Acorn Squash Stuffed with Chard & White Beans Drizzled with Agave Nectar


I have to admit I love this kind of rustic, close to the earth type of food.  My husband will eat it too, as long as it’s accompanied by a large slab of red meat.  I could eat just this and be satisfied, however it does make an impressive side dish.  A large platter of these stuffed squash would be striking on a buffet table.

The original recipe did not call for the drizzling of agave nectar, but it needed something.  I find chard to be slightly bitter and the sweetness of the squash was not enough to overcome its taste.  The agave nectar gives your palate an initial sweetness as it bites through the crunchy-salty breadcrumb-Parmesan mixture.  You then get the chard-onion-kalamata olive flavors and you finish with the sweetness of the squash.  It’s so good.

The shape of acorn squash also makes it the perfect vessel for stuffing with this very Mediterranean mixture.

As far as a wine pairing, I served it with Pinot Gris, which really held up to all the flavors nicely.

Slice the acorn squash in half, scooping out the pulp and seeds.  Cut a small slice off the bottom of each squash half so it rests flat.  Brush the insides with 1 teaspoon of oil; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper.  Place in a 13 x 9 (or similar) microwave-safe-dish.  Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on High until the squash is fork-tender, about 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 1 Tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion; cook, stirring, until starting to brown, 2 to 3 minutes.  Add garlic; cook, stirring, for 1 minute.  Stir in water, tomato paste and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper.  Stir in chard, cover and cook until tender, 3 to 5 minutes.  Stir in white beans and olives; cook until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes more.  Remove from the heat.

Position rack in center of oven; preheat broiler.  Combine breadcrumbs, Parmesan and the remaining 1 Tablespoon oil in a bowl.  Fill each squash half with about 1 cup of the chard mixture.  Place in a baking pan or on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle with the breadcrumb mixture.  Broil in the center of the oven until the breadcrumbs are browned, 1 to 2 minutes.

Remove from the oven and drizzle generously with agave nectar.

The leftovers are good too.

Acorn Squash Stuffed with Chard & White Beans Drizzled with Agave Nectar
Adapted from Eating Well

2 medium acorn squash, halved and seeded
1 teaspoon plus 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, divided
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons water
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
8 cups chopped chard leaves (about 1 large bunch chard)
1 (15 oz) can white beans, rinsed
1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives
1/3 cup coarse breadcrumbs such as Panko
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Slice the acorn squash in half, scooping out the pulp and seeds.  Cut a small slice off the bottom of each squash half so it rests flat.  Brush the insides with 1 teaspoon of oil; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper.  Place in a 13 x 9 (or similar) microwave-safe-dish.  Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on High until the squash is fork-tender, about 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 1 Tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Add onion; cook, stirring, until starting to brown, 2 to 3 minutes.  Add garlic; cook, stirring, for 1 minute.  Stir in water, tomato paste and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper.  Stir in chard, cover and cook until tender, 3 to 5 minutes.  Stir in white beans and olives; cook until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes more.  Remove from the heat.

Position rack in center of oven; preheat broiler.  Combine breadcrumbs, Parmesan and the remaining 1 Tablespoon oil in a bowl.  Fill each squash half with about 1 cup of the chard mixture.  Place in a baking pan or on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle with the breadcrumb mixture.  Broil in the center of the oven until the breadcrumbs are browned, 1 to 2 minutes.

Remove from the oven and drizzle generously with agave nectar.

*Serves 2 Variation: Halve all ingredients (use 3/4 cup beans and 3 Tablespoons each breadcrumbs and Parmesan).

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36 Comments

  1. That sounds so elegant!

    Reply
  2. pam 2

    What a great combination!

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  3. I am going to try it this week but use spinach instead of chard…

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  4. At least your husband will eat this. The only vegetables my husband will eat are corn and potatoes. He has the palate of a 5 year old…

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  5. Lydia 5

    There’s a farm near us that sells all of their squash varieties by the bushel. You buy a bushel basket for $25, and you can fill it with whatever combination of winter squash you’d like, from the 20 or more types they grow. Time to get over there, so I can make this dish.

    Reply
  6. Looks de-lish to me–as a meal! My husband is the same way, has to have some big piece of protein to call it a meal!

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  7. Liz C. 7

    OMG! I love this recipe… especially with the added Agave Nectar. Now the big question is where do I find Agave Nectar? I mean, I live in Texas where there is plenty of Agave. I just need to know where they make it into nectar?!?!

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  8. I want this for my breakfast!

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  9. I’m a rustic lover all the way. Let’s face it, it’s the only way real people can eat really good food OFTEN!

    Not only is this rustic and pretty, it’s NOURISHING, my new word, replacing healthy.

    Reply
  10. Noble Pig 10

    It’s in most grocery stores in the baking aisle. Costco even sells it now.

    Reply
  11. Lisa Sipple 11

    I love the idea of the agave nectar to help with the bitterness, very clever. I love this type of food as well.

    Reply
  12. This is exactly my kind of meal…without the slab of red meat, which my husband would also want/need/require. Love the nectar sweetness.

    Reply
  13. grace 13

    what a terrific filling! agave nectar is a sweetener i’ve only recently discovered but quickly come to love. great touch!

    Reply
  14. Marjie 14

    I’ve never stuffed my acorn squash with anything other than nuts before! This is pretty, and count me as another whose husband requires the slab of meat.

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  15. I don’t have a microwave. Any idea how long I’d cook the squash for in the oven and would I have to make any other changes?

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  16. Pam 16

    I am with you Cathy, I love rustic dishes like this. It not only looks delicious but beautiful too.

    Reply
  17. Bob 17

    That looks gorgeous. I still haven’t tried chard, it’s on the List though.

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  18. Laurie 18

    I usually bake it for 45 minutes to an hour at 350 degrees. Cover the pan with aluminum foil to keep the moisture in.

    Reply
  19. Laurie 19

    This looks great! I love rustic foods and could literally live on them (sans the red meat).

    I have an acorn squash and my garden still has swiss chard growing. I’ll have to check the pantry for beans.

    I’ve never tried agave nectar before, but it sounds like I should.

    Reply
  20. dawn 20

    That is beautiful food, squash is so versatile and good for you. Love agave nectar too!

    Reply
  21. noble pig 21

    Yes, this would work, however I might try 400 degrees to speed up the process.

    Reply
  22. June 22

    Wow it looks both beautiful and delicious. Great idea!

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  23. This just looks so warm and inviting! What a nice fall recipe. I would love the serve this for Thanksgiving.

    Reply
  24. Leslie 24

    yay for vegetarian recipes – yours are always the best! i’m 100% making these, i wish i was eating one right now. i’m getting behind on my noble pig cooking though – i still have to make that broccoli dish. can’t wait!!

    Reply
  25. elra 25

    Look absolutely scrumptious Cathy. Love this type of squash.

    Reply
  26. Barbara 26

    Your pictures are wonderful! Such detail- I can see just about every ingredient. Sounds like you have the flavors balanced perfectly. I’ve never used agave nectar and don’t have any…would maple syrup do as well or would it change the taste too much?

    Reply
  27. Lena in VT 27

    I too love rustic food like this, so icredible and healthy! I also am a fan of agave nectar, it’s so easy to get now!

    Reply
  28. Lisa D 28

    This looks tasty. Guess I now know what to do with those three cute little acorn squashes currently residing on my porch!

    Reply
  29. I made some baked squash a few days ago, but yours looks so much prettier than mine — I’m having squash envy! Must try it out: love the addition of agave.

    Reply
  30. I would be very happy to make a meal out of this yummy squash. Love the combination of ingredients and the bit of sweetness to round out the flavors.

    Reply
  31. Debbie 31

    This looks very good…I could have this for a meal by itself!

    Reply
  32. Mary 32

    I really like this recipe, Cathy. I have never used agave nectar in cooking. Perhaps the time has come.

    Reply
  33. I love the combination of flavors in this dish. It’s savory yet you added a sweetness with the agave nectar. It’s springtime in Australia but I can’t wait to try this dish in the fall!

    Reply
  34. I made this last night and am blogging about my variation. I added lots of hot sauce and used beet greens, but skipped the agave nectar, instead drizzling with balsamic vinegar. So good!! Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  35. Melynda 35

    Thanks for the “serves 2” variation. I am always on the look out for bean recipes.

    Reply
  36. imom 36

    Too bad I don’t like squash! That looks delicious!

    Reply

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