Fall is certainly in the air and, after my incredibly successful attempt at making the best toasted pumpkin seeds ever (stay tuned), I’m getting into the spirit of squash.
When I found a beautiful selection of organic acorn squash at the local grocery store yesterday, I just had to get my hands on one of those babies. But all I’ve every really done with this kind of squash is roast it up with some butter and brown sugar or maple syrup.
However, the first time I ever really ate squash may actually have been at summer camp. (Yes, the same place that serves sloppy joes and stale tacos.) On Friday nights, we used to have the best vegetarian dish – in camp terms, at least – that involved couscous with goodies like squash, raisins, onions and chick peas. So I thought to myself: Why not jazz up that mixture and stuff it into half a scrumptious acorn squash?
Winter squash is not only delicious, flavourful and filling, it’s also jam-packed with antioxidants, like cartenoids, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and manganese. It has anti-inflammatory properties and a lot of omega-3s, too, considering how low it is in fat. It makes the perfect base for this one-bowl meal.
So, how to incorporate this richly sweet, fibrous and utterly comforting squash into a meal? Check out the recipe below. It will feed two hungry people.
- 1 acorn squash, halved and seeded
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- salt & pepper
- 1/8 tsp cayenne
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1/4 tsp powdered ginger
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 1 carrot, diced
- 1/2 cup whole wheat couscous
- 1/2 cup chick peas, canned
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1 cup apple juice
- maple syrup
- Preheat the over to 375F.
- Rub 1 tablespoon olive oil onto the flesh of the scooped squash and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Bake, cut side down, for approximately 30 minutes, until you can pierce the flesh easily with a fork.
- Meanwhile, sauté the spices, garlic, onion and carrot in a pot with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat until the onions are translucent.
- Then, add the couscous, chick peas, raisins and apple juice. Season lightly with salt and pepper, cover, and let simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and let the couscous mixture sit for 5 more minutes.
- Fluff the couscous and scoop it into each squash half, until it’s heaping. You will probably have some extra couscous, which makes for great leftovers.
- Put everything back in the oven for about 15 minutes, until heated through.
- Drizzle a little maple syrup (or honey) on top and serve. To eat, just scoop at the insides so that every spoonful has a blend of squash and couscous.