In keeping with the winter squash theme of the week, I present you with one of my personal favorites – acorn squash. Like all the winter squash it’s high in vitamin A, C, and B6 and is just a great food to add to your day.
By using your slow cooker instead of an oven, you’ll have a dish ready to serve as soon as you get home. Too often I think of making stuffed squash when I’m already running behind. Then it’s too late to have the baking time it needs.
Use the recipe below as a jumping off point. You can use any leftover grains, beans, even chopped stale bread (think Thanksgiving stuffing) to make a filling. Since the acorn squash is a little sweet, I like to add some dried fruit as well as savory herbs. It’s a perfect place to use up that last bit of the sausage (cook it first), crumbled baked tofu, or other meat substitute.
You can also just bake plain acorn squash in the slow cooker with a little cinnamon and brown sugar to have as an extra healthy dessert. Or simply cook it plain to use in a side dish.
Slow Cooker Acorn Squash Stuffed with Cranberry Pecan Rice (Gluten-Free )
This recipe serves 2, but you can easily double it. Just make sure your slow cooker is large enough to sit all the halves side by side.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 8 hours
- 1 Acorn Squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeded
- 1 cup Rice, pre-cooked (any leftover grain will work)
- 1-16 oz can lentil (or the equivalent, but they must be pre-cooked)
- 1 Tb. Dried Cranberries, chopped
- 1 Tb. Pecans, chopped
- 1 Clove Garlic, minced
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme, minced
- 1 tsp. Rosemary, chopped
- Pepper to taste
The night before: In a bowl mix the leftover rice with the lentils, chopped pecans and cranberries. Add in garlic and herbs, mix, then cover and put in fridge until the morning. Add some water or broth if the mixture is too dry.
Cut the acorn squash in half and remove the seeds. Lightly oil the exposed flesh with a little olive oil and place in the fridge until morning.
In the morning: Add about a half-inch of water in the bottom of your slow cooker. Take some aluminum foil to crumple up under your squash halves to keep them from turning over and spilling out the stuffing. No aluminum foil? Cut a little off the bottom side of the squash half to get it to sit straight.
Fill the squash with the stuffing and round it over the flesh if possible. Cook on low for 8 hours.
Optional: At the end of cooking add some 2% shredded cheese over the top of each squash half and pop the ceramic crock part of the slow cooker into the oven at 350 degrees until it melts.
If your crock doesn’t separate from the electrical part you can’t put it in the oven. Instead add the cheese while everything is still in the slow cooker, turn it to high and cook for about 15 minutes. The only difference is you will get a nice golden brown color if you put it in the oven.