Stuffed Acorn Squash

Back in the day, when I had just announced to my parents that I wasn’t eating meat anymore, Thanksgiving dinner for me meant an assortment of side dishes. Not that there’s anything wrong with eating a dinner that consists only of mashed potatoes, stuffing, and squash, but when everyone else is enjoying those foods and also gets to have a special main dish, you feel kind of left out.

No more! This stuffed squash is the perfect vegan main course for Thanksgiving. It’s filling, delicious, and with spices like thyme and fresh sage, it even smells the way Thanksgiving should!

Roasted acorn squash halves are stuffed with a mix of bulgar, veggies, cranberries, and fall spices. Yum! The portion is huge (as it should be on Thanksgiving); you may want to cut each squash half in half again just to make sure you have room for the rest of the dinner!

 

The original recipe calls for wheat berries, which I’m sure would be fabulous, but after going to three different grocery stores and striking out, I substituted with bulgar. The texture is fluffier than it would be with wheat berries, but I liked how it held the stuffing together. Make sure you chop the veggies up nice and small so everything in the stuffing is around the same size.

 

Adapted from The First Mess

Serves 2

Ingredients

1 acorn squash

2 cloves garlic, lightly smashed

salt and pepper

1/2 cup bulgar

1 tbsp vegetable oil

2 shallots, diced small

1 celery stalk, diced small

1 carrot, diced small

1 bay leaf

1 tsp ground coriander

3 sprigs thyme, chopped fine

1 sprig sage, chopped fine

splash of white wine

3/4 cup vegetable stock (or water)

1/2 cup dried cranberries

salt and pepper

3 sprigs parsley, chopped fine

Directions

Cook the squash: preheat the oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Season each half with salt and pepper. Put the smashed garlic cloves on the baking sheet with a good amount of space between them, and put each squash half over a garlic clove, covering it like an upside down bowl. This will ‘aromatize’ the squash and make it even tastier! Cook until tender, about 30 minutes.

When squash is cool enough to handle, scoop a bit of flesh out of each half – you want to have about 1/4 cup of squash. Set squash halves and flesh aside.

Meanwhile, cook the bulgar: bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a small sauce pan. Add bulgar and reduce to a simmer. Cook until water has been absorbed, 10-15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside.

Make the stuffing: heat oil in a large skillet and add shallots. Cook until they’re just starting to turn translucent. Add celery, carrot, and bay leaf; cook until the veggies start to soften, about 4-5 minutes.

Add coriander, thyme, sage, and cranberries. Pour a splash of wine into the pan and stir to remove any little bits off the bottom of the pan.

Add the bulgar and stir to combine. Pour in vegetable stock and cook until the liquid has evaporated.

Stir in reserved squash flesh – this will be the glue that holds the stuffing together. Stir in some of the parsley (save a bit for garnish).

Stuff each squash half with stuffing; you may have a bit of stuffing left over. Return to the oven to heat through (about 5 minutes). Garnish with parsley.

Now being vegetarian on Thanksgiving doesn’t have to make you sad! This delicious stuffed squash is perfect to serve to all your vegetarian or vegan guests this Thanksgiving!

 

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