In this stuffed squash recipe, a spicy red lentil curry stew fills acorn squash. If you find them at your market use tasty jarred piquillo peppers in this.

Bruce Aidells
Source: EatingWell Magazine, September/October 2012


Recipe Summary

1 hr 30 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

  • To prepare squash: Halve squash through the stem end; scoop out seeds. Place cut-side up on a rimmed baking sheet. If necessary, cut a small slice off the bottom of each half so it rests flat. Combine melted butter, honey, garam masala and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl; brush all over the cut sides of the squash.

  • Bake the squash for 10 minutes. Brush again to redistribute the butter. Continue to bake until the squash is tender, 30 to 35 minutes more. To test if it's done, sample a little bit of the inside--it should be tender. Turn off the oven, tent the squash with foil and leave in the oven to keep warm.

  • To prepare stuffing: Bring water, lentils and 1/8 teaspoon salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Adjust heat so the water is lightly boiling and cook until the lentils are not hard, but still maintain their shape, about 7 minutes. Drain, saving any lentil-cooking liquid; set lentils and liquid aside.

  • Heat a medium skillet over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons butter and cumin seeds and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in leeks, carrots, shallots, ginger and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the carrots begin to soften, about 10 minutes. Stir in jalapenos, coriander and turmeric and cook, stirring, 1 minute more. Stir in tomatoes and 1 cup of the reserved cooking liquid (if there isn't enough, make up the difference with water). Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, then cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the reserved lentils and simmer until they are soft and tender but not falling apart, 3 to 5 minutes. If the mixture seems dry, add more cooking liquid (or water). Stir in roasted peppers. Season with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Divide the lentil stuffing among the squash (a generous 1 cup per half). Serve garnished with a dollop of yogurt.


Garam masala, a blend of spices used in Indian cooking, usually includes cardamom, black pepper, cloves, nutmeg, fennel, cumin and coriander. It is available in the spice section of most supermarkets.

Look for red lentils in well-stocked supermarkets or natural-foods stores.

Nutrition Facts

413 calories; protein 18g; carbohydrates 64.7g; dietary fiber 12.7g; sugars 13.7g; fat 11.6g; saturated fat 6.2g; cholesterol 25.4mg; vitamin a iu 5631.4IU; vitamin c 55.2mg; folate 78.3mcg; calcium 155.6mg; iron 6.3mg; magnesium 89.2mg; potassium 1428mg; sodium 673.5mg; thiamin 0.4mg; added sugar 3g.

Reviews (7)

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7 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 4
  • 4 star values: 3
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 4 stars
I wish i shared the enthusiasm but found this kind of bland even tbough i used hot garam masala and two jalapenos. My son kind of gagged it down but a houseguest loved. I guess it just wasn't my cup of tea. I used summer squash and zucchini i find acorn squash too sweet. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Spicy and full of warm flavor This wouldn't normally be a weeknight meal for me but I did a lot of the prep over the weekend (roasted the squash chopped the leeks shallot and carrot). With the prep done the recipe came together quickly. The house smells FABULOUS and the balance of heat warm spices and sweet keeps my taste buds happy. Pros: delicious easy won't miss the meat Cons: takes a bit of time Read More
Rating: 4 stars
A new favorite This recipe smells so good while it's cooking. My husband is not a squash fan but he actually liked this. My daughter who is vegetarian took all my leftovers to work! She loved the lentil stuffing but found the squash a bit too much for her taste so I am making this dish for her for Thanksgiving but using only 1 squash. I'm going to roast it as in the recipe but then dice it up and mix it with the stuffing as a casserole. Personally I thought the squash was wonderful on its own. I think I'll skip the turkey myself! This one is a keeper. Pros: nutritious flavorful uses some of my spices I don't often get to use Cons: somewhat time-consuming Read More
Rating: 5 stars
So incredibly delicious This is the only recipe I have every given a rating of awesome for. It truly was. The blend of spices and lentils in the squash was impeccable and deliciously healthy for you. I used butternut squash as I couldn't find acorn but that didn't seem to matter. I highly recommend this dish just as it is. Pros: Warming and easy Cons: none! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Awesome new way to cook a fall & winter staple For starters a bit of honey (I used agave nectar) butter and garam masala is a great way to just simply cook an acorn squash. That alone was enough to make my hubby walk in and say WOW it smells great in here! The garam masala added a new depth to this fall and winter staple. Add to that a hearty flavorful and incredibly healthy stew and a dollop of Greek yogurt (don't skip this as a previous reviewer said it makes for a sum that's more than the parts) and you've got yourself a real winner. This honestly could be served as a vegan main dish for Thanksgiving or as a pretty meal for guests -- I doubt even voracious carnivores would miss the meat with this dish. Now I am inspired to try different takes on this recipe -- using different lentils different squash (so cute in a pumpkin) maybe putting this stew atop portobello mushroom caps... my imagination is running wild! Pros: Flavorful house smells great unusual good for company pretty on the plate and delicious! Cons: A little time-consuming Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Staggeringly good given the presence of lentils Disclaimer: I have always been underwhelmed by lentils and that which is comprised of them. And to be frank the lentil component alone of this recipe is rather typical of my past experience. But something magical happens when lentil meets buttery roasted squash and yogurt. The whole is much greater than the sum of its parts. The squash provides some substance that counteracts the mealy thinness of typical lentil texture. Should you serve this to picky eaters? Certainly not. But should you serve it to friends and fam who are on the fence about lentils and/or squash? Indubitably. Pros: Great way to use up acorn squash you bought on impulse; filling; full of friendly nutrients Cons: Lots of steps - but easy to make ahead in phases Read More
Rating: 5 stars
This was so delicious! A friend brought it over for dinner and I can't wait to make it on my own. Perfect winter dinner. Read More