Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Lentil and Red Walnut Stuffed Acorn Squash

Fall is my favorite time of year. And as the blessing of summer ends, Autumn provides a retreat into the warmth of our homes and hearts.

And Autumn calls for comfort food - rich and wholesome.

Since our move, we've realized and been astonished about how amazing our neighbors are. Despite our difficulties with moving and the construction of the house, I've been blessed by the warmth of those surrounding us. I've mentioned my neighbor Pattie's salsa in a previous post. We recently met a new family down the block and one night I came home to find we were blessed with a basket of beautiful veggies from their garden - perfectly ripe pear tomatoes (which Witty Husband enjoyed), a few cucumbers, and two lovely acorn squash.

Witty Husbands words: "Wow. We have really nice neighbors."

Maybe not the most profound statement but well put, Witty Husband. Well put.

 And so I just had to blog a recipe with these delicious squash awaiting me in their wicker basket.

These squashes are stuffed with an herby savory mix of lentils and red walnuts. A little bit of applesauce adds sweetness and cuts down the need for extra oil. This Autumn-inspired dish is very filling and rich in nutrients!

Red walnuts and lentils are soaked for improved taste, easier digestion and better cooking. The red walnuts (pictured below) look dusty before soaking (soaking next to the lentils in middle picture) and have a silkier sheen afterwards (also pictured below).

Also I just wanted to thank my Mom for the wonderful treats she brought back from San Fran, including these beautiful red walnuts. I've played with them before in this Hibiscus and Red Walnut Lettuce Wraps (one of those deliciously different recipes).

Leeks are supposedly out of season but these were fresh from Granny's garden as is the sage.

Lentil and Red Walnut Stuffed Acorn Squash
1 cup lentils, small green
1 cup red walnuts (regular walnuts will work fine)
Handfuls of Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme (preferably fresh but 2 tsp dried will work as well)
Leeks (few small) or half an onion
2 garlic cloves
2 acorn squash, halved
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (instead of a ton of olive oil + adds little sweetness)
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional - adds a nice depth to the dish)
2 TB balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup capers

1. Soak lentils and red walnuts 8 hours or overnight. Rinse and drain well.
2. Preheat oven to 450. Bake squash halves for 25 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, boil 4 cups of water on stovetop. Add rinsed lentils. Boil for 3 minutes then set aside.
4. Chop herbs, garlic, walnuts, and leek (or onion). Add this and drained lentils to a mixing bowl. Mix in a glug of olive oil, applesauce and vinegar.
5. Spoon into acorn squash, cover loosely with foil and bake 35-40 minutes.

Let cool and ENJOY!

I also love Fall because it's a great excuse to cuddle up in sweaters with a hot cup of tea and read a good book - I'm always looking for excuses to dive into a new book. Recently I read Haven by A.R. Ivanovich which was a very imaginative story and unique; I look forward to reading the sequels. However I have a whole different book on my current wish list Million Little Ways, A: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live by Emily P. Freeman whose blog home is this lovely little place.

Another Autumn recipe from last year:

Autumn Inspired Quinoa Waldorf Salad with Butternut Squash and Pecans
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