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Not only are the flavors rich and delicious, but the different textures of the couscous filling make this a standout at any dinner table. They make for a beautiful presentation as well.

Middle-Eastern Stuffed Acorn Squash

1          small acorn squash (about 1¾ pounds), halved widthwise
and seeded (cutting along the ridges of the squash ensures
perfectly even halves)

1½       tablespoons olive oil, divided

¼         teaspoon kosher salt, divided

2          pinches freshly ground black pepper, divided

1          small shallot, finely chopped

½         cup Israeli (or pearl) couscous

¼         teaspoon ground cumin

¼         teaspoon ground cinnamon

1          cup chicken broth plus 2 tablespoons, low sodium

¼         cup chopped dried apricots (about 4 to 5 apricots)

2          tablespoons toasted pistachios


1.   Preheat the Compact Toaster Oven Broiler set to Bake at 350°F with the rack in position A for 5 minutes.

2.   Line the baking tray with foil and put the squash, cut side up, on top. Brush the inside of each squash with ½ tablespoon of the olive oil and sprinkle with a pinch each of the salt and pepper. Bake until the flesh of the squash is just fork-tender, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove and reserve.

3.   While squash is baking, make the couscous filling: Put remaining olive oil in a sauté pan set over medium/medium-low heat. Once hot, add the shallot with a pinch each of the salt and pepper. Sauté until softened. Add the couscous, cumin, cinnamon and remaining salt and pepper. Sauté for about 1 minute to toast couscous. After 1 minute, add the broth. Bring to a strong simmer and cook partially covered for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Cook until liquid is almost completely absorbed by the couscous. Remove pan from heat, add apricots and pistachios and mix to combine. Cover and set aside until squash is baked.

4.   When squash is tender, evenly divide the couscous mixture between the two halves. Return to the oven and bake until just golden on top, about 10 to 12 minutes.

5.   Serve immediately.


Servings: 2

Nutritional information per serving

Nutritional information per serving:

Calories 423 (24% from fat) • carb. 74g • pro. 10g • fat 12g • sat. fat 2g • chol. 0mg • sod. 721mg • calc.109mg • fiber 8g

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