Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Roasted Acorn Squash stuffed with Peppers, Mushrooms & Cheese

Roasted Acorn Squash stuffed with Peppers, Mushrooms & Cheese

Serves: 4
Roasted Acorn Squash stuffed with Peppers, Mushrooms & Cheese
I was lucky this week with my Farmer’s Market Bag from Specialty Produce. The most beautiful acorn squash greeted me. They are gorgeous but oh so challenging to serve. I mean those little curvy corners really making it challenging for me to remove all the squash – impossible to peel and difficult to scrape out when cooked. I thought of two possible solutions – one was to let my guests scoop out the cooked squash or cut fat rings horizontally and put a dollop of something in the middle. For this recipe, I chose door number 1 – my guests would do the scooping.

My wonderful daughter is flying home for Thanksgiving. Yippee! She is a vegetarian – but a meal with turkey as the centerpiece is hardly her favorite. She has never complained about eating around the main course with vegetables nearby but it sure does not seem fair. A beautiful acorn squash filled with yummy fall vegetables would be an elegant entrée. My carnivore husband suggested adding sausage…another time perhaps. 

Acorn Squash is a winter squash with distinctive longitudinal ridges and sweet yellow-orange flesh. It is usually green in color, often with a splotch of orange on the side or top. As the name suggests, its shape resembles that of an acorn. It is good and hardy to save through the winter in storage for several months in a cool dry location, but only about two weeks in the refrigerator. Ideally, only cut or cooked acorn squash should be refrigerated. They will suffer chill damage at temperatures below 50 degrees F. Dry hot air will cause loss of moisture, resulting in a shorter shelf life. Squash with a bit of the stem still intact will help slow down moisture loss. Plan on using acorn squash within 2-4 weeks of purchase, since you never know how long it has already been in storage and under what conditions.
The most important ingredient
  • 2 Acorn squash
  • 2 Tb olive oil
  • 2 Tb unsalted butter
  • 2 C green cabbage (core removed before slicing)
  • 1 C ¼-inch-sliced sweet onion
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced in ¼ inch julienne
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced in ¼ inch julienne
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • 2 C cremini mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 ounces crumbled goat cheese
  • 2 Tb chopped fresh parsley for garnish, optional 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Trim the tops and bottoms of 2 acorn squash just so they will sit level. Cut them in half horizontally so the cut-ends will keep the pieces flat. Clean the inside of the squash. I find it easiest to do this with a grapefruit spoon. Using your fingers under running water, with drain plugged, separate the seeds from membranes and rinse well. Dry the seeds with a paper towel and set aside.
Cut acorn squash with seeds scooped out
Place the squash cut-side up on a baking sheet, drizzle with 2 Tb olive oil and sprinkle with 1 tsp kosher salt and some freshly ground pepper. Place the dried seeds on a separate baking sheet or foil. Roast the squash 30 minutes. Roast the seeds at the same time, checking and moving them around after 10 minutes and again after 15 minutes. Depending on the size of the seeds, they may be done after 15 minutes, or up to 20 minutes. Sprinkle the seeds, while warm, with 1 tsp kosher salt, and set aside. Cook the squash an additional 15 – 30 minutes until done.  Test by inserting a fork into flesh to see if it is soft. Total cooking time pending the size of your squash could be 30-60 minutes.
Baked squash
....and baked squash seeds
For the filling, put a large sauté pan over high heat and add 2 Tb butter. When melted, add 1 C sliced onions, both sliced peppers, sprinkle with salt and pepper and gently toss to combine. Add sliced 2 C cabbage – mix and sauté 5 minutes, allowing cabbage to wilt down. Add 2 C quartered cremini mushrooms and cook 4 minutes. Add the minced 3 cloves of garlic and toss to combine. Sauté 3-4 minutes longer, and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
The stuffing (editorial from publisher: maybe add a little sausage?)   :-)
Preheat broiler to low. Fill the roasted acorn squash halves with the warm filing. Sprinkle the 6 ounces crumbled goat cheese over the top, then top with roasted squash seeds. Broil just until the cheese is warm. Garnish with chopped parsley.

It is a beautiful, healthy and very tasty vegetarian entrée worthy of any holiday meal! It would be wonderful served with a buttery Chardonnay, a dry Gewürztraminer or off-dry Riesling or Voignier. If you do take my husband’s suggestion of adding sausage to the filling – cook it first, add it to the mix and finish as before. 

Last year I shared two recipes of "what to do with leftover turkey" - and shared a wonderful Turkey Soup and Turkey Chili recipes. (Nov. 18, 2011 posting) This year, I thought two fall vegetarian options for a Thanksgiving entree might be appreciated. Look for Kabocha Squash with Sunchokes, Mushrooms & Cheese next week!

Bon Appetit!



  1. And then there are those of us hard core squash lovers who eat the skin on all kinds of winter squash including acorn! No scraping or careful scooping required.

    1. Me too! Love squash and all the fillings. Look for next week's posting for another vegetarian entree featuring Kabocha Squash and Sunchokes.

  2. Looks wonderful! My husband and I are both vegetarian so I especially appreciate the idea of adding roasted squash seeds for some extra protein and good fat - not to mention the added flavor.

    1. So happy it will work well for you. Next week is my second vegetarian squash entree - featuring Kabocha Squash and Sunchokes...