Brighten up winter with this sweet and savory recipe for roasted Acorn Squash with BBQ Beef & Pomegranate Arils. Made with acorn squash, lean ground beef, barbecue sauce, and fresh pomegranate arils, this fast, family-pleasing recipe celebrates the best of winter produce.
I’m a sucker for winter squash. For me, the season usually starts with delicata squash, moves quickly to spaghetti and butternut, and continues through the season with roasted acorn squash. When roasted, winter squash turns tender and sweet, and it’s easy to prepare. Slice in half, scrape out the seeds, rub with oil and salt and pepper, and roast. (Check out this handy how-to guide for slicing acorn squash on the kitchn). After it’s roasted, you can stuff acorn squash with just about anything, including this sweet and savory combo of lean ground beef, bbq sauce, fresh parsley, and pomegranate arils.
Here in New England, winter produce isn’t as plentiful as the spring, summer, and autumn bounties, but there are still plenty of nutrient-rich fruits and veggies to choose from during the cold winter months. For this recipe, I combined the naturally sweet flavor of roasted acorn squash with fresh pomegranate arils, also known as the “jewel of winter.” I love that!
The addition of pomegranate arils is like the icing on the cake, adding a pop of color (they remind me of Christmas tree ornaments), natural sweetness, a little bit of crunch, and good nutrition including fiber, antioxidants, and vitamin C. For ease and convenience, I buy the ready-to-eat pomegranate arils.
- 2 acorn squash, cut in half from stem to tip and seeded
- 3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- Kosher salt
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 1 pound lean ground beef (90% lean or higher)
- ¼ cup roughly chopped fresh parsley, plus more to taste
- 3 tablespoons all-natural barbecue sauce
- ¼ cup fresh pomegranate arils, plus more to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly coat with nonstick cooking spray.
- Brush the insides of the hollowed out squash with 2 teaspoons of the olive oil, and season with a few pinches of salt and pepper. Place, hollowed side down, on the prepared baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake until tender, 35 to 40 minutes.
- While the squash is in the oven, heat the remaining 1 teaspoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet over low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until golden and fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add the meat, raise the heat to medium high, and cook, breaking up the large pieces, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Drain excess fat.
- Stir in the parsley and barbecue sauce, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Remove the cooked squash from the oven. Fill each squash "bowl" evenly with the meat mixture. Top each with 1 tablespoon fresh pomegranate arils, and serve with additional arils and chopped parsley on the side.
This healthy stuffed acorn squash recipe would be perfect for a busy weeknight or delight guests during the holidays. It’s pretty versatile, don’t you think?