Taste of Autumn Squash
This is one of my favorite, super healthy side dishes during the Fall & holiday season. Everybody loves this & always asks if I’ll be making it at Thanksgiving. I’ve also served this alone as a fabulous & satisfying dish for lunch or a light dinner.
Serves: 2 to 4 as a side dish / 2 for lunch or light dinner
1 medium sized acorn squash
2 1/2 cups orange juice, no pulp & not from concentrate
1/4 cup roughly chopped dried apricots (see Tip# 1)
1 cup pineapple, chopped into large bite-sized pieces see Tip# 2)
1 Tblsp organic raisins
1 Tblsp organic dried cranberries
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, divided
Freshly grated nutmeg (see Tip# 3)
2 Tblsp of a combo of roughly chopped almonds & cashews, divided (or use whatever nuts you desire such as walnuts, peanuts, pecans etc)
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Slice the squash in half & scoop out all the seeds. Cut a thin small piece off skin side to keep it steady while cooking.
3. Add orange juice or water to a foil lined, 3 quart glass baking dish, place squash in skin side up & bake for 45 minutes.
4. In a bowl; mix apricots, pineapple, raisins & cranberries. Set aside till squash is ready.
5. Remove squash from oven & drain off liquid.
6. Turn squash over & fill each well with half the fruit mixture. Sprinkle each with 1/4 tsp cinnamon, some grated nutmeg, then 1 Tblsp chopped nuts.
7. Return to oven & bake another 15 – 20 minutes.
8. Leave on middle oven rack & give it a quick broil for 2 minutes, no longer or it might burn.
9. Remove from oven, let cool 5 minutes & serve (see Tip# 4). If you want to serve 4 people, just carefully slice each piece in half.
Tips & Suggestions
1. Make this even healthier by using unsulphured, dried apricots. These apricots are not soft like the sulphured ones, so you’ll need to soak them for about 20 minutes in a very small bowl of water to rehydrate them a bit. Drain & roughly chop up the apricots.
2. You can use fresh, frozen (partially defrosted) or canned pineapple in it’s own juice… whatever you have on hand.
3. In any recipe that calls for nutmeg, I always suggest using fresh grated nutmeg & not the store bought variety. The aroma & taste of fresh grated nutmeg is beyond compare!
4. If making ahead of time; cool to room temperature & place in individual containers. Either refrigerate to reheat within a day or 2… or freeze for longer storage (use up within 30 days).