The essence of this dish is that you can stuff the squash with just about anything, however this particular recipe was the best version I’ve ever made. The basic formula for success with a stuffed acorn squash is this:
- you have the foundation of a grain
- then mix in at least one sweet ingredient
- at least one savory ingredient
- at least one veggie
- and I also recommend adding at least one type of nut or seed
- A quick shake of spice
- A splash of acid (lemon juice, lime juice, etc.)
The grains that I usually make for this, depending on what I’m in the mood for and also how much time I have avaible to cook, are usually either wild rice or quinoa, but a small cut pasta like acini de pepe or orzo could also be delicious.
Some examples of a sweet ingredient could be dried cranberries, sundried tomatoes, or fresh (cooked in with the medley) cherries. A savory ingredient might be cooked mushrooms, olives, shallots, or garlic.
For veggies, I like to use at least one leafy green such as kale or collard greens, then also a traditional vegetable like zucchini or eggplant. My go-to nut for this dish has always been walnuts, but you can use any kind you prefer of course.
For spices, I like to add black pepper, parsley and a sprinkle of salt to most dishes – they’re my go-to spice crew. Again though, feel free to add whatever you like: some cayenne for heat or oregano for a stronger flavor, etc.
All of this will be cooked and then spooned into an oven roasted squash just before serving. Personally, I always use acorn squash because they are just the right size for a single serving when split in half and they also have a delightful flavor.
I have made this recipe a number of times now, which I think is why I finally was able to create something truly delicious: this recipe will now be my go-to formula for this recipe whenever possible (by which I mean whenever I have all the ingredients). Feel free to follow the formula above to make a masterpiece using the ingredients you currently have on hand, or if you’re in the mood to follow a recipe to make a masterpiece, use the ingredients listed below.
Hope you enjoy it! If you make your own medley, come back and leave a comment below to let others know what you used!
Savory & Sweet Stuffed Acorn Squash
- 1 acorn squash
- 1/2 cup quinoa (I used tricolor quinoa)
- 4 white mushrooms
- 2 inches sliced eggplant (Chopped into small chunks)
- 8 fresh cherries (remove the pits)
- 4 Sicilian olives (Castlevetrano olives)
- 4 sundried tomato slices (fresh, not in oil)
- 6 Sicilian olives (Castlevetrano olives)
- 1/2 shallot
- 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
- black pepper
- dried parsley
- pinch of salt
- Clean the outside of the acorn squash by rubbing it with baking soda under some running water, then rinse it thoroughly.
- Cut the acorn squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.
- Spray a cookie shee with olive oil, set the squash halves on the sheet with the open sides faving up, then spray the squash halves with olive oil.
- Bake the squash at 350 for 45 minutes.
- Cook the quinoa, following the instructions on your package label. I always make the full batch of 1 cup quinoa, but only use half of it for this recipe and save the other have to use for meals later in the week.
- Break up the walnuts into small chunks and put them in a bowl of water when you start cooking the quinoa.
- Chop all of the remaining large ingredients: mushrooms, eggplant, sundried tomatoes, shallots, cherries, olives, and if it's not pre-chopped, the kale ass well.
- Chop the mushrooms and eggplant and begin cooking them in a pan that's sprayed with olive oil. Spray the olive oil over the veggies after you put them into the pan as well to ensure they're fully coated.
- After the mushrooms and eggplant have been cooking for about 6 minutes, add the chopped cherries (pits removed), chopped olives, chopped shallots and frozen kale. Pour the water our of the walnut dish and toss them into the mix as well.
- Just 2 minutes before the medley is finished cooking, toss in the chopped sundried tomatoes and stir in 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Also sprinkle the spices on and stir them into the medley.
- When the medley and quinoa are both finished, mix them together.
- Place the squash halves on a place and spoon the medley into them so that it forms a mound and slightly overflows onto the plate.