You’re going to love this delicious and nutritious Stuffed Delicata Squash recipe! Roasted delicata squash boats are filled with chewy whole grains, hearty greens, toasted walnuts, roasted grapes, and crumbled blue cheese. A sharp and tangy vinaigrette makes it even tastier and balances all the sweet flavours.
If you have been following here for a while, you will know I get very excited when delicata squash start rolling in. Not only are they delicious, they are the easiest squash variety to prepare; they require no peeling and because they are softer than other squash, slicing them open is a breeze.
Other delicata squash recipes in this blog have us cut them into half or round moons. With Canadian Thanksgiving approaching, I thought a stuffed squash would make a great, special occasion, presentation but it’s also a wonderful side dish, or light main, for any day of the week.
- A Seasonal Recipe
- What Is Delicata Squash?
- How To Prepare Delicata Squash
- Ingredients You’ll Need For This Recipe.
- How To Make Stuffed Delicata Squash
- Variations and Ingredient Substitutions
- Serving Suggestions
- Make Ahead And Storing Tips
- Stuffed Delicata Squash
- More Seasonal Recipes To Try
A Seasonal Recipe
This is a fabulous dish for fall because delicata squash and kale are both in season and can be found at just about every market or grocery store.
Here, we roast the delicata squash halves until they caramelize in the oven, emerging golden and deeply toasted at the edges. A filling made with farro, kale, walnuts, and roasted grapes is tossed with a sharp vinaigrette that balances all the sweetness.
I have a weakness for the creamy, salty, piquant flavour of blue cheese so I top the filling with just a bit. You can use any other cheese you’d like such as goat, feta, or even shaved parmesan.
Though I love the combination of roasted grapes and farro for this filling, you can certainly make whatever swaps you wish according to what you like or what you have on hand — brown rice, freekeh, or quinoa would all make great substitutions for the farro. As for the grapes, you can use dried cranberries or dried cherries instead. (More variations are listed down below.)
What Is Delicata Squash?
Delicata squash, also known as sweet potato squash, is a gourd that is harvested in early fall. Recognizable by its green or orange pinstripes and oblong shape, the interior golden flesh is wonderfully sweet and creamy with a taste and texture similar to butternut squash and/or sweet potatoes.
Quite frankly, its natural sweetness requires very little embellishment to taste delicious. True to its name, it has a delicate, edible skin which means no peeling required! This not only makes it incredibly easy to prepare, but when roasted, the skin becomes crunchy, crispy and absurdly addictive.
How To Prepare Delicata Squash
Delicata squash is very versatile and can be cooked in many different ways. Roasting the squash with a simple oil and maple syrup (or honey) mixture, is my favourite method to cook it. This beautifully caramelizes the squash and enhances the sweetness.
For a basic and easy preparation, it is best to halve the squash lengthwise. Then with a melon scooper, or a spoon, scoop out the seeds and stringy flesh. From here, depending on the recipe, you can roast the halves, cut the squash halves into thin half moons, or cube it. A little fussier, but prettier, presentation, is to cut the squash into rings. To do this, you can refer to this post.
Delicata squash can also be diced and sautéed, stuffed and baked, steamed for soup, and, in a pinch, even microwaved.
For this recipe, we will be halving the squash lengthwise (no need to trim the ends) in order to use them as stuffing vessels.
Ingredients You’ll Need For This Recipe.
- Delicata squash – If making this dish as a main, seek out thicker ones similar in size in order to have room to stuff. If serving as a side dish, look for small ones. If you can only find large ones, you can always cut them in half once cooked and filled.
- Olive oil
- Ground nutmeg – Optional, but lends a nice seasonal flavour to the dish.
- Farro – Make sure you buy pearled farro which cooks faster. You can also make the filling using brown rice, quinoa, freekeh, barley or any grain of choice.
- Bay leaves – I find bay leaves give grains like farro a nice aroma so I like to add a few to the pot. Feel free to omit, if you wish.
- Broth – I like to cook the farro with some broth as well as water for extra flavour. You can use chicken broth or vegetable, or use all water if that makes it easier for you.
- Red seedless grapes – Farro and grapes complement each other quite nicely. You can leave the grapes un-roasted but roasted grapes, if you haven’t tried them, are a revelation. Their flavour intensifies, the skin gets softer and the insides are just bursting with sweet juice. Seek out small grapes so you don’t have to cut them in half. If you wish, you can use dried cranberries or dried cherries instead.
- Kale – I prefer to use lacinto kale which is softer than curly kale but sometimes it is hard to find. If using curly kale, I recommend massaging it prior to mixing it with the farro so it softens and wilts.
- Fresh Sage – Optional, but if you have some fresh sage on hand, tuck a few leaves under each squash half before roasting for some herbal aroma. I usually discard the sage at the end but you could chop it into the filling, if you wish.
- Toasted walnuts – Always nice to have some crunch for contrast. I really like walnuts for this filling but you can use any nuts you wish. If allergies are a concern, feel free to omit them or use pepita seeds instead.
- Salt and pepper
- Blue cheese – Completely optional, but delicious. You could also use goat cheese, feta or shaved parmesan.
For the vinaigrette:
The vinaigrette for the filling uses more vinegar than what you may be used to. It is how I typically like my dressings but for this recipe in particular it is essential to have a sharp vinaigrette to ensure the filling will not taste at all sweet.
- Apple cider vinegar – You could also use red wine vinegar but avoid anything too sweet.
- Extra virgin olive oil – Any good olive oil will work here.
- Dijon mustard – Helps emulsify the vinaigrette and lends great sharp flavour.
- Garlic – The squash and earthy farro can be a bit dull in flavour. Grated fresh garlic is necessary for some flavour boost.
- Salt and pepper
How To Make Stuffed Delicata Squash
Stuffed delicate squash may seem fussy but in reality it’s a very easy and quick dish to prepare. Start by roasting the hallowed-out squash halves. While they roast, you cook the farro, slide the grapes into the oven to roast for about 10 minutes, chop the kale, and whip up the dressing. Done! Here is the step-by-step:
- Prepare and cut the squash. Preheat oven to 425ºF. Wash the delicata squash really well (remember you are eating the skin). Slice each squash in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds and pulp from the squash; drizzle and rub with oil then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Roast the squash and grapes. Place squash on a large sheet pan, cut side down, and tuck a few sage leaves beneath each squash (if using). Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a fork can be inserted into skin tenderly. 10 minutes before squash is ready, place grapes on a small sheet pan and roast for 8-10 minutes, or until just starting to soften.
- Prepare the filling. Place 1 cup of farro in a medium saucepan and add 3 cups of water or vegetable broth and 1 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a gentle boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until most of the liquid is absorbed and farro is tender, about 30 minutes. Drain any excess liquid, if necessary. While the farro is cooking, prepare the vinaigrette and set aside. Chop the kale into small pieces and place in a large bowl. If using curly kale, drizzle with a little olive and a pinch of salt and massage for 1 minute. As soon as farro is ready, dump it into the bowl so the residual heat wilts the kale. Add the walnuts and roasted grapes; pour in the vinaigrette and toss to combine. Taste and add a bit more salt and pepper, if necessary.
Fill the delicata squash. Fill the squash halves with farro mixture and top with with cheese, if using.
Where do you buy delicata squash?
You can find this squash pretty much everywhere right now (the farmer’s markets have tons) though often it is labeled sweet potato squash. However, unlike other squash varieties that are available throughout the year, delicata squash is only available until late fall.
How do you pick a good delicata squash?
When buying delicata squashes, pick the ones with smooth unblemished skin. They should also feel firm and heavy. Ripe delicata squash is yellow or light orange in colour with green or light orange stripes along the ribs. If the stripes and the rest of the squash are a very dark orange colour, it may be too ripe so stick with the light yellow. Avoid the squashes that are light green which means they will be hard and unripe.
Can you eat the skin of delicata squash?
Yes! Delicata squash has a very thin skin that is pleasantly soft and chewy when cooked.
How long does delicata squash last on the counter?
Depending on how fresh it is when you bought it, delicata squash will last up to 4 weeks on your counter.
What to do with leftover filling?
Depending on how large your squash is, you may or may not have leftover filling. If you have any leftover filling, use it as a side to any roasted meat or vegetables, or have it for lunch the next day — delicious!
Variations and Ingredient Substitutions
This is a very flexible dish. The stuffing can easily be made gluten-free and dairy-free if needed.
- Try a different squash. The farro filling is excellent with any other squash such as acorn or butternut. However, all other squash will take longer to roast so make sure you adjust the cooking time.
- Add chopped raw apples instead of roasted grapes. Chopped apples or even pears would be a great substitute for the grapes.
- Use un-roasted grapes. If you prefer not to roast the grapes, cut them in half and add them to the filling as is — still delicious!
- Try a different grain – Any leftover rice or cooked grains will work; wild rice (GF), couscous, barley, quinoa (GF), etc.
- Use a different green. Try spinach or other sturdy greens in place of the kale.
This is a beautiful dish to bring to the holiday table and serve alongside turkey or any roast. If the squash halves are too large to serve as a side, feel free to cut them in half once filled.
I would like to say that the stuffed delicata squash is filling enough on its own to be a main meal but I find it needs something alongside to be a bit more satisfying. For a vegetarian meal I like to have a simple soup alongside or a hearty salad.
For a non-vegetarian meal, chicken sausage or any roasted meat would be great with the stuffed squash.
Make Ahead And Storing Tips
This is a great dish to make ahead. You can prep all the components of this dish a day or two in advance and assemble them right before serving. Here’s what you do:
- Roast the delicate squash and allow to cool completely. Store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
- Prepare the farro filling; store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Make the vinaigrette and store covered in the fridge for up to 1 week.
- Before assembling, warm the squash in a 400ºF oven for 15 minutes. Heat the farro filling in a skillet over medium heat until warmed through. Drizzle the filling with dressing, stuff the squash, top with cheese and serve immediately.
If you give this Stuffed Delicata Squash recipe a try, please feel free to leave a comment and/or a star rating below. We appreciate and welcome all your feedback. Thank you!
Stuffed Delicata Squash
For The Squash
- 2 delicata squash preferably thick/largish ones
- Olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- a few sprigs of fresh sage leaves (optional)
For The Filling
- 2 cups red seedless grapes the smaller the better
- 1 cup farro
- 3 cups water, vegetable broth or a mix
- Kosher salt
- 2 bay leaves (optional)
- 4 kale leaves, ribs removed and chopped into small, bite-sized pieces
- ½ cup walnuts, preferably toasted
- 1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese or other cheese of your choice such as goat cheese, feta, or shaved parmesan
For the dressing
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 garlic clove grated or finely minced
- pinch of kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 425ºF and line a large sheet pan with parchment paper.
- Scrub the skin of the delicata squash under running water really well (remember you are eating the skin). Slice each squash in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, remove the seeds and pulp from the squash; drizzle each squash cavity with a little olive oil and rub all over to coat. Sprinkle the inside with nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. (I use about 1 teaspoon of salt.)
- Place squash on prepared pan, cut side down, and tuck a few sage leaves beneath each squash (if using). Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until a fork can be inserted into skin tenderly. 10 minutes before squash is ready, place grapes on a small sheet pan, drizzle with a little olive oil and roast for 8-10 minutes, or until just starting to soften.
- While the squash cooks, prepare the filling. Place 1 cup of farro in a medium saucepan and add 3 cups of water or vegetable broth, 1 teaspoon of salt and the bay leaves (if using). Bring to a gentle boil; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, until most of the liquid is absorbed and farro is tender, about 30 minutes. Drain any excess liquid, if necessary, and discard bay leaves.
- While the farro is cooking, whisk all the dressing ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
- Place chopped kale in a large bowl; if using curly kale, drizzle with a little olive and a pinch of salt and massage for 1 minute.
- As soon as farro is ready, dump it into the bowl with kale so the residual heat slightly wilts the kale. Add the walnuts and roasted grapes; pour in the dressing and toss to combine. Taste the filling and add a bit more salt and pepper, if needed
- Fill the roasted squash halves with farro mixture and top with with blue cheese or other cheese of your choice.