You have my permission to make this at every dinner party in the fall and winter. Ever. Every party should have this from potlucks to formal parties. At the very least, this sweet and savory stuffed acorn squash is so good you’ll want to be at my next dinner party. It reminds me of that Moroccan style couscous blended and Northern Italian cuisine with the warm and bold flavors of ginger and dried fruit.
This dish has so much personality without being overwhelming since you can modify it to your liking. For example, I added a little sage and kept stirring and adding it in until I was comfortable with the “pop” of flavor. That’s the beauty of cooking! With baking, one modification can sink your recipe, but with skillet cooking, you can get creative.
Usually I like to make my recipes ready for two people, but this is a simple dish I frequently make for just myself. So I decided to give you this recipe made for 1 person and 1 whole acorn squash (2 halves). Personally, I think this recipe is really inexpensive. Acorn squashes typically run about $3 a squash, or cheaper when you buy them from a farm, locally and in season and the sage (the most expensive part of the meal) I used all week long. I think that’s pretty cheap for such a beautiful shareable dish that almost any diet can enjoy.
Squash: If you are surprised to learn that winter squash ranks among the highest carotenoid antioxidants vegetables, you are not alone. In fact, “(f)rom South America to Africa to India and Asia and even in some parts of the United States, no single food provides a greater percentage of certain carotenoids than winter squash.” Even more, it contains omega-3, is considered an anti-inflammatory and high mineral (and trace mineral) content. Roast the seeds and you add omega-6 to the mix as well. Don’t worry, acorn squash seeds are just as snack-able as pumpkin seeds!
White Cannellini (kidney) Beans: I could tell you about the normal bean stuff, like it has lots of fiber, protein, magnesium, iron, and zinc and a mediterranean diet must, but I’d rather tell you about a mineral that never gets talked about that is in dairy, legumes, dark leafy vegetables and grains. Have you ever heard of a trace mineral called Molybdenum? Probably not because Americans tend to get a lot of dairy and grains and there have been very few studies about it for human consumption. However, it has been significantly studied for the soil since it is pretty important in a good soil balance.
Molybdenum gets stuff moving by activating the enzymes in your body and helping flush out things that wouldn’t get moving without it. Based on my layman’s understanding, Molybdenum gets your amino acids (the building blocks of proteins) and minerals (like iron) to metabolize appropriately in your body. It also helps reduce candida “when it helps your liver to expel the toxins that are produced when the Candida yeast is killed.”
So lets use those beans! Check out this Huffington Post article for some ideas on how to use the beans leftover from this recipe.
- 1 acorn squash, cut in half
- 2 tbsp coconut oil (1 tbsp for baking squash, 1 tbsp for skillet)
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp water
- 1/4 cup of chopped yellow or sweet onion
- 1 chopped and peeled pear
- 1 chopped and peeled apple
- 2 tbsp chopped prunes (or raisins)
- 1/2 tsp grated ginger
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1 cup canned or pre-cooked white cannellini or northern beans
- pinch garlic powder
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh sage
- freshly ground pepper and salt to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Cut the acorn squash in half and rub about 1 tbsp of coconut oil on it. Turn the squash facedown on a cookie sheet and bake! *I like to put parchment down on the cookie sheet, but that's just to avoid scrubbing dishes. Put the timer on for about an hour, or until the squash is soft.
- In a skillet, put the other tablespoon of coconut oil and sauté the chopped onion until golden brown (about 4 minutes on medium heat)
- Once browned, add the chopped fruit (pear, apple, then prunes) and brown for about 1 minute
- Add all the spices (and fresh ginger) to the pan so they become fragrant in the oil for a couple seconds, then add the rest of the ingredients.
- Saute for about 2 more minutes or until you can squish some of the beans
- After the squash is done (1 hour later), take the squash out and fill with the skillet filling.
- Serve with fresh sage on top or on the side
If you are in a hurry, you can bake the acorn squash at 425 degrees for about 25-35 minutes instead of 350 degrees.