to the age old question of how to cook acorn squash. Okay, maybe it’s not age old, but I feel like I’m constantly asking myself what to do with my squash. This recipe is very similar to my mother’s way of cooking acorn squash, you know the melted butter and brown sugar, roast it till it’s soft method. But in the interest of texture, I needed some kind of stuffing for the squash. This pecan and cranberry stuffed acorn squash recipe is beyond amazing, even my squash hating disliking husband is willing to eat it (as long as it’s a squash we got from our CSA that I need to use up, I’m not allowed to buy any!)
I’ve previously made a savory stuffed acorn squash and really wanted to make a slightly sweeter version. Squashes are so healthy that it’s important to me to try and find ways to make it palatable to those of us who grew up not liking it. There are 40 calories in acorn squash per 100 grams of weight, that means that a medium acorn squash has around 170 calories, not bad! Even better news is that 1 cup of mashed acorn squash gives you 145% of your daily value of Vitamin A!!! It also contains quite a bit of Vitamin C, Potassium and some fiber and protein as well. With all those nutritional benefits, how can you not want to like squash?
I’m also trying to move more towards eating seasonally. It’s a struggle because I still want caprese salad in January (even if the tomatoes are from South America) and apples in March. But I know eating seasonally and locally is better for the environment and helps me get more variety in my diet. It’s going back to the way we used to eat! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t restrict myself, if I’m really craving a banana I get one. But I try to really focus on playing with what’s in season to create seasonal recipes we love year after year.
This is one of those easy fall recipes that incorporates some of my favorite holiday ingredients. In fact I think I’ll be bringing some to my parents’ house to help mix up the traditional Thanksgiving side dishes. But you don’t have to just eat it as a side. Eric and I usually each have a quarter as our main dish for a vegetarian dinner, maybe with a salad or some cheese and grapes on the side. It’s also a GREAT option for a healthy dessert, especially if you’re in need of a gluten free dessert recipe.
We’ll be making stuffed acorn squash in the Healthy Cooking on a Tight Budget class this Friday. It’s a perfect dish for class because whether participants are on a vegetarian, vegan or gluten free diet (we always have at least two out of three in each class) they can eat it!
If you’ve never cooked with acorn squash before, don’t be intimidated. It’s really simple to prepare acorn squash for cooking. I’ve got the instructions in the recipe, but if you’re a visual person I’ve got a little photo tutorial above as well.
Once you’ve got the squash quartered and scoop out the seeds, make sure to clean the seeds and roast them for a healthy and delicious snack. I’ve got recipes for roasted acorn squash seeds and roasted pumpkin seeds, either one will work for any squash seed, and using the seeds stretches whatever money you spent on your squash. I actually like acorn or butternut squash seeds better than pumpkin seeds because they have a thinner skin!
Next week I’ll show you how to use any leftover roasted acorn squash for a delicious and savory pasta recipe. How do you like your acorn squash?
Roasted and Stuffed Acorn Squash RecipeMakes 4 servings
1 acorn squash
2-4 TBS butter, melted
2 TBS brown sugar
¼ cup apple cider
¼ cup dried cranberries
¼ cup pecans, crushed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare your squash by cutting off both ends about ½ an inch deep. Stand the squash on the wider end and cut in half lengthwise. Cut each half in half lengthwise again. Scoop the seeds and guts out (save them for roasting!) and place the quarters in a baking dish.
Brush the melted butter over the flesh of the squash. Sprinkle brown sugar in the hollow of each quarter. Roast for 45 minutes until easily pierced with a fork.
While the squash is cooking, bring your apple cider to a boil. Put cranberries in a bowl and pour the boiling cider over them. Let the cranberries soak in the cider until your squash is done.
When the squash is cooked, drain the cranberries and mix them with the crushed pecans. Sprinkle the cranberry pecan mixture into the hollow of each squash segment and serve.
Approximate cost/serving: When squash is in season this is SO affordable. We get squash through our CSA, but even from the grocery store it’s only about $2.50 to make. That’s just 63 cents a serving!
Vegetarian/Gluten Free: Yes and yes! You can even skip the butter or use olive oil if you need a vegan dish, but I LOVE the butter flavor.