Traveling the world through cuisine

Those pesky vegetarians

Thanksgiving

Can you believe I once tried going vegetarian?

This all started when I watched the documentary Forks Over Knives and wondered about my health, and if I should simply do as relatives in Greece have done – eat meat only once a week. I decided to try what’s known as lacto-vegetarianism, which is basically where I’d not eat beef, pork, chicken, or fish, but I would eat dairy products and eggs.

Unfortunately, I only lasted one week. I had picked up some cookbooks and looked around online for meal ideas, but found that I simply would rather lose ten years of my life and eat as I wish to rather than add ten years by going plant-based. I don’t knock those who went all the way, but it’s just not for me. In the end, I wouldn’t be happy with life.

There was a big plus to this experience though (and the cookbooks won’t go to waste either). The experience drove me to look deeper into interesting ways to serve vegetables, thus I end up eating more than I did before. If anything, I think most Americans should look into vegetarian cuisine just even for the sake of getting more in your diet.

The dish I have for you today is a great creation if you happen to have friends, relatives, or that possible future son/daughter-in law who happens to be a vegetarian. Variants of stuffed acorn squash can be found all over the internet, but I really liked a recipe I found on chooseveg.com. While I didn’t follow their recipe to the letter, I did enjoy the flavors of autumn loaded into this dish. It was the first time I ever had acorn squash, and I’ll say it’s a great substitute for potatoes.

Give it a shot and surprise that vegan friend who might end up at your Thanksgiving table. You might even impress a few carnivores.

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Ingredients

  • 2 acorn squash
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup of brown rice
  • 1/4 cup of wild rice
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 Spanish onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup of diced celery
  • 1/2 cup of dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup of chopped pecans (or walnuts)
  • 2 tbsp of pine nuts
  • 1 tbsp of parsley
  • 2 tsp of oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375º.
  2. Slice each of the squash in half and scoop out the seeds and membrane.
  3. In a medium saucepan, bring the vegetable broth to a boil. Add the rice and cook until done.
  4. While the rice is cooking, place the squash halves (skin-side up) onto a cookie sheet and place in the oven for thirty minutes.
  5. In a frying pan or skillet, heat up the olive oil on medium heat.
  6. Place the onion and garlic into the oil and cook until the onion is soft.
  7. Add the celery and saute for a few minutes.
  8. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked onion, celery, and garlic with the cooked rice, cranberries, nuts, parsley, oregano, salt, and pepper.
  9. Take your slightly cooked squash and scoop out some of the internal flesh. Do not scoop everything out, but rather craft your squash halves into nice bowls to hold stuffing. Place the scooped squash flesh into your stuffing mixture.
  10. Give the stuffing a stir to mix in the squash.
  11. Fill each of your squash halves with stuffing. Pack the stuffing in until you have just some rounded out over the top. Don’t worry if you don’t use all the stuffing.
  12. Place the stuffed squash upright on your cookie sheet, cover with aluminum foil, and bake for thirty minutes or until the squash flesh is tender.

Quick Notes

When you half and clear out the innards of the squash, you might want to slice a little off the other side so the halves will sit perfectly like bowls. It has been suggested to clear off the membrane from the seeds and roast them for a snack.

Be sure to follow the directions when cooking rice. It’s very easy to mess up. If you have none or do not want to get vegetable broth, then use water with a little salt added.

Variations

You can variate as you wish. I certainly did if you compare my recipe with the one at chooseveg.com. If you want a less savory flavor and more a scented Autumnal flair, then try the other recipe with their spice combination. If you have access and time, roast up some chestnuts and use those as opposed to the pecans or walnuts.

Tags: rice, squash, stuffed, thanksgiving, Vegetarian

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