Baked Acorn Squash Stuffed wIth​ Rainbow Chard, Pecans, and Herbed Barley

Pecans: Recipes & History​ of an American Nut, Photography by Robert Holmes

Baked Acorn Squash Stuffed with Rainbow Chard, Pecans, and Herbed Barley, Pecans: Recipes & History of an American Nut, Photography by Robert Holmes.

A delicious superfood, the pecan is quintessentially American but also an international favourite, prized for its buttery flavour and abundant fibre, protein, and vitamins. Pecans give the underrated nut its due with sixty recipes inspired by global flavours and regional traditions, plus sidebars from chefs and writers such as Vivian Howard, Virginia Willis, Gerard Craft, Nathalie Dupree, Sandra Gutierrez, Lois Ellen Frank, Wendell Brock, and Janet Fletcher.   

Dishes run the gamut from breakfasts and baked goods to sauces and entrées, showcasing the pecan’s delicious versatility in original recipes, including Pecan, Pineapple, and Lemon Sunrise Smoothies; Fried Pecan-Coated Oysters with Old Bay Remoulade; Penne with Turnips and Turnip Green-Pecan Pesto; Stir-Fried Pecan Kung Pao Chicken; and Mexican Dark Chocolate Pecan Shortbread Tart.

Pecans: Recipes & History​ of an American Nut, Photography by Robert Holmes.


Pecans: Recipes & History of an American Nut is available at and






Baked Acorn Squash Stuffed with Rainbow Chard, Pecans, and Herbed Barley

Serves 6

Acorn squash, yet another food brought to the newcomers’ pantry by Native Americans, adorns many fall tables, either decoratively or as a meal! These generously overstuffed winter squashes make an ideal vegetarian main course. Topped with browned butter, pecans, and panko, they showcase many of the colours and flavours of autumn.

3 acorn squashes
1/2 cup (75 g pearl barley
11/½ cups (375 ml) spiced apple cider
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 2 tablespoons
unsalted butter, melted
1/2 sweet onion, chopped
10 rainbow chard stalks, stems and leaves chopped
12 tablespoons pure maple syrup

1 teaspoon cider vinegar
3/4 cup (75 g) pecan halves, toasted and chopped
3 tablespoons pomegranate seeds
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup (30 g) pecans, toasted and chopped
1/4 cup (10 g) panko bread crumbs


Preheat the oven to 400˚F (200˚C). Using a fork, prick each squash about ten times and place on a sheet pan. Bake for about 1 hour, until tender, when pierced with a small, sharp knife and squash skin is slightly wrinkled. Remove from the oven and let the squashes cool until they can be handled.

While the squashes bake and cool slightly, cook the barley according to the package directions, then drain and set aside.

In a small saucepan, bring the apple cider to a boil and boil for 10minutes, until reduced by about one-third and slightly syrupy. Set aside.

Cut each squash in half lengthwise and, using a spoon, scoop out and discard the seeds. Arrange the halves, hollow side up, on the work surface. If any of the squash halves won’t sit firmly upright, cut a thin slice off the rounded bottom.

In a large frying pan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes, until tender. Add the chard, maple syrup, and vinegar and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the cooked barley, 1⁄2 cup(50 g) of the pecans, the pomegranate seeds, parsley, oregano, thyme, and salt and mix well.

Spoon the stuffing into the squash halves, dividing it evenly. Arrange the squash halves on a clean sheet pan and drizzle the reduced cider over the stuffing. In a small bowl, stir together the 2 tablespoons melted butter, panko, and the remaining 1⁄4 cup (25 g) pecans, then divide the mixture evenly among the squash halves, spooning it over the stuffing.

Bake the squash for about 15 minutes, until topping is golden brown. Serve immediately.


Recipe reprinted with permission from Rizzoli New York.

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