Moroccan Stuffed Sweet Lightning Squash

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Welcome to Claire's: 35 Years of Recipes and Reflections from the Landmark Vegetarian Restaurant

Welcome to Claire's

By Claire Criscuolo

Published 2014

  • About

For this recipe you may use any small winter squash—acorn, butternut, pumpkin, or other—as you please, so have fun and try a variety of squash straight from the farmer.


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 8 baby organic carrots, cut into thin slices
  • teaspoons cinnamon
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup organic raisins
  • ¼ cup sliced almonds
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange zest
  • Juice from 2 oranges (about 1 cup)
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 1 cup organic whole wheat couscous
  • 4 medium Sweet Lightning squash, or other winter squash


  1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, and cinnamon, and a little sea salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently for about 5-6 minutes, until the onions are softened. Add the water, raisins, almonds, orange zest, juice, and saffron, and a little more sea salt. Raise the heat to high and bring to a boil. Stir in the couscous, mixing to combine. Cover and remove from the heat and set aside for about 5 minutes, until the couscous absorbs the liquid. When the liquid is absorbed, use two forks to fluff up the couscous. Taste for seasonings.
  3. Meanwhile, using a big, heavy knife and holding the squash on its side, carefully cut the tops off the squash, say about ½ inch. Using a teaspoon, scoop out the fleshy strings and fibers and the seeds, creating a cavity for the stuffing. Discard the fleshy strings and fibers, but reserve the seeds if you want to roast them for a snack. Set aside the top of the squash for a “lid” to cover the stuffing later in the recipe. Spoon about a cup of the stuffing into the cavity of each squash, mounding over the opening. Cover each squash with the reserved top. Transfer to a glass baking dish, about 9 × 14 inches or so. Pour about 3 cups of water around the squash (not over it), until the water is about an inch deep. Cover the baking dish with foil, tenting as needed. Bake in the preheated oven for about 70 minutes, or until the squash is tender when tested with a fork.