Stuffed Acorn Squash with Vegan Cheese
"I like to serve this delectable squash as an enticing entrée throughout the winter holiday season. Use the stuffing recipe suggested below if you like, or showcase familiar flavors with whatever stuffing your family and friends are accustomed to." -- Laura Theodore
- 2 very small acorn squash, halved and seeded
- 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 4 cups Mushroom and Pecan Holiday Stuffing (see recipe below), prepared and ready to bake
- 4 tablespoons shredded vegan cheese (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil a 13 x 9-inch baking pan.
- Put the squash halves cut-side up in the prepared pan. Brush 1⁄4 teaspoon of the oil over the upper surface of each squash half. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spoon 1 cup of the stuffing into each squash half.
- Cover the pan with foil and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the squash is fork-tender. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the optional vegan cheese over each squash half and bake, uncovered, for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the stuffing is brown and crispy and the vegan cheese is melted. Serve immediately.
Mushroom and Pecan Holiday Stuffing
"A delicious stuffing is a must-have for a spectacular holiday meal. When baked on its own, this version is moist on the inside, crispy on the outside, and guaranteed to satisfy. It’s also the perfect filling for Stuffed Acorn Squash." -- Laura Theodore
- 7 slices whole-grain bread, diced
- 1 teaspoon italian seasoning
- 1⁄2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 sweet onion, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, with leaves, diced
- 2 1⁄2 cups diced cremini mushrooms
- 1 teaspoon reduced-sodium tamari
- 1⁄4 cup vegan margarine
- 1⁄2 cup boiling water
- 1 vegetable bouillon cube
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Oil an 11 x 7-inch baking pan. Put the bread, italian seasoning, and salt in a medium bowl and toss to combine. Transfer to a large, rimmed baking sheet and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, until the bread is slightly crisp. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the mushrooms and tamari and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms are tender, adding a bit of water as needed to prevent sticking. Melt the margarine in a small saucepan over medium heat.
- Put the water in a small bowl or measuring cup and add the bouillon cube. Stir until dissolved to make a strong vegetable broth.
- Put the bread and pecans in a large bowl and toss until well combined. Add the mushroom mixture, margarine, and 1⁄4 cup of the broth and stir gently until thoroughly combined. Add as much of the remaining broth as needed so the mixture is moist but not soupy. If the mixture still seems dry after adding all of the broth, add a small amount of water. Transfer to the prepared pan. Spread in an even layer and smooth the top with a spatula.
- Cover and bake for about 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15 minutes to crisp the top. Serve immediately.
Yield: Makes 4-6 servings