Autumn Stuffed Squash
Ingredients (use vegan versions):
- 2 medium acorn squash
- 1/2 cup dry lentils
- 1/4 cup rice (any kind but instant)
- 1 medium apple OR 1 medium pear
- 1 medium onion
- 1 stalk celery
- pumpkin pie spice OR apple pie spice OR cinnamon, allspice, cloves, nutmeg, ginger
- (optional) molasses OR vegan brown sugar OR vegan maple syrup
- (optional) mushrooms, peppers, other veggies
I came up with this recipe when I was looking for something to make for myself for Thanksgiving dinner when my family was eating turkey. It's great any time of year, but especially in the fall when squash and apples/pears are cheap :-)
Wash the squash and pierce it a few times with a knife (be sure to get the knife good and deep into the flesh so that it doesn't explode). Place the squash into a baking dish and bake at 375 F for 30-45 minutes, or until it's somewhat soft.
While the squash is baking, put the rice, lentils, spices, and 1 1/2 cups of water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer with a cover on for about 40 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the rice and lentils are soft. Take it off the heat.
Dice the onion and apple or pear (and mushrooms/peppers/other veggies, if using) and slice the celery. Spray a frying pan with nonstick cooking spray and saute the veggies and apple or pear until everything is pretty soft and smelling yummy. Add the veggies to the rice/lentil mixture, and add sweetener if you want (taste it first -- if the apple/pear is sweet enough, you might not need any sweetener!).
Remove the squash from the oven and reduce heat to 350 F. Slice the squash in half lengthwise (be careful -- it'll be HOT) and remove the seeds and membrane with a spoon (save them for roasted squash seeds -- yum!). Place the rice/lentil/veggie mixture into the hollow in each squash half (don't be afraid to pile it up pretty high) and place the squash back into the baking pan. Cover the pan with tin foil and bake for another 45-55 minutes, or until the squash is soft and everything is heated through. You can drizzle a little sweetener on during the last 10 minutes of baking for a special treat if you want. Eat and enjoy!
The filling above makes enough to stuff at least 2 medium sized acorn squash. It's also really yummy by itself. Pretty much any kind of apple or pear will work here. If you like the apples to come out really soft and sauce-like, choose a softer, juicier apple like McIntosh or Red Delicious; for firmer, more noticeable apples, use a good crispy tart apple like Macoun, Granny Smith, or Jonagold. You can also try it with other kinds of winter squash.
1/2 half medium squash with 1/4 of filling has about 300 calories, virtually no fat, and lots of fiber (especially if you eat the skin of the squash) and vitamin A.
Preparation time: 2 hr
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