This Bulgur Stuffed Acorn Squash was inspired by Lebanese Tabbouleh, which is a classic salad of that region with cooked bulgur wheat, parsley, and mint.
Lebanese dishes are part of Levantine cuisine. The Levantine is a large area of the Eastern Mediterranean, including Lebanon, Cyprus, and Jordon, Isreal, Palestine, and Syria, plus parts of Turkey.
Like many cuisines of the Mediterranean, Lebanese dishes feature whole grains such as bulgur, lots of chickpeas, and also plenty of fresh herbs, and lemons. Nuts and seeds are also prominent. Some of the more famous examples of Lebanese dishes are hummus, tabbouleh, and baba ghanoush.
This bulgur stuffed acorn squash has all of that Mediterranean tradition going on. And then, for a bonus, pomegranate seeds, or arils, which are also a natural addition to a Lebonese inspired recipe like this one.
About Bulgur Wheat
Bulgur is whole grain wheat that has been cracked and is also known as cracked wheat. The cracked wheat grain is partially cooked, so it's a good choice for a quick-cooking grain.
You can use bulgur in place of rice or other grains in most recipes. Because it is a whole grain, it's high in fibre, vitamins and minerals, and plant-based protein.
Besides tabbouleh, and this bulgur stuffed acorn squash, bulgur is a delicious ingredient in soups, stews, or pilafs, like this Broccoli Bulgur Pilaf.
Pomegranates are often called a superfood because they are so nutritious. Loaded with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, the pomegranate is one of the healthiest fruits (although they are actually classified as a berry) out there.
Fun Fact: the word pomegranate means "apple with many seeds". Those many seeds can be a lot of work to extract, but I found a quick video to make it easier. Check it out here: How to Deseed a Pomegranate.
What Type of Squash to Use
I used acorn squash for this recipe, but any similarly sized winter squash will work. Try kabocha or buttercup squash, or even delicata. Butternut, because of its shape, wouldn't be my first choice, but it would work, too.
Bulgur Stuffed Acorn Squash
- 1 acorn squash
- 1 cup whole-grain red bulgur
- 2 cups vegetable stock reduced sodium
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion diced
- 1 garlic clove
- 1 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 can chickpeas 14 oz
- 1 lemon juice and zest
- ¼ cup parsley chopped
- ½ cup pomegranate arils
- ¼ cup walnuts toasted
- Heat oven to 400°
- Cut squash in half and scoop out seeds. Cut a small piece from the bottom of each half so the halves can stand upright when stuffed.
- Put squash halves cut side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until squash is fork-tender, about 45-60 minutes
- During the last 5 minutes of roasting time, spread the walnuts alongside the squash to toast them.
- Put bulgur and vegetable stock in a saucepan with a lid and cook according to package directions, usually around 15 minutes.
- In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic, and cook until onions are soft around 5 minutes.
- Add cumin, coriander, and cinnamon to the onions and garlic, and cook, stirring about 2 minutes.
- Remove from heat and add cooked bulgur, chickpeas, pomegranate arils, parsley, lemon juice and zest, and walnuts. Stir to combine.
- Spoon filling into squash halves and return filled squash to the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
- Serve hot.