This bright, mineral-rich soup is full of flavor and full of nutrients to help your body feel its best. Roasted acorn squash, carrots, celery, and onion are simmered and pureed, along with hints of spices such as curry, ginger, nutmeg, and a dash of chipotle. Topped with a few roasted, salted pumpkin seeds, this winter pick-me-up soup is warming, super-nourishing, and inspiring.
Fill roasted acorn squash “bowls” with sautéed mushrooms, chopped walnuts, couscous, and fresh thyme, and you have a festive and nourishing meal. A bit of melted butter and Parmesan cheese make it even better. The tender squash goes beautifully with the savory flavors of the filling, and the protein-rich mushrooms and walnuts are satisfying without making you feel over-full.
Roasted acorn squash halves make beautiful and tasty bowls for both sweet and savory fillings. I love apple-filled roasted squash, but I was recently looking for a way to use my acorn squash more as a main dish. Then I read a post titled Loaded Tofu, Basmati Rice & Apple Roasted Pumpkin on Amanda’s lovely blog, What’s Cooking. The title meal itself sounds delicious, and in this post, Amanda goes on to write about the versatility of the fillings as well as the squashes that can be used for stuffing, and she mentions brown rice, mushrooms, and walnuts as a possible filling. A little lightbulb went off in my head when I read this, because I had mushrooms, walnuts, and couscous on hand, and a pretty acorn squash sitting on my kitchen counter.
A suggestion turned into a delicious meal. Thank you, Amanda! The tender squash is a delicious, edible bowl for the savory mushrooms, couscous, walnuts, and thyme. You can really mix and match your filling ingredients, and prepare them while the squash is roasting. I happened to have leftover garlic-seasoned couscous in the refrigerator, but rice or quinoa would be good too. And if you wanted to add more protein, you could add some cooked shredded chicken or other ingredients. The possibilities are endless, so this recipe is merely one option, though a very delicious one! The recipe below is for one squash, which feeds about two people, but it can easily be doubled or more, if you are feeding a few people, and the amounts are estimates, because some of it depends on the size of the squash you are filling.
Using a roasted squash for a bowl is fun and seasonal. And if you are like me, sometimes you may need a little urging to use that squash. I end up with them sitting on my counter with the best of intentions, and though they look decorative on the counter, they need to be used! This is a relatively easy, lovely, healthy, and tasty way to use it. Rustic elegance on your table in a little over an hour, and much of that is oven time.
The fall color here continues to amaze me with its beauty. Everywhere I look there are beautiful trees. I am really hoping to get out into the woods this weekend. The natural luxury and bounty of this season is always inspiring to me. Nature is so generous with its display of sumptuous colors and textures, and looking around, I can see every shade of yellow, brown, red, and green. I hope you all have a beautiful weekend! I will be sharing this recipe over at Angie’s Fiesta Friday, co-hosted this week by Margy @ La Petite Casserole and Suzanne @ apuginthekitchen.
1/2 to 1 cup of cooked couscous (rice or quinoa can also be used)
1 cup of sliced mushrooms, sautéed
1/4 cup of raw walnuts, finely chopped
1 to 2 tablespoons of fresh thyme leaves, removed from the stems
1/4 to 1/2 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese
2 to 3 tablespoons of butter
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the squash in half, lengthwise, from stem to base. Spoon out the seeds. Place the halves cut-sides down in a buttered baking dish. Roast in your 375 degree oven for 35 to 50 minutes, or until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork or knife. (The roasting time will depend on the size of the squash).
While the squash is roasting, prepare your filling. Cook the couscous and sauté the mushrooms. Chop the walnuts and remove the thyme leaves from the stems. Mix the filling together in a bowl and season with salt and pepper and anything else you like.
When the squash is tender, pull it out of the oven and flip it over. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, and rub with a couple tablespoons or so of butter. Spoon the filling into the squash “bowls”, packing the filling as high as you want it. Put the filled squash back into the oven and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes, until the filling is warmed all the way through. In the last five minutes or so, top with Parmesan cheese. Serve warm. Enjoy!
I love it when I find a recipe for a dish that is fun, seasonal, healthy, and pretty. This month, I had an acorn squash sitting on my counter top for longer than I would care to admit. (Luckily, they keep really well!) I wanted to use it, but I just kept putting it off. Then a couple of days ago, I was leafing through one of my many favorite cookbooks, Mrs. Chard’s Almanac Cookbook: Hollyhocks and Radishes, by Bonnie Stewart Mickelson. This cookbook is so much fun to simply look at, with lots of stories and beautiful illustrations about life in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. And the recipes are beguiling too, with many of them based on local, seasonal produce. I found a recipe for acorn squash that caught my eye, and I am so glad I found it that I wanted to share it as soon as I could get a blog post together. The recipe combines acorn squash with apples and a brown sugar/lemon juice/ginger mixture. Not only does this combination taste really great together, but it also looks so festive. And it is super-easy–most of the time it is simply baking away in the oven, warming up your kitchen and making it smell divine. You can scoop out the apple/squash mixture and serve it in bowls, but if you find small enough acorn squashes, they serve as their own pretty bowls. The only thing I did to change the recipe is that I cut it down by thirds, since I was only making enough for my husband, myself, and our children this time. And truth be told, not everyone in the family is a squash-lover. But some of us are, and we really enjoyed this side dish. (I even converted one non-squash-lover into a squash fan!) For the recipe I post below, I will use the amounts given in the above-mentioned cookbook. However, if you are cooking for a smaller group, just divide by half or thirds. If you are looking to jazz up a standard squash dish or need a fun dish to make for guests, this is a good one to use.