I grew up watching my mom roast acorn squash halves with a bit of butter and brown sugar. I’d watch with fascination that something so simple could be so delicious. Of course, I didn’t get it then (I was in a very big anti-vegetable phase). However, fast forward to present day, and I love simple roasted squash. This harissa acorn squash steps it up a notch but the premise is the same. Squash, butter, and flavoring. You could simply eat the squash as is but I prefer the grains and yogurt sauce- it balances everything to complete the meal.
One quick note- don’t skip the onions. I love roasting alliums, chopping, and adding them to grains. It’s an easy way to add a big flavor to the grains. You could also do garlic or shallots; depending on what you might already have on hand.
A perfect vegetarian main or side, these roasted squash rely on pre-made harissa paste and an easy yogurt sauce. Also, don’t skip the onions- they make the bulgur!
1 acorn squash
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons harissa paste (see note)
Salt, as needed
½ medium yellow onion
½ cup uncooked bulgur
½ cup whole milk yogurt
⅓ cup minced fresh parsley and cilantro
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Salt, to taste
- Preheat oven to 425˚F. Whip the butter with the harissa paste and a pinch of salt (as needed). Quarter the acorn squash, remove the seeds, and rub the exposed squash with the harissa butter. Place in a roasting pan. Cut the onion into 1” pieces and place in the roasting pan as well. Bake the squash until tender; 40 minutes or so (depending on the size). Squash should be easily pierced when done.
- While the squash is roasting, combine the bulgur with 1 cup of water and a pinch of salt in a pot with lid. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 8 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest for 10 minutes.
- To prepare the yogurt, combine the yogurt with the herbs, lemon juice, and salt. Allow to rest while the squash is roasting.
- Once the squash is done, remove the onions and chop. Stir into the bulgur. Serve the squash with a few spoonfuls of the bulgur and a healthy drizzle of the yogurt sauce. Finish with extra herbs if desired.
Tips + Tricks: I like to use homemade harissa paste but you can usually find pre-made paste at the store or in a pinch, use a harissa spice blend. Also, know the heat. Some harissa paste is spicy and you might only need to use 1 tablespoon. Taste and adjust as needed.
- Calories: 222
- Sugar: 2.7
- Sodium: 463
- Fat: 12.1
- Saturated Fat: 6.7
- Carbohydrates: 21.4
- Fiber: 3.4
- Protein: 4.1
- Cholesterol: 30
Harissa Acorn Squash
You could, in theory, change most of the items and still end up with a delicious meal. Roasted butternut squash with sorghum and vegan yogurt. Or cube sweet potatoes, toss with the harissa butter and add it to your morning eggs. The sweetness of the squash with the spicy harissa is really the winning combination.
Squash: Any type of winter squash would work. You could also melt the butter and mix with the harissa then toss with cubed squash or sweet potatoes- a great grain bowl, omelette, or salad addition.
Grains: Swap the bulgur for your favorite grain. I like the warmth the bulgur provides but also like this recipe with sorghum or millet.
Vegan: Use coconut oil in place of the butter and use your favorite non-dairy yogurt.