Acorn Squash with Candied Pecans, Cranberries, and Israeli Couscous


If this isn’t the quintessential autumn dish, I don’t know what is. Not only are the ingredients and colors the epitome of fall, the aroma from this dish in your home is pure heaven. Comfort food at its finest, but also giving you the nourishment your body craves. Acorn squash is loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. It’s probably best known for its high levels of vitamin A and C, which will keep your skin glowing and boost your immune system.


Like many dishes I make and love, this one is versatile. It can be the star of the show, or simply a side dish. It can also be served hot or cold. So if you’re like me and find it difficult to cook and entertain at the same time, you can prepare this beforehand and serve at room temperature.


  • 1 acorn squash
  • 2 cups Israeli pearl couscous
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp curry
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • salt to taste
  • 1 cup pecans
  • 3 Tbsp butter (I used dairy free Earth Balance)
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar




  1. Cut open your acorn like you would when carving a pumpkin. (See picture above.) Remove the seeds and save for roasting, or discard. Using a melon scooper, scoop out the inside to create balls. (If you do not have a melon scooper simply chop up the acorn and cut off the skin.)
  2. Bring 2 1/4 cups of water to a boil; add Israeli pearl couscous, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Once boiling, cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Afterwards, stir in dried cranberries and one tablespoon of butter.
  3. In a pan on low heat, add one tablespoon of butter. Once melted, stir in the pecans. Once coated, sprinkle on the brown sugar. Once combined, remove pecans from pan but do not wash pan.
  4. In the same pan on medium heat, add another tablespoon of butter. Add the squash and stir. Bring down the heat to low, cover, and continue stirring every couple of minutes for about 10-15 minutes, or until squash is soft. Add salt to taste.
  5. Combine the Israeli pearl couscous, squash, and pecans. (I served mine in the original uncooked acorn. To get that nice glazed look around the edges, I simply placed the squash upside down on the same pan as the pecans and squash balls on medium heat for 3 minutes.)


Author: Balanced Bella

Hi, I'm Jaime and I am the recipe tester, photographer, and writer at balanced bella! All my recipes are vegan, gluten free, and 100% delicious!

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