Stuffed Acorn Squash
This recipe is made with squash, millet and spinach, making for a rich and tasty meal that’s safe for several food allergies. It’s based on a recipe by Cybele Pascal from her book Allergy-Free and Easy Cooking, which provides enticing recipes that steer clear of the top allergens: dairy, eggs, wheat, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish and sesame. Yields 4 servings.
1⁄2 cup millet
1 1⁄2 cups water
2 small acorn squash, halved and seeded
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for brushing squash
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1⁄2 cup chopped sweet or yellow onion
2 large cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1⁄4 cup dried cranberries
1 bag (5 to 6 ounces) baby spinach
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1⁄4 cup shelled hemp seeds, toasted
4 heaping teaspoons fine breadcrumbs
4 heaping teaspoons butter or olive oil
1. Combine the millet and water in a small saucepot over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer for 18 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. (Do not stir the millet or it will become creamy. You want it to cook up like rice, and refraining from stirring will accomplish this.)
2. Meanwhile, lightly brush the insides of the squash halves with a little olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place face down on a large microwave-safe dish. Cover and cook in the microwave for 16 minutes, or until tender.
3. While squash is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large, heavy pan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 2 minutes, or until tender. Add the garlic and cranberries, and cook and stir for 1 additional minute. Add the spinach and cook, stirring often, until wilted, about 2 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and sugar, and season with salt and pepper. Cook and stir for another minute. Remove from heat, and stir in the hemp seeds.
4. Preheat the broiler on high.
5. Once the millet is cooked, fluff it lightly with a fork. Combine 1 cup of millet with the spinach mixture and toss.
6. Put the squash halves, cut side up, in a broiler-safe pan or on a rimmed baking tray. Divide the filling evenly among the squash halves, mounding it slightly. Top each with 1 heaping teaspoon breadcrumbs and 1 heaping teaspoon butter. Broil 8 inches from the heat source for 4 to 5 minutes, or until nicely browned.
NOTE: To toast hemp seeds, heat a small frying pan or skillet over medium heat. Add the hemp seeds and cook, stirring often, for 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden and aromatic.
Maple-Baked Acorn Squash
In her e-book series Fresh Pantry, author Amy Pennington introduces readers to fresh seasonal ingredients to help those who are trying to eat a sustainable, seasonal diet. Cook this tried-and-true treat when you want something easy and healthy. Yields 1 serving.
1 acorn squash, washed, cut in half, seeds removed
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons maple syrup or brown sugar
4 fresh sage leaves
Coarse salt, to taste
1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
2. Place the squash halves, cut side up, in a pie tin or a small roasting pan. Add 1 tablespoon butter, 1 tablespoon syrup and 2 sage leaves to each cavity.
3. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the squash is tender and can be easily pierced with a fork. Remove squash from the oven and let stand to cool for about 5 minutes, then discard the sage leaves.
4. Using a fork, scrape the flesh up from the skin, mixing to combine flavors. Sprinkle with coarse salt and serve.
NOTE: Acorn squash is the best choice for this recipe. Its porous and thick nature allows the maple and butter to seep in without being too stringy. This dish holds in the fridge for one day before becoming dry.
This excerpt has been reprinted with permission from Fresh Pantry: Winter Squash by Amy Pennington.