Roasted Acorn Squash

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Roasted Acorn Squash A common way to serve roasted squash is stuffed with sausage and rice. On a whim, we tried creating a meatless version by mixing sausage spices with brown rice and walnuts—and surprisingly, it worked! The trick is fennel seeds, which are traditionally used in Italian sausage; you may find your brain associates their flavor with sausage pizza. A few more savory spices, aromatics, and kale round out the filling, and it makes for a particularly showy vegetarian entrée for occasions like Sunday dinners or Thanksgiving.

  • Yield: 8 Servings


  • 1 cup medium or short grain brown rice
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided, plus more for drizzling
  • 4 large acorn squash (about 1½ pounds each)
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 mall yellow onion
  • 1 large shallot (or 2 small)
  • ½ bunch Tuscan or Lacinato kale (about 4 ounces)
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1½ teaspoons fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon dried ground sage
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for sprinkling
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper, plus more for sprinkling
How to Make It
  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  2. Make the rice: In a medium saucepan, bring the rice, vegetable broth, and 1 tablespoon olive oil to a boil. Cover and simmer gently until the broth is entirely absorbed, about 35 minutes (timing may vary depending on brand; check by pulling back the rice with a fork). Remove from the heat and allow to steam, covered, for about 10 minutes or until used in the recipe.
  3. Roast the squash: Chop each squash into quarters and use a spoon to scrape out the seeds. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat, and place the squash onto the sheet. Drizzle the cut sides with olive oil, then sprinkle a few pinches kosher salt and several grinds of black pepper. Place cut-side down on the sheet and roast until tender, about 35 to 40 minutes.
  4. Assemble the filling: Peel the carrots. Finely chop the carrot and celery. Peel and mince the onion and the shallot. Destem the kale by holding the leaf at the lowest part of the stem and pulling back to tear the leaf away from the stem, then finely chop the leaves (about 2 cups). Chop the walnuts.
  5. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the carrot, celery, onion, shallot, and fennel seeds and sauté until tender and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the kale and sauté until tender, another 2 minutes. Stir in the rice, walnuts, sage, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, red pepper flakes, kosher salt, and black pepper. Mix to fully combine and heat the filling, then remove from the heat. Serve the squash topped with a few spoonfuls of filling, allowing it to spill over the sides.

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