I do most of my normal grocery shopping at a regional chain grocery store here in Oklahoma called Crest Foods. However, I do find time to swing by some more, well, eclectic stores every now and then.
One of those stores is Trader Joe’s. You can’t do all of your grocery shopping there, no, but it is the best place to get a handful of things. My normal staples are their roasted plantain chips, Sriracha hummus, mandarin orange chicken (a guilty pleasure), and my favorite: olive oil.
Trader Joe’s 100% Kalamata olive oil is some of the greatest grocery-bought oils on the planet. And at only $8.99/liter, it’s a steal. It’s smooth, doesn’t have that winey-vinegary taste like some cheap oils have, and it has this rustic aftertaste that is just delectable. It’s a favorite of mine and definitely worth going out of my way to buy.
Another current obsession of mine is za’atar seasoning. I found this gigantic container of the Lebanese-style blend at the Asian supermarket (Super Cao) a while back, and used it when making these falafel bowls. I’ve been frantically searching for another reason to use this lemony herb blend—-and I definitely found it in this recipe.
Since acorn squash is a relatively versatile vessel to season, I decided to pour on some za’atar before roasting these bad boys. It worked so well with the drizzle of my fave TJ’s olive oil. Oh, and pro-tip: don’t cut the acorn squash in half vertically, or it’s going to roll around. Instead, cut acorn squash like this. Cutting it in half horizontally will prevent it from rolling around when you stuff and serve it!
I used sweet apple chicken sausages for the stuffing, but you could essentially use any assortment of chicken sausages: regular, sun-dried tomato, feta & herb…the list goes on. I like the blend of sweetness from the sausage and the acorn squash, so I used the apple version. Feta cheese will give you that saltiness you need in a meal, so it’s okay for a little sweetness to shine through.
Couscous Stuffed Acorn Squash
This Mediterranean-inspired dish combines couscous, feta cheese, and chicken sausage with roasted acorn squash.
- 2 acorn squash, ends trimmed, halved and seeded
- 2 TBS. olive oil
- 1 TBS. za’atar seasoning
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 pkg (4 sausage links) sweet apple chicken sausage, sliced
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1 cup couscous
- crumbled feta cheese, for topping
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large baking dish, place acorn squash halves in a single layer. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of oil over squash, and then sprinkle za’atar seasoning on top. Roast for 45 minutes to an hour, or until flesh easily flakes away with a fork.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat remaining tablespoon of oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add sausage slices and continue to cook until browned, about 4-5 minutes.
- Add chicken broth; bring to a boil. Stir in couscous. Remove from heat; let stand, covered, for 5 minutes or until broth is absorbed.
- Spoon couscous and sausage mixture over hollowed out, roasted acorn squash. Sprinkle feta cheese over the top.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place acorn squash halves in a baking dish and drizzle with one tablespoon of olive oil. Sprinkle za’atar over the top. Roast for 45 minutes to an hour or until squash flesh flakes easily with a fork.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Add onion and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes.
Add chicken sausage slices and continue to cook until browned, about 4-5 minutes.
Add chicken broth and ring to a boil. Stir in couscous. Remove from heat, let stand, covered, for 5 minutes or until broth is absorbed.
Spoon couscous mixture over acorn squash and sprinkle with feta cheese.