Israeli Couscous Stuffed Acorn Squash

Cheesy, autumn comfort food.

It’s autumn, and sure, we all love pumpkin. But there are also an array of other squash and seasonal veggies that are pretty exciting too, including the adorable acorn squash.

Growing up my dad would prepare acorn squash in a very simple way: cut in half and roasted with butter and maple syrup. Nothing bad about that.

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But I have been searching for other ways to prepare the cute squash. Finally a few weeks ago I came across this recipe for Orzo and Cheese Baked in Acorn Squash and I thought: ok, I have to make this! Not only is it cheesy and easy, but making a stuffed dish during Sukkot was also Jewishly appropriate.

I didn’t have orzo, but I did have Israeli couscous, a favorite ingredient. I also wanted to get in a little extra vegetables in this dish, so I added some onion and pepper. Want to make this healthier? You could substitute whole wheat couscous, quinoa and even add some lentils.


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Ingredients

2 small acorn squash, halved and seeded

¾ cup water

¾ cup uncooked Israeli couscous

¾ cup water

Salt and pepper

½ onion, diced

½ red bell pepper, diced

1 garlic clove, minced

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Pinch red pepper flakes

¼ cup milk

½ cup grated cheddar cheese

2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese

Fresh parsley

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice off a piece from each half of acorn squash so they will lie flat in the pan when baking later.

Place squash open side down in a baking pan. Add 3/4 cup water to pan. Cover tightly with foil. Bake for 35 minutes. Remove from oven and discard water. Turn squash open side up. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook another 15 minutes until tender.

Bring the ¾ cup of water to a boil. Add couscous and salt and pepper, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10 minutes.

In a large sauté pan add a few tbsp olive oil. Cook onions and pepper for 4 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and continue cooking until soft and translucent, another 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat and add to a large bowl. Add cooked couscous, cheddar cheese, milk and 1 Tbsp Parmesan cheese. Mix thoroughly.

Remove squash from oven. Spoon couscous cheese filling into each squash. Top with additional Parmesan cheese, fresh parsley and a drizzle of olive oil. Bake until top begins to brown, around 25 minutes.

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