Roasted Acorn Squash with Spiced Couscous
I love to eat seasonally for multiple reasons. One of them is, I never get tired of the produce. Each season when the seasonal produce comes out, I really look forward to eating it. I also enjoy finding different ways to utilize it. Apples taste so much better in the fall than they do in the spring. In the fall, when the weather starts to turn and the air gets chilly, I look forward to making comfort foods and soups again.
Fall and winter are the quintessential comfort food seasons. I love comfort foods, but I also love eating healthy. So while still enjoying comfort food, I also try to find ways to eat comfort food, without feeling like I will be on the couch for two hours afterwords.
So today, I am sharing with you a stuffed acorn squash recipe. I had the idea to use our leftover turkey from Thanksgiving and stuff it into acorn squash. I needed something else to stuff the acorn squash with and first I thought of wild rice, which would complement turkey very well. But then I remembered the spiced couscous I recently had at two separate restaurants. The spices were traditional warm spices, cumin, cinnamon, coriander, and turmeric. It was such a great way to feel like you were eating comfort food, but without the added calories traditional comfort food provides. So with that, I decided to make Roasted Acorn Squash with Spiced Couscous.
You can adjust this recipe to your own taste, I will note adjustments in the recipe. This can serve as an excellent main dish, as well as, a side dish. This could also be a vegetarian dish if you omit the meat, you could substitute chickpeas for added protein.
I would call this recipe Moroccan-ish spiced couscous. I used Israeli couscous, they are a larger shaped pasta than traditional North African couscous. I am also no expert in Moroccan cuisine, although I have enjoyed what I have eaten. I added some traditional Moroccan spices, enough to satisfy my taste of feeling like its spiced, without it feeling over powering. I hope you enjoy it.
2 acorn squash, halved and seeded
2 Tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper
1/3 cup of dried cranberries (or dried raisins, golden raisins, or dried cherries) – placed in water to re-hydrate
5 green onions, finely chopped (white and green parts separated)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup of Israeli couscous (or traditional couscous, just adjust the cooking time)
1 1/2 cups of boiling water
1/2 cup toasted almonds (or toasted pecans)
1 cup of cooked turkey, diced or shredded (or chicken, or chickpeas)
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp turmeric
- Pre-heat oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Rub 1 Tbsp olive oil onto the insides of the acorn squash and sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper.
- Roast squashes cut side down for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, add 1 Tbsp of olive oil to a medium-sized sauce pan. Add 1 cup of couscous to saucepan. Toast couscous over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the white parts of the chopped green onions, garlic and spices to the couscous, cook for 1-2 minutes until garlic and spices are fragrant and the couscous is toasted.
- Add 1 1/2 cups of boiling water to the saucepan and reduce heat to low. Simmer couscous, covered, for 10-12 minutes until all the water is absorbed.
- Add cooked couscous, almonds, green parts of the chopped green onions, cranberries (drained), and turkey to a large bowl and stir until well combined. Add salt and pepper to taste, I had to add at least 1/2 tsp of kosher salt.
- Remove acorn squashes from the oven (30 minutes should be almost up at this point).
- Spoon the couscous into roasted squash, until squashes are filled.
- Roast stuffed squashes for another 7-10 minutes.