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Roasted Acorn Squash with Wild Rice Pistachio Stuffing

Roasted Acorn Squash with Wild Rice Pistachio Stuffing | A Couple Cooks

Alex and I have started a tradition: each year, we make our own custom Thanksgiving menu to share in this space. We develop it together, cook it together, shoot it together, and enjoy it together: all just the two of us. Our focus is seasonal, local whole foods centered around a meatless entree, along with some gluten-free and naturally-sweet options. We work for a healthy autumn menu that’s just outside the bounds of the traditional turkey/mashed potatoes, but elegant and conventional enough to be Thanksgiving-suitable for a family with a wide variety of dietary needs. On a day known for over-eating rich foods, it’s possible to eat foods that are packed with flavor, nutritious, and leave you full of energy, instead of the usual post-meal daze.

Funny thing is, we don’t typically cook much on Thanksgiving! Since we’re usually guests instead of hosts on the big day, we use this meal as the time to get our creative juices flowing. And, it’s become a fun tradition: an informal Thanksgiving meal where we get to test out all the recipes in advance, then eat off of them for days. (This year we had some friends along for the ride, which was even more fun.)

This year, we’ve developed four new recipes for our healthy and fresh Thanksgiving feast!  We’ll be sharing all four this week, so you have ample time to add them to your Thanksgiving idea list.

A nice thing about this entree is that it works for any autumn or winter meal, be it Thanksgiving or not. We’ve roasted up some sweet acorn squash and topped it with nutty, chewy wild rice, crunchy pistachios, and salty feta cheese. It’s savory, filling, and full of flavor. Though we have a few roasted acorn squash recipes, this newest is a clear favorite.

Roasted Acorn Squash with Wild Rice Pistachio Stuffing | A Couple Cooks

Roasted Acorn Squash with Wild Rice Pistachio Stuffing
Serves: 6 to 8
What You Need
  • 1½ cups wild rice
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 4 acorn squash
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 shallot
  • 1 bunch kale
  • 3½ tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • ⅓ cup pistachios, chopped
  • 4 ounces crumbled feta cheese
What To Do
  1. Pre-heat oven to 450°F.
  2. In a medium pot, combine 1 ½ cups wild rice, 3 ½ cups water, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 45 to 50 minutes until tender. Let sit for 10 minutes before draining any extra liquid.
  3. Meanwhile, chop each of the acorn squash in half and then into quarters. Using a spoon, scrape out the seeds. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, place the squash on the sheet and drizzle with olive oil on the cut sides, then sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper. Turn cut side down on the sheet and roast until tender, about 40 minutes.
  4. While the squash roasts, mince 3 cloves garlic and 1 shallot. Remove the stems from the kale, then cut the leaves into thin strips (chiffonade). In a large skillet, heat 1½ tablespoons olive oil; add garlic and shallot and sauté for a 2 to 3 minutes until the shallots are soft. Then add the kale and sauté for 2 to 3 additional minutes until the kale is tender and bright green. Turn off the heat and stir in the rice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Taste, and adjust seasonings if desired.
  5. Chop the pistachios.
  6. To serve, place the squash quarters on a plate. Top with wild rice stuffing, then sprinkle with feta cheese and pistachios. (Alternatively, feta and pistachios can be mixed into the wild rice stuffing).


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  • Reply
    November 10, 2013 at 10:49 pm

    This is gorgeous you guys! Seriously, I am in love with these flavors and I actually just did a wild rice Thanksgiving dish today, but I could so go for this now! I also love your little tradition. It sounds pretty perfect to me!

    • Reply
      November 11, 2013 at 11:51 am

      Thank you Tieghan :)

  • Reply
    Clem @ clementinecuisine
    November 11, 2013 at 4:21 am

    It’s beautiful and it looks so yummy!

    • Reply
      November 11, 2013 at 11:50 am

      Thanks Clem!

  • Reply
    November 11, 2013 at 4:49 am

    I adore variations on the stuffed pumpkin, as an alternative to a turkey meal. But wild rice…and pistachios…what a stunning touch!

    • Reply
      November 11, 2013 at 11:50 am

      Thanks :)

  • Reply
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
    November 11, 2013 at 8:51 am

    Oh man, I want this for dinner tonight! I love how simple it is!

  • Reply
    November 11, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    This is so beautiful! I thought I had my Thanksgiving menu all planned out…until now. I am adding this to it now!

  • Reply
    November 11, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    So very gorgeous! Love the pistachio addition and the simple flavors. I just worked on an acorn squash recipe today. Let’s swap the finished product. ;)

  • Reply
    anna maria
    November 11, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    this looks delicious! This will be my first gluten-free Thanksgiving and the first one we’re on our own – so excited to have an awesome gluten-free stuffing option. Thanks for the always awesome recipes :)

  • Reply
    Mallory @ because i like chocolate
    November 12, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    Wild rice and pistachios, what an awesome combination. And the colours are brilliant too!

  • Reply
    November 15, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    This is gorgeous, and I love the idea of wild rice with feta and pistachios. Eric and I spent our first Thanksgiving in Virginia at home, just the two of us, and it was pretty magical. We made spins on classic foods, like chipotle mashed sweet potatoes instead of sweet potato casserole, which is something that we couldn’t have done with our families. Anyway, I can’t wait to give this recipe a try!

  • Reply
    November 20, 2013 at 6:30 am

    Another delicious recipe! Thanks, guys!

  • Reply
    November 20, 2013 at 8:37 pm

    I made this last weekend and it was awesome. I added dried cranberries and used pecans instead of pistachios in the wild rice. I highly recommend the dried cranberries!

  • Reply
    November 20, 2013 at 9:34 pm

    I made this tonight and it was so good!! I used brown rice instead of wild but it was the flavors that worked so great together. I love it when my husband can rave about a healthy whole food meal too! Thanks!

  • Reply
    November 27, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    Hi, in the directions it doesn’t say whether the kale is mixed into the rice or placed on top of the squash?

    Look forward to trying the dish out this winter.

    Thank you,

    • Reply
      November 27, 2013 at 4:26 pm

      Ana – Good catch! I’ve updated the recipe to be more clear. Hope you enjoy it! Thanks again :)

  • Reply
    November 29, 2013 at 8:01 am

    I had to revise the recipe a bit because my husband and son do not eat dairy or added salt. I used wild red rice and red kale and a mixture of herbs to season. The dish was excellent. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

    • Reply
      December 1, 2013 at 3:47 pm

      Thank you, Ingrid! We’re so glad you enjoyed this dish — thanks for trying it out!

  • Reply
    December 3, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    This looks so yummy!! I plan on making it soon, but wanted to clarify how to bake the squash. It says to place cut side down on sheet….so I read that as skin side up…is that right?

    • Reply
      December 3, 2013 at 5:27 pm

      Yes — this is correct!

  • Reply
    December 9, 2013 at 7:26 am

    I made this dish for my boyfriend and I for the first time yesterday; We couldn’t stop raving about it! Delish!
    Cant wait to eat the leftovers today! Thanks so much!!

  • Reply
    Wendy B.
    December 15, 2013 at 8:20 pm

    This is delectable! I made it just as described with black and mahogany rice. It was lovely and was the best thing I’ve made in weeks. I think I may make it for Christmas. Thanks, y’all!

  • Reply
    lydwine O.
    October 5, 2014 at 8:59 pm

    Is it possible to freeze (and so cook it for future lunches ?)

  • Reply
    R. Courtney
    October 23, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    This looks wonderful!!! I am not a fan of Kale, what about subbing it with Spinach?

    • Reply
      October 23, 2014 at 1:34 pm

      That would work fine — it should only take a minute or two to saute :)

  • Reply
    December 5, 2014 at 4:30 am

    I really want to make this recipe but I have someone at home with a nut allergy! Can you recommend an alternative to the pistachios?

  • Reply
    December 5, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    Made this yesterday and it was fantastic! Way better than the sum of its parts. Didn’t have kale or wild rice so substituted brown rice and added pomegranate seeds. So tasty. Thank you for a great recipe (:

  • Reply
    December 14, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    I want to add my voice to the chorus of praise. A nice alternative to the usual sweet toppings on acorn squash and much more of a main dish meal. I’m thrilled to find healthier, tasty meals that my husband also likes. This passed the test with flying colors.

  • Reply
    July 28, 2016 at 4:32 pm

    So – about how much (measured) kale should I be thinking to add?

    • Reply
      July 31, 2016 at 9:01 pm

      Hi Cindy! The exact cup measurements shouldn’t matter here, as long as you use one bunch. About 4 packed cups should be sufficient.

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