Meatless Monday: Roasted Acorn Squash with Baby Kale Saute

Reader Contribution by Jennifer Rose
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At our local farmers market I picked up two unsuspected dinner guests: an acorn squash and some baby kale. I know, I know…doesn’t my author biography say that I very much dislike kale? Well, a lady at the market told me that baby kale has a more pleasant taste and isn’t as “tough and chewy” as the more mature greens can be. “Okay—that’s a good start,” I thought. “I will give it a shot.” It was $3 for a gallon-size bag stuffed full of this leafy green. That seemed like a small price to pay—we will wipe the slate clean about kale…for now.

As far as the other interesting item I picked up at the farmers market—the acorn squash—I have recently developed a taste for butternut squash. I had always considered this taste more decorative than delicious, but as of recent I have changed my tune. Same goes for the acorn…it seems like a really great Thanksgiving cornucopia filler, but it has never struck me as “dinner-worthy.” Until now!

I acquired an acorn squash and a bundle of baby kale at my local farmers market.

Because I am trying to cook with both of these for the first time, I am starting with something nice and easy. Nothing too difficult, mind you…let’s not put the cart before the horse here.

Dip your halved acorn squash cut-side down in a baking dish; fill with a little water.

Roasted Acorn Squash Recipe

• 1 acorn squash, halved, seeds and pulp removed
• 2 tablespoons of butter (1 tablespoon for each half)
• 2 tablespoons of brown sugar (1 tablespoon for each half)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Place the cut-sides down of the halved and seeded acorn squash in a baking dish and add about an inch of water to the dish. Bake for about 1 hour, or until the squash is tender and the skin can be easily poked with a fork.

3. Remove squash from the oven and flip them over onto their backs. Add a dollop of butter to the tops, and sprinkle over with brown sugar. Put them back in the oven and broil just long enough to let the butter and brown sugar caramelize a little bit. 

All done! This is how my acorn squash looked after I removed it from the oven.

Voila! Finished with that. Moving on. Now, let’s go for the gusto here with the baby kale.

This chopped bundle of baby kale is wilted and almost ready to serve.

Baby Kale Sauté Recipe

• 1 to 2 large bunches of baby kale
• 2 garlic cloves, diced
• 1/2 sweet yellow onion, diced
• 1 to 2 tablespoons butter
• Salt and pepper, to taste
• 2 to 3 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
• 1 to 2 tablespoons of pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated
• 2 tablespoons of pine nuts, toasted (optional)

1. Cut the spines off of the baby kale, although you can leave them on if you like. I am sure they are packed with nutrition…personal preference…mine had to go. Next, slice the leaves into “ribbons.” Set aside. 

2. Sauté garlic and onion in butter over medium heat. When finished and ready for company, toss in the baby kale. Cook until kale wilts, about 2 to 4 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste, as well as a healthy squeeze of lemon juice; toss.

3. Remove from heat and toss in pecorino Romano cheese and pine nuts.

I randomly found a small scoop of pine nuts in the pantry. I gave them a quick toast and tossed them in with the kale as well. I mean who could go wrong with toasted pine nuts and a little grated cheese? Surprisingly delicious!

This Meatless Monday meal is cooked and ready to eat!
Photos By Jennifer Rose

So now I am a kale-loving-convert. Give my recipe a try! Or try your own new recipe and tell me about what twist you put on it in the comments below!

Jennifer is a lover of all things yummy! After traveling the states for five years, this Mississippi native planted her southern roots in funky, easy-to-love Chattanooga, Tennessee, where she resides with her husband, Phil, and two dogs. She is an avid cook, baker, gardener and creator of all things wonderful. She loves being in the kitchen, gardening, hiking, biking, traveling, yard work, anything DIY, good beer and great food! Except kale. She doesn’t like kale…until today!

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