monday always comes: bean and barley stuffed acorn squash with ricotta

meatless monday
notes from maggie's farm

“In my life long study of human beings, I have found that no matter how hard they try, they have found no way yet to prevent the arrival of Monday morning. And they do try, of course, but Monday always comes..."  ― Jeff Lindsay, Dexter in the Dark
Whether you find yourself, today, in an office desperately trying to catch up on emails, working through the piles of laundry your family wore through this busy weekend past, or, like we are, spending the day catching up on gardening and farming chores that went neglected, we likely all have one thing in common--we need a healthy meal that takes little trouble and time, but nourishes us well, in order to tackle Monday, with all its demands.  Low fat, low calorie, and low maintenance are among the list of desires this hearty and wholesome meatless meal meets, boasting high fiber, beta carotene, and whole grains, as well.  All this, with preparation, and munching all out of its own handy fresh shell--it is one powerhouse of a Manic Monday's personal assistant.  

bean and barley stuffed acorn squash with ricotta
serves 6, as entree, or 6-12 as a side


3 whole acorn squash, halved and cavities de-seeded
3 cups prepared barley (cooked according to package directions)
1 can, each black beans, red beans, and garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed)
2T olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 stalks celery, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup homemade ricotta cheese, with 3T reserved to sprinkle atop (or best quality grocery store ricotta, to substitute)
1 T chopped fresh sage
2 T balsamic vinegar
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Optional additions to stuffing: seeded and chopped tomato, chopped water chestnuts, chopped walnuts, almonds, or pecans, shredded kale or swiss chard, sliced mushrooms.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees, Fahrenheit. 

Prepare acorn squash as directed and set aside.  Prepare barley, and set aside to cool.  Drain and rinse canned beans. In a large bowl, toss beans and barley.

Saute in 2T olive oil, onion, celery, and minced garlic until onion is just transparent and celery is still al dente. 

Add to beans and barley, along with ricotta cheese, crumbled, sage, vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste.  

Firmly fill acorn squash halves, and mound high, as shown. 

Bake in casserole dish, covered with foil, for 30 minutes. Remove foil, sprinkle with reserved ricotta, return to oven, and bake additional 15 minutes, or until cheese and stuffing top in golden. 

Remove.  Return foil to cover and allow to steam, while cooling, for 5-10 minutes.  Serve.

“Don't mess with anybody on a Monday. It's a bad, bad day.” ― Louise Fitzhugh, Harriet the Spy
Leftover filling?  We've got that covered.  Later this week we make this meal do double duty. With just a few turns of the wrist, make a fresh and filling marinated salad that we love to snack on around here, all week long.  


  1. How did you know I was doing laundry? Love love love that photo on the acorn squash in the wood bowl. Gorgeous. Glad y'all got a day at the farm together even if you did have to work it.

  2. We worked it pretty hard yesterday...basically grunted in each other's directions as sweat poured off of us. Tom graciously offered his sleeve for me to blot my face upon, and he pulled away with what looked like the Shroud of Turin on his shirt. It was HOT out there. (Thank you for stopping by!)

  3. It was hot, dirty and down right messy but I wouldnt trade our time together for anything.

  4. You are the sweetest man, Farmer Tom. Hurry home.


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