The other day this acorn squash was just sitting on my kitchen counter, staring at me, as if to say, “So, what the heck are ya gonna to do with me, huh?” I took the challenge right then and there, and here is the result. These autumn beauties would be the perfect sweet and savory side dish for your Thanksgiving table, and so easy to prepare! The apple, spice and walnut filling compliments the squash so well, and is very versatile. You could just use the filling in puff pastry for a dessert, as a non-dairy “ice cream” topping, or mixed into oatmeal. The possibilities are endless. And once you taste it. It won’t be hard to find excuses to make it again. NOTE: The recipe calls for date paste, which is a wonderful, unprocessed, whole food sweetener. Directions on how to prepare it are at the end of the recipe. Enjoy!
1 acorn squash, cut in half, lengthwise, seeds removed
1 large apple, cored and diced
1 handful raw walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup date paste*
1/2 tablespoon Earth Balance, softened (non-hydrogenated, non-dairy margarine) – optional
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground clove
a scant 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Pour enough water in a 9×13 inch glass baking dish to fill about 1/2 inch deep. Set squash halves in the dish, cut side up.
- In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Heap about half of the mixture into each squash half and pile in enough to make a nice mound on top.
- Carefully place baking dish in the oven and bake for 60-90 minutes. Test for doneness by piercing the squash with a fork. If the fork goes in easily, and the filling is bubbly, it’s ready. Enjoy!
* Date paste is a terrific whole-food substitute for processed, refined sugar. Just fill a blender pitcher with 2-3 cups of pitted dates (double check for any remaining pits). Pour in water until the water line overs about half of the dates. Blend on high until pureed. Transfer to an airtight container and use whenever you need to grab a sweetener for anything from hot tea or coffee, to baking or smoothies. Use by itself for a great apple dip. Your batch of date paste will last (refrigerated, in an air-tight container) about 1 week.