Cherry Pecan Stuffed Acorn Squash
Updated: Mar 6, 2021
A recipe that pretty much sums up the way I like to eat on any given day in the Fall Season! It's savory and hearty with a little taste of sweetness from the cherries, smoked salty from the bacon & creaminess from the parmesan cheese (use any cheese you like or omit it altogether) - all rounded out with a burst of citrus flavor from the orange.
Only a few easy steps to make like, roast the squash, make the filling, bake until the top is golden brown and crispy and wallah, a perfect healthy meal in no time all!
#1 - prep and roast the acorn squash:
Use a sharp kitchen knife to slice the ends off of the squash about 3/4 inch below the stem. This will help the squash sit nice and flat when roasting.
Scoop out the seeds and excess pulp from inside the squash.
Scrape the inside with the back of the spoon to get it nice and clean for roasting.
#2 roast the squash:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F, spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Brush each half of the squash with some of the olive oil and sprinkle each generously with salt and pepper. Place the squash, face-side up onto the baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes, remove and let cool.
What you'll need:
1 cup chickpeas
1 cup cooked, wild rice or quinoa
1 cup Mushrooms, chopped
1/2 cup cooked, uncured bacon
3 cups fresh spinach
1¾ cups chicken broth, or water
2-3 Acorn squash
1 scallion, chopped
1/3 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
2 smallish sprigs thyme, leaves only
zest of one orange
a few shavings Parmesan
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
#3 - make the filling:
Start with sautéing the mushrooms, cloves garlic, and shallots in a little olive oil until the mushrooms start to brown.
add 1/2 cup diced bacon (if your going vegan, then omit this step)
Then add in the spinach and a sprinkle of salt and pepper and cook until the spinach is slightly wilted.
Pour in the chickpeas and pecans (or walnuts are a good option) and toss in the spices. I used onion powder, cumin, and chili powder. Let that all cook for 2-3 minutes to wake up the spices and get the chickpeas slightly golden brown. .
Finally, add in the cooked wild rice or quinoa, toss, and let that all cook for 1-2 minutes.
Sprinkle in the grated parmesan cheese and toss to allow it to melt a little. Add in the juice and zest of an orange and the dried cherries as the final touch. Toss everything together
Fill each squash with the filling, I like to fill them with a lot of filling.
Top each stuffed squash with more cheese if desired and bake in the oven at 425 degrees F for 4-5 minutes to get the tops nice and golden brown.
Serve warm and top with fresh herbs -like Thyme
Store any remaining filling for another meal - like a fritatta or easy egg scramble!