Growing up, we regularly had stuffed acorn squash with dinner during the cold months, but it wasn’t a vegetable I made for myself until recently. Perhaps I’d been distracted by the butternuts, kabochas, and other more eye-catching pumpkins. But simply prepared with some diced onion, salt, pepper and a touch of maple syrup, acorn squash is a sweet, no-fuss side. Fill it with a mixture of grains or legumes, its form lends itself to a tidy meal when paired with a green salad.
In this stuffed acorn squash recipe, you’ll cook the squash most of the way through as you’re preparing the lentils. Then, fill the squash halves with the lentils and bake.
This is the first time I’ve ever used canned lentils, and they worked out just fine for this recipe. (That’s not to say I never used canned beans. I just typically use dried lentils because they cook so quickly).
- 2 acorn squash, halved and seeds removed
- 4 t olive oil
- ¾ c shallot, diced
- 2 t garlic, minced
- 2 c kale, finely sliced
- ½ c red pepper, diced
- ½ t thyme, dried
- 2 15-oz cans lentils, rinsed and drained
- ¼ c apple cider vinegar
- ½ t salt
- ½ c pecans, chopped
- ¼ c dried cranberries, chopped
- 2 t earth balance spread (or other non dairy spread0
- salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 425. In a roasting pan, place the 4 squash halves cut side up. Inside each half, rub about ½ teaspoon of olive oil and place about 1 tablespoon of shallots into the well of each one. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place in the oven for about 40 minutes, or until flesh is fork tender. (Squash doesn't have to be completely cooked through at this point). Remove from the oven.
- In a large saute pan, heat remaining 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Stir in remaining shallots (about ½ cup) and garlic. After about 30 seconds, stir in kale, red pepper and thyme and cook about 2 minutes until vegetables have softened. Stir in lentils, apple cider vinegar and ½ teaspoon of salt. Cook an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in pecans and cranberries, cooking another minute. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat.
- Fill each squash half with one quarter of the lentil mixture. Top each with a ½ teaspoon of earth balance spread. Pour about one quarter inch of water into the bottom of the pan. (This will help the squash to steam and prevent the lentils from drying out). Cover and return to the oven to cook another 20-25 minutes or until squash is cooked through.