Growing up, acorn squash was one of those vegetables that always caught my eye at the market but remained a mystery in the kitchen. Its quirky, ridged exterior and vibrant colors always had me curious. When I finally delved into it, I was hooked. That’s how this stuffed acorn squash recipe was born.
The stuffing? The bulgur brings a nutty rhythm, the apples add a sweet crunch, and the fennel creates an aromatic melody. And just when you think you’ve tasted it all, a hint of harissa adds a spicy kick.
What’s Acorn Squash?
Acorn squash is a winter favorite. It’s mostly green or yellow on the outside and has soft, yellow insides. Some might recognize it as pepper squash or Des Moines squash. With a slightly sweet and nutty profile, its flavor stands out. And that deep cavity in the middle? Perfect for both sweet and savory stuffings. If you’re pondering over roasting acorn squash in the oven or whether its skin is edible, here’s the scoop: Not only does it roast beautifully, but its skin is also completely edible, turning soft and adding texture to your dish. Beyond its taste and versatility, this squash is a nutritional powerhouse, brimming with vitamins and minerals.
Choosing and Storing Acorn Squash:
When selecting an acorn squash, look for one that feels heavy for its size and has a firm, dull exterior. Avoid those with soft spots or excessive scarring. A little bit of orange on the skin is okay; it indicates the squash has started to mature and sweeten.
For storage, keep acorn squash in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight. It doesn’t need refrigeration until it’s cut. A whole acorn squash can last for about a month if stored properly, but once cut, it should be wrapped in plastic, refrigerated, and used within a week.
How to Prep Acorn Squash?
Getting acorn squash ready is a breeze, especially if you’re thinking of baking acorn squash in the oven. First, give it a good wash. There is no need to tackle the question of “acorn squash how to cut?” Just slice it lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. But wait! Before discarding them, know that roasted seeds are a treat. Brush them with olive oil and maple syrup to make them irresistibly sweet, then sprinkle some cinnamon and salt. Pop them into the oven, and in about 35 minutes, they turn into a crunchy delight.
How to Create the Perfect Stuffing?
Crafting the ideal stuffing for this acorn squash recipe starts with sautéing onions and fennel until they’re tender and fragrant. I introduce cinnamon for warmth and a dash of harissa for that unexpected kick. However, keep the spice in check to balance flavors. Bulgur becomes the hero next, cooked to a nutty perfection. Once done, let it rest, allowing the mixture to cool just a bit. Now, blend in the refreshing bite of apples and aromatic chopped Italian parsley. A pro-tip? I always prepare an extra batch of this stuffing—it’s so good that it’s often repurposed for meals the following day.
Substitute for Bulgur in This Acorn Squash Recipe?
Bulgur is a cherished whole grain known for its distinct nutty flavor and slight chewiness. Deeply rooted in West Asian and Middle Eastern dishes, it’s the star in classics like tabbouleh salad. But, if your pantry’s lacking bulgur or it’s elusive at your local store, fret not. You can effortlessly swap it with quinoa for a protein punch, farro for a hearty bite, or even rice for a mild, fluffy texture in your stuffed acorn squash dish.
Serving Up Your Acorn Squash:
This stuffed acorn squash isn’t just a vibrant vegan main course; it’s versatile. Slide it alongside your dinner table as a hearty side dish complementing mains. Picture it with golden roasted carrots, velvety mashed potatoes, warm, crumbly cornbread, or even with savory meat dishes like succulent chicken, tender pork, or juicy beef. Fancy a lighter touch? A crisp salad, maybe a tangy arugula or a fresh Mediterranean mix, would make a delightful pairing.
Tell Me How I’m Doing?
Ready to savor this delightful feast? Dive into the recipe and bring this stuffed acorn squash to your table. I would love to hear if you’ve tried it or made any tweaks! Leave a comment below and share your culinary journey with us.