As soon as the first flickers of fall fill the air, pumpkins and squashes suddenly seem to appear all over. Whether it’s for dinner, in some baked goods, or placed decoratively in some nook or corner, you just can’t avoid the seasonal gourd onslaught. That’s a good thing, in our books, because we’ll take all the squash we can get.
To prepare fall squash, you could boil it into a mash or sauté and simmer it into a curry or sauce. But nothing brings out the biggest flavors quite like roasting, which turns the flesh tender, concentrates the sweetness, and adds an alluring caramelization to the surface.
When we want to make it the star of the show, few things top a whole squash stuffed with a mixture of flavorful add-ins. Not only do you get a foundation made completely of tasty roasted squash, but also a meal-in-one with a hearty filling that you can customize to your liking in endless ways. It’s perfect for a light dinner, perhaps with a salad or a little soup on the side, or as part of a larger fall meal spread, especially for Thanksgiving.
Best of all, preparing stuffed squash is simple and can be made on a budget with some pantry staples. Any hollow-centered variety will work, although we’re especially fans of the perfectly-sized acorn squash or the flavorful koginut squash. Our basic method is below, but feel free to experiment and tinker around with it—you’ll likely have plenty of opportunities, since it’s one of those things that is made for returning to again and again.
Roasted Stuffed Autumn Squash Recipe
What You’ll Need:
2 acorn or koginut squashes (or any other medium-small winter squash variety)
Salt and pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
4 oz chopped baby bella or other mushrooms
1 cup chopped bell pepper, kale, peas, corn, or other vegetable
2 1/2 cups steamed grains, such as quinoa, brown rice, fonio, etc.
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary, sage, or thyme
Grated cheese, cooked sausage or ground meat crumbles, fresh cranberries, drained and rinsed canned beans or lentils
What To Do:
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Halve the squashes crosswise. Lightly brush all surfaces with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Set on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cut sides up.
Heat a pan over medium and add a generous drizzle of olive oil. Add onion and cook, tossing, until translucent, 3-4 minutes. Stir in mushrooms and any other vegetables you’re using. Continue cooking until everything is just barely tender, a few minutes more. Remove from heat.
Place steamed grains in a large bowl, then stir in cooked vegetables, fresh herbs, and any other add-ins. Spoon mixture into the center cavities of the squashes on the sheet, filling them generously. Tip: If using cheese, sprinkle a little extra over top.
Transfer sheet with squash to oven and roast until squash is tender and gently caramelized, 40-45 minutes.