Apple stuffed acorn squash and lemony kale salad

Hi everyone and happy Tuesday!  I had a low-key weekend filled with family time, yoga, Thai food (the BEST I’ve ever had at The Green Elephant in Portland, Maine), movies and homemade pizza… some much-needed relax time.  And I was lucky enough to work from home yesterday (second best to actually having the day off), so I could catch up on some important work stuff, and also laundry.  😉

For food highlights, I have a delicious apple stuffed squash for you.  The recipe is reminiscent of my Mom’s Waldorf salad.. since I’m not a mayonnaise gal, I’ve actually never eaten it (yes Mom, it’s true, all those years at Thanksgiving, never tried it), BUT I can tell just by looking that it’s tasty!  And other people love it.  I digress….. anyway, I must have been channeling Waldorf in the kitchen when this one was hatched.

squash ingredients

Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash

You know what they say about ‘good things’ and ‘waiting,’ right?  Well, this is one of those recipes… it’s not difficult, you’re just going to need to give the squash some quality time in the oven.  Great news, this is a perfect make-ahead candidate… the stuffed squash will keep just fine in the fridge.  Think about it: home from work, pop food in the oven… by the time you’ve unwound from your day… a hot ‘weekend’ dinner on a weeknight!

  • 2 acorn squash
  • 2 apples, I used organic fuji, but whatever you like will be great
  • 1/2 cup sweet onion
  • 1 tiny piece of ginger, zested about 1/4 tsp
  • 1 rib celery
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries (the good ones, without added sugar)
  • 2 Tbs chopped pecans
  • 2 Tbs fresh parsely, minced
  • olive oil and black pepper

Chop and combine apples, onion, celery.  I left the apple skin on.  Stir in cranberries and pecans.  Add black pepper to taste.  I used several cracks of pepper but no added salt, you really don’t need it!  The chopped filling smelled so fresh and tasty, I almost grabbed a fork and stopped there.

squash filling chopped

Carefully cut the squash in half.  The squash are pretty hard so I lodge the knife as far as I can, then use the ‘splitting wood’ method.  Scrape the insides out and save the seeds.  I love roasted seeds and always cook mine when making squash… I throw them on a piece of aluminum foil with some salt and pepper and roast while the squash is cooking.

Lightly oil a baking dish.  Stuff the squash halves and place in the dish.  If you have extra stuffing, just throw it in the dish.


Cover and roast at 450F until soft, approx 50 minutes.

While these are roasting, you can prep your salad… I made a kale salad with lemony tahini dressing and roasted brussels sprouts.  I really love the addition of hot food on top of my green salads… especially in the winter.

stuffed squash

Lemon Tahini Kale Salad

I’m going to explain this recipe two ways, so I will try to keep it straightforward… I made the basic salad with dinner, then bulked up the leftovers with extra toppings for lunch the next day.  The add-ons gave the salad some protein and lasting power, making it more main-course worthy.

  • 1 head curly kale
  • 1 carrot, shredded
  • 2 cups brussels sprouts (approx)
  • Lemon Tahini Dressing: 2 Tbs apple cider vinegar, 1Tbs olive oil, 1 Tbs tahini, 1 Tbs fresh lemon juice, pepper

Thoroughly wash kale and tear into bite sized pieces, skipping any really thick stems.  Combine dressing ingredients and mix with the kale and carrot to coat well.  The vinegar will begin to soften the kale a bit… in fact, the longer this salad sits, the better it tastes!  Kale won’t go limp like regular lettuce can.

Slice brussels sprouts in half and spread on a baking sheet with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.  Roast the brussels sprouts at 450F for 20 minutes.  If you’ve never roasted sprouts, it’s absolutely the best way to cook them… they get a little sweet with nice crispy edges, soooo good!  In fact, roasting is my very favorite way to cook any vegetables!

Top the kale salad with roasted brussels sprouts and squash seeds.  This makes a perfect side dish… OR, as a meal…

  • 1 cup mixed greens
  • 1/2 cup sliced red cabbage
  • 1 cup dressed kale salad
  • leftover roasted brussels sprouts
  • chopped red bell pepper
  • marinated white beans
  • roasted squash seeds

Marinated beans are a new favorite of mine… I’ll whip them up and leave them in the fridge to add to salads or wraps.  Simply soak any type of beans (I’ve been loving the large white beans) in a combo of 2T apple cider vinegar, 1T olive oil, salt, pepper, fresh basil, oregano and red pepper flakes.

Between the marinated kale and beans, you totally don’t need extra dressing.  If you are really feeling the need for a flavor burst, you could always whip up a little extra lemon tahini.  I love how fresh and crunchy and brightly colored this salad is!  And I always forget how yummy cabbage is until I eat it.

pumped up kale salad

In other news, today is day 5 of the 30 day green smoothie challenge that Jonathan and I are doing with Young and Raw.  So far, it’s been a success.  We’ve had a new green smoothie every day and are both totally LOVING the experience.  I’m a big smoothie fan, but it’s easy to get stuck in a rut… so it’s lovely to have a supply of new recipes and creative new combinations.  It’s too late to join this month’s challenge, but if you follow them on facebook, they post lots of great smoothie and other raw recipes.

That’s all for now friends!  I am experimenting with homemade granola bars… so with any luck, I’ll be back with a healthy treat soon.

xox, Kristen

6 thoughts on “Apple stuffed acorn squash and lemony kale salad

  1. As expected…everything sounds delicious Kristen. I love Acorn squash, and the apples definitely compliment it! Can’t wait to try it!

  2. I’ve often stuffed acorn squash with a wild rice/pecan/cranberry mix this combination however this combination is new, enticing, and wonderful to me. Thanks for sharing it!

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