Cooking and gardening are just some of my hobbies; my passion is sharing my produce and knowledge with others.
Many people have a favorite flavor of fall—that one thing you must have for it to officially feel like fall. If you're anything like me, you have a problem pinpointing just one thing. My favorite aspect about fall is the fresh produce available this time of year: the leafy greens, fresh apples, and winter squash (pumpkins included). This recipe is a combination of all my fall favorites.
What's great about this recipe is that you can customize it to your liking. I like to use a mix of greens, but if you only like kale then that works, too. If you like sweeter winter squash, you can use butternut squash or bonbon squash instead of acorn squash. If you don't like winter squash much at all, you can also use sweet potatoes, instead. If you like it all, you can use a mixture of different kinds of squash. This recipe is also a great way to use leftover squash from a previous meal.
In terms of the apples, you can choose different varieties to mix things up. I prefer to use McIntosh or Jonathan apples, but if you like apples that are sweeter or more sour, go for it.
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- 2-3 bundles cooking greens (Swiss chard, kale, etc.)
- 1-2 acorn squash
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1 apple, diced
- 1/4 cup pecan, halves or pieces
- 1/4 cup maple apple cider vinaigrette
- Olive oil, as needed
- Ground mustard, to taste
- Crushed red pepper, to taste
- White or black pepper, to taste
- Salt, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Slice the acorn squash in 1-inch slices. Remove the pulp, seeds, and skin. Place acorn squash on baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, and season with ground mustard, crushed red pepper, black or white pepper, and salt. Roast for 30 minutes, turning once after 15-20 minutes. Let squash cool a little; then cut into 1-inch cubes.
- While acorn squash is cooking, prep your cooking greens. Rinse the leaves, remove the stems, tear into pieces, then rinse again. To remove the stems from the greens, fold the leaf in half so the stem acts as a backbone. Then cut or pinch the leaf away from the stem.
- While you are cutting your roasted acorn squash, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, and add cooking oil (i.e., olive oil). Add dried cranberries then start adding your greens, as much as can fit in the skillet at one time. Continue to add the leaves as you have room. Cook and toss the greens continuously until the greens start to wilt down. This should only take a few minutes. You should see the leaves go from a dull green to a bright green. Add the squash and cook for 1-2 more minutes.
- Remove from heat. Fold in the apples and pecans. Drizzle the vinaigrette over the greens and give it a quick toss. Serve and enjoy!
1. I used a store-bought vinaigrette, but there are easy maple apple cider vinaigrette recipes online.
2. You can substitute your favorite winter squash or sweet potatoes for the acorn squash.
3. You can roast the acorn squash in slices, half-slices, or 1-inch cubes. But it may vary cooking time a little.
4. The acorn squash can be roasted ahead of time. Once the skillet and oil are hot, cook for about 3 minutes before adding the cranberries, cook another 2 minutes before adding the greens.