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White Bean and Chard Stuffed Acorn Squash


2 medium acorn squash, halved and seeded
1 teaspoon plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
½ teaspoon salt, divided
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
½ pound lean hot Italian sausage (optional)
½ cup red onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons water
8 cups chopped chard leaves (about 1 large bunch chard)
2 cups cooked white beans
¼ cup capers
⅓ cup coarse dry whole-wheat breadcrumbs
⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut a small slice off the bottom of each squash half so it rests flat. Brush the insides with 1 teaspoon oil; sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Place in a rimmed baking sheet and cook until fork tender, about 40-45 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, cook sausage until thoroughly cooked in a large skillet over medium high. Turn down heat to medium and add onion; cook, stirring for 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic and thyme; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in water, tomato paste and the remaining ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Stir in chard, cover and cook until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in white beans and capers; cook until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes more. Remove from the heat.
  3. After the squash is done remove from heat, set aside and preheat broiler.
  4. Combine breadcrumbs, Parmesan and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a bowl. Fill each squash half with about 1 cup of the white bean mixture. Sprinkle with the breadcrumb mixture. Broil in the center of the oven until the breadcrumbs are browned, 1 to 2 minutes.