Welcome a festive harvest dish for your Holiday table this year, Stuffed Acorn Squash. This seasonal masterpiece pairs the earthy sweetness of roasted acorn squash with a delightful medley of sautéed apples, dried fruits, glazed pecans, and pumpkin seeds. It is a dish that is not only visually stunning but also a delicious celebration of Fall's bountiful harvest creating a harmonious symphony of textures and tastes.
The remarkable aspect of my Roasted Acorn Squash Stuffed with Fruit and Nuts lies in its effortless preparation. Winter Squash, in general, lends itself to easy readiness with just a few uncomplicated steps. Take, for example, this step-by-step guide on How to Roast Spaghetti Squash, which provides clear and concise instructions. And if you're looking for another delectable option, don't miss out on my Pesto Chicken Stuffed Spaghetti Squash, a dish that embodies both the simplicity and scrumptiousness of Autumn recipes.
What Does Acorn Squash Taste Like?
Acorn Squash, a popular and seasonal vegetable, boasts a mild, subtly sweet, and nutty flavor that shines when roasted to perfection. Often likened to a blend of sweet potatoes and butternut squash, this Autumn gem's flesh becomes tender and creamy during the roasting process, further enhancing its inherent sweetness. Acorn Squash absorbs and complements the flavors of herbs, fruits, meats, and more making it an ideal choice for both sweet and savory dishes.
Ingredients for Stuffed Acorn Squash
- Acorn Squash. With its sweet and nutty flavor, acorn squash serves as an ideal canvas for a variety of fillings and particularly complements this fruit and nut stuffing.
- Butter. Sautéing the apples in butter not only imparts a rich, creamy, and slightly nutty flavor but also facilitates caramelization.
- Sliced Shallot. This imparts a subtle sweetness and a gentle hint of garlic to the filling. When sautéed, they lend an aromatic depth and complexity to the dish.
- Apples: Granny Smith and Honeycrisp. Combining both of these varieties achieves a delightful harmony between sweet and tart flavors, resulting in an intriguing and well-balanced flavor profile.
- Brown Sugar. When heated, brown sugar forms a deep, rich caramelization with a molasses-like flavor and imparts a beautiful golden-brown gloss to the stuffing.
- Fresh Lemon Juice. This provides a touch of acidity and brightness. Its tartness helps balance the sweetness of the fruits, brown sugar, and natural sweetness of the acorn squash.
- Salt. A pinch is all you need. Salt is a natural flavor enhancer bringing out the natural sweetness of the fruits and helping balance out the sweetness of the brown sugar.
- Fresh Herbs: Thyme and Sage. These are known for their robust flavor and pair especially well with fruits and nuts. They enhance the overall synergy of the flavors.
- Dried Fruit: Craisins and Apricots. These dried fruits add a chewy and slightly firm texture to the stuffing and contrast nicely with the other ingredients. They also add vibrant colors creating a beautiful presentation.
- Glazed Pecan Pieces. Pecans bring a satisfying crunch providing a textural contrast that makes each bite more interesting.
- Pumpkin Seeds. These also provide a delightful crunch along with a chewy texture. Pumpkin seeds definitely align with the Autumn and holiday flavors.
Is Acorn Squash Good for You?
There are several factors that make acorn squash good for you. It is a great source of vitamins and nutrients and relatively low in calories making it ideal for a calorie-conscious diet. Acorn squash is a good source of dietary fiber, which supports digestive health and may contribute to a feeling of fullness which aids in weight management.
How to Cut an Acorn Squash
To cut an acorn squash in half, first score the skin. Using the tip of a sharp knife, make shallow cuts along the skin, following the natural curve of the squash from stem to end. The depth of these cuts should be about ¼ to ½ inch, adjusting as needed based on the thickness of the skin. Next, place the scored squash on its side and proceed to carefully slice through both the rind and the flesh along the scored lines, using a sawing motion. Turn the squash over and repeat the process on the other side until the squash is completely cut in half.
How to Roast and Stuff Acorn Squash
- Carefully cut the squash in half lengthwise. Make sure and use a sharp knife as the outer skin can be quite tough. (See above for more detailed notes.)
- Scoop out the seeds. Use a spoon to scrape away loose seeds and stringy pulp. Then scoop out the seeds from the center of each half by inserting the spoon slightly into the flesh and scoop outwards towards the edges, following the curve of the squash. You may need to apply a bit of pressure to detach the seeds from the flesh.
- Brush the cut sides of the squash with olive oil. You don't need much oil, just enough to ensure all the surfaces are lightly oiled. This will help enhance the flavor and texture and promote even browning during roasting.
- Roast the acorn squash. Place each half, cut side down, on a baking sheet. Bake in a 350°F oven for 30-40 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a fork. Then, remove the squash from the oven, flip them over, and set them aside.
- Sauté shallots and apples. While the squash is roasting, melt butter over medium heat and add sliced shallots, Granny Smith, and Honeycrisp apple cubes. Sauté until slightly tender for about five to seven minutes.
- Add brown sugar, herbs, lemon zest, and lemon juice. Turn the heat to medium-low and gently stir the ingredients until the sugar is dissolved.
- Add dried fruit, nuts, and seeds. Turn the heat off and stir in craisins, dried apricots, glazed pecan pieces, and pumpkin seeds.
- Stir until all the ingredients are combined and until everything is coated with the sugary syrup.
- Fill each half of the Acorn Squash with ¼ of the fruit and nut stuffing.
How to Store Stuffed Acorn Squash
To preserve the quality of your stuffed acorn squash, it's essential to let it cool to room temperature before stashing it away. This cooling process helps prevent unwanted condensation inside your storage container. Once the squash has cooled, place it in an airtight container or wrap it securely in aluminum foil. Stuffed acorn squash can be refrigerated for up to three to four days.
How to Reheat Stuffed Acorn Squash
In the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the squash in a baking dish and add a splash of water to the bottom of the dish to prevent the squash from drying out. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20-30 minutes or until heated through.
In the microwave. Place the stuffed squash in a microwave-safe dish. Cover the squash with a microwavable lid to prevent it from splattering. Microwave on high for two to three minutes.
What pairs well with Roasted Acorn Squash?
Acorn squash pairs well with a variety of ingredients, both sweet and savory. The combinations are endless. Here are a few:
- Acorn Squash Stuffed with a Southwestern Flair. Create a flavorful stuffing by combining cooked ground turkey, black beans, corn, diced tomatoes, and a medley of Mexican-inspired spices. Top it off with shredded cheddar cheese and fresh cilantro for a delightful finish.
- Italian Stuffed Acorn Squash. Fill the squash with a mixture of cooked quinoa, chickpeas, sun-dried tomatoes, Kalamata olives, feta cheese, and Mediterranean herbs like oregano and basil. Drizzle with olive oil and some fresh lemon juice and bake until heated through.
- Asian Inspired Stuffed Acorn Squash. Combine your preferred protein (pork or chicken), cooked rice, an assortment of vegetables, garlic, ginger, and a flavorful hoisin sauce. After baking, garnish it with sesame seeds, green onions, and a zesty lime wedge.
- Stuffed Acorn Squash with Indian Flavors. Make a stuffing that blends tender rice noodles, bell peppers, carrots, snow peas, and your choice of shrimp or chicken. Top it with a delicious peanut sauce.
This dish is ideal for Thanksgiving or Christmas. It captures the essence of the season with rich acorn squash and a harmonious blend of sweet apples, herbs, and nuts. Its seasonal ingredients, vibrant colors, and satisfying textures complement traditional holiday dishes, adding a unique twist. A celebration of the fall harvest, this stuffed squash evokes togetherness and gratitude, making it a fitting addition to your festive feasts. It encapsulates the spirit of the season, providing a memorable and delicious experience for your guests.
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Stuffed Acorn Squash with Fruits and Nuts
Welcome a festive harvest dish for your Holiday table this year, Stuffed Acorn Squash. This seasonal masterpiece pairs the earthy sweetness of roasted acorn squash with a delightful medley of sautéed apples, dried fruits, glazed pecans, and pumpkin seeds.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 35 minutes
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- Yield: 4 servings 1x
- Category: Side Dish
- Method: Roasting
- Cuisine: American
- 2 medium to large Acorn Squash, halved and seeds removed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 6 tablespoons Butter
- 1 large Shallot, sliced
- 1 large Green Apple, cored and cubed
- 1 large Honeycrisp Apple, cored and cubed
- ½ cup Brown Sugar
- 1 tablespoon Fresh Thyme, chopped
- 1 teaspoon Fresh Sage, chopped
- 2 teaspoons Lemon zest
- ½ Lemon, juiced
- Pinch of Salt
- ¾ cups Craisins
- ¾ cups Dried Apricots, quartered
- 1 cup Glazed Pecan Pieces
- ⅓ cup Pumpkin Seeds
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Brush 1 tablespoon olive oil on the cut side of 2 acorn squash.
- Place cut side down on a baking sheet. Roast for 30-40 minutes or until tender when poked with a fork.
- Remove the acorn squash from the oven, and turn them over on the pan. Set aside.
- While the acorn squash is roasting, sauté 1 large sliced shallot, 1 cubed Granny Smith apple, and 1 cubed Honeycrisp apple over medium heat until slightly tender about 5-7 minutes.
- Turn the heat to medium-low and add ½ cup of brown sugar, 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme, 1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage, 2 teaspoons of lemon zest, the juice of ½ lemon, and a pinch of salt. Gently stir until the sugar is dissolved. Turn the heat off.
- Add ¾ cup craisins, ¾ cup dried apricots (quartered), 1 cup glazed pecan pieces, and ⅓ cup pumpkin seeds. Stir until everything is coated with the sugary syrup.
- Fill the acorn squash halves to heaping and serve warm.
- To cut an acorn squash in half, first score the skin. Using the tip of a sharp knife, make shallow cuts along the skin, following the natural curve of the squash from stem to end. The depth of these cuts should be about ¼ to ½ inch, adjusting as needed based on the thickness of the skin. Next, place the scored squash on its side and proceed to carefully slice through both the rind and the flesh along the scored lines, using a sawing motion. Turn the squash over and repeat the process on the other side until the squash is completely cut in half.
- Once the squash has cooled, place it in an airtight container or wrap it securely in aluminum foil. Stuffed acorn squash can be refrigerated for up to three to four days.
- Serving Size: ½ Stuffed Acorn
- Calories: 757
- Sugar: 76 g
- Sodium: 217 mg
- Fat: 38 g
- Saturated Fat: 11 g
- Unsaturated Fat: 0 g
- Trans Fat: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 112 g
- Fiber: 17 g
- Protein: 4 g
- Cholesterol: 45 mg
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