Couscous Pilaf Stuffed Buttercup Squash

1 buttercup squash

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup chopped leek or onion

2 celery stalks, chopped thinly

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 bell pepper, color of choice

1/2 cup raisins, dark or golden

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 cup white wine

1 cup Israeli couscous, (multi colored is great!)

1 1/4 cups water

  1. Preheat oven to 375.

  2. Cut off top of buttercup squash, about 5-6” in diameter. Seed the squash. You can save the seeds and roast and salt them for a snack or vegetable topping.

  3. Prick with a fork in several places. Place the squash cut side down and its top on a parchment lined baking dish. Roast until tender when poked with a fork, about 45 minutes, depending on the size of the squash. Remove from oven and cool.

  4. Sauté onion or leek for about 5 minutes. Stir in celery, garlic, bell pepper and sauté for 4-5 minutes.  Add raisins, cranberries and honey. Stir to combine. Add wine and bring to a boil. Immediately turn down to a simmer.  Add couscous and water. Simmer covered for  or until couscous is soft.  If adding cheese, add here. Stir until mixed. May sprinkle some extra on top. Cool.

  5. Spoon in the couscous pilaf until well rounded. Add top. Serve immediately, scooping out a bit of the squash with each serving of the pilaf. May refrigerate for a day or two until ready to serve. Reheat if necessary.

Expand the Table

  1. Keep it vegan
    Add other veggies of choice: peas, chopped zucchini or yellow squash, grape tomatoes halved, spinach, fresh or frozen

  2. Make it crunchy
    Add sliced almonds or chopped pecans

  3. Make it cheesy
    Add 1 cup shredded cheddar or Gruyere

  4. Vary the grains
    Substitute brown rice, farrow, barley, quinoa for the couscous, varying the cooking time according to the grain.

  5. Where’s the beef?
    Add 1 pound ground beef, turkey or veal and add and sauté after the onion and garlic.

  6. Make it diabetic friendly
    Use 1/2 tablespoon stevia instead of honey

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