Fall is my favorite season. Cooler weather, crisp smell in the air, bonfires, apple orchard trips, fall colors… and the FOOD. Apples, squash, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, Brussels sprouts – so many tasty, healthy foods are in season in the fall. And there are so many great ways to prepare fall produce, too.
One of my favorite fall foods is squash, and I love the traditional ‘roast in the oven with butter and brown sugar’ technique. But some days I’m looking for something a little more filling (no pun intended!) than just the squash itself. If you search for “stuffed acorn squash” online you’ll find a ton of different recipes, many featuring some sort of grain/vegetable/protein mix. I tried brown rice, kale, and raisins a few days ago, but felt like the brown rice lacked the flavor and texture I was looking for. So, I decided to try farro, an ancient grain that I’ve used in a previous recipe, because I thought its nuttier, chewier texture would complement the other ingredients well.
Though I used the specified ingredients below, it’s really easy to change out the grains/greens/fruit that I used for other ingredients, as long as you account for any changes in prep time (if you’re going to use meat, for example). Personalize your recipe with whatever combination of ingredients appeals to you.
Farro-Stuffed Acorn Squash with Kale and Dried Cranberries
- 1 acorn squash, halved and seeded
- 1 tbsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 cup kale, torn into small pieces
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 cups prepared farro (I used the microwaveable kind because it’s quicker)
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 4 tsp brown sugar, divided use
- Preheat oven to 350° F. Place squash halves, skin side up, in baking dish or pie tins. Fill dish/tins with enough water so that it’s 1″ deep. Cook squash for 35-40 minutes, or until the squash is tender. Poke with a fork to check for doneness.
- When 12-15 minutes of cook time remain for the squash, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in small skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add the kale and season with salt and pepper. Cook the kale until it’s nice and wilted, about 2 minutes (this will depend on the size of your kale pieces). Remove from heat and let cool briefly.
- In a medium bowl, combine the farro, kale, and cranberries, drizzling with a little bit of olive oil as you mix.
- When the squash is done, dump the water out of the dish/tins and let cool for a minute or two. Place 2 tsp brown sugar in each half. Fill with the farro/kale/cranberry mix, packing it in with the back of a spoon as desired. You might have some left over filling – save it for another batch or just to eat later.
- Place the squash halves carefully back into the dish/tins (skin side down this time), and bake for another 5 minutes. Enjoy!
Source: Inspired by the kitchn, but recipe is my own culinary genius. ; )