Acorn squash are beautiful, tasty root vegetables that can be easily transformed into a variety of side dishes and main meals. They contain antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and help regulate blood sugar. This dish incorporates French lentils (containing plant-powered protein) and toasted walnuts (full of omega-3 fatty acids) to present a complete balance of essential nutrients.
All these beneficial ingredients are piled into squash “shells” to create a stunning presentation. Studded with currants, this recipe is seasonal, decadent, and dazzling enough for your holiday table.
Stuffed Acorn Squash with Lentils, Currants & Walnuts
1½ cups salted water
1 cup French lentils
2 small acorn squash (10 to 12 ounces each), cut in half and seeded
1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing
1½ cups finely chopped onion
1½ teaspoons dried sage
4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
½ cup dried currants, plus 2 tablespoons for garnish
½ cup chopped toasted walnuts, plus 2 tablespoons for garnish
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 375°
- Bring the water to a boil, then add the lentils. Return to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, until tender, 30 to 45 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.
- Meanwhile, grease a baking sheet. Place the squash, cut side down, on the sheet. Bake until tender, about 40 minutes, and let cool.
- Using a spoon, scoop out the pulp, leaving a ¼-inch-thick shell. Transfer the pulp to a medium bowl, and set the shells aside.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onion until very tender, about 15 minutes. Add the sage and stir for 2 minutes.
- Add the lentils, squash pulp, and lemon juice. Stir until well incorporated, breaking the pulp into smaller pieces.
- Mix in the currants, walnuts, and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.
- Divide stuffing mixture among the reserved shells. Place them on a roasting pan.
- Bake until the filling is heated through, about 25 minutes. Sprinkle with currants and toasted nuts to garnish.
- Stuffed Acorn Squash with Cranberries. Replace the currants with dried cranberries. You can also use purple or yellow raisins.
- Stuffed Acorn Squash with Pecans. Replace the walnuts with pecans.
- Stuffed Acorn Squash Prepared with Stock. Replace the water with chicken or vegetable stock for a deeper flavor.
If you’re hosting a dinner party, you can prepare this dish 6 hours in advance. Simply roast the squash and make the filling. Cover the shells and filling, then chill. About 30 minutes before serving, preheat the oven to 350°F. Fill the shells and place them on a roasting pan. Bake for 25 minutes, then garnish as directed.
When you enjoy acorn squash, you’ll be rewarded with the benefits of vitamins C and K, as well as fiber and powerful antioxidants. In addition to this variety of squash, try butternut, delicata, and spaghetti squash to keep your menus exciting (and healthy) each week!
Double up on your yield by making 2 cups of lentils instead of 1 cup. Use half in this recipe, and save half to throw into a salad later in the week!