Sunday, February 13, 2011

Vegetarian Stuffed Squash

Something I’ve been preparing regularly this Winter is stuffed squash. To me, it’s an ultimate comfort food: it provides that warm, soothing, stick-to-your-ribs feeling and at the same time, it can be super healthy, depending on the stuffing. The recipe below uses a vegetarian filling that I mixed together with vegetables, rice, and beans and makes a nice base that I would even use to make a vegetarian enchilada, or to pile on top of a bed of greens.

Vegetarian Stuffed Squash

Grapeseed or olive oil

1 acorn squash

1 medium onion, chopped

1 medium red pepper, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 T fresh or 1 t dried basil

1 large handful spinach leaves, washed and dried

1 cup cooked black beans

1 cup cooked brown rice (prepared in water or light vegetable broth)

1-2 cloves garlic, minced

sea salt and pepper to taste

1 large egg

grated parmesan cheese, optional

Preheat oven to 350°. Cut acorn squash lengthwise, lightly oil the flesh and place the halves in a baking dish, cut side down. Roast for ~45 min or until a knife inserts easily through the skin. Remove the seeds and leave the halves in the baking dish, cut side up.

Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat about 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for a few minutes. Add the celery and cook for several minutes more, then add the red pepper and basil. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Place the veggie mixture into a food processor with the spinach and black beans. Pulse several times until the spinach is incorporated. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl. Add the brown rice, garlic, basil, sea salt and pepper.

Add the egg and mix well, mix in ~1/4 cup of cheese if using. Spoon the mixture into the cavities of the squash and sprinkle with additional cheese.

Bake at 350° for ~20-30 min. The stuffing recipe makes a bit more than is needed to fill one full acorn squash and can easily be scaled up.

This works well in butternut squash too. Make a cavity in the long portion of each squash half and mix the scooped out squash directly into the stuffing before filling. I actually prefer the butternut squash because it has a sweeter taste…

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