This delicious, colorful, stuffed winter squash dish—bursting with nuts, plenty of herbs, and dried fruit—is hearty enough to be a main course. It’s also an excellent accompaniment to golden, roasted chicken or grilled pork or lamb chops. For the squash, pick butternut, kabocha, or sugar pie pumpkin, which are all sweet, flavorful winter varieties.
2 winter squash (halved and seeded)
4 tbsp butter or olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 ribs celery (chopped)
½ cup walnuts
½ cup sunflower seeds
2 large cloves garlic (minced)
2 tsp fresh sage (or 1 tsp dried sage)
2 tsp fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried thyme)
2 tsp fresh marjoram (or 1 tsp dried marjoram)
2 cups coarsely crumbled whole wheat bread
juice of 1 lemon or orange
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
½ cup raisins or dried cranberries
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Oil a baking dish that can snugly fit the squash halves. Place the squash, flesh side down, in the dish and pour in 2 cups of water. Bake until it is fork-tender, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat the butter or oil in a frying pan and sauté the onions until they turn translucent. Add the celery, walnuts, sunflower seeds, and garlic. Cook over low heat until the nuts are browned. Add the sage, thyme, and marjoram. Stir in the breadcrumbs, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and raisins; then cook over low heat for 5 to 8 minutes. Remove from the pan and stir in the cheese.
Lower the oven temperature to 350°F. Pack the stuffing into the squash cavities and cover with aluminum foil. Bake, flesh side up, for 25 minutes. Then uncover and cook for 5 to 8 minutes longer to brown.
— Featherstone Farm, Rushford, Minnesota
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