Acorn Squash with Wild Rice Stuffing & Pear and Cambozola Salad
When I was a kid, my Mom used to roast acorn squash with butter and brown sugar. My favorite part was the little pool of melted brown sugar and butter that would form in the hollow. Yum! This is a more grown up version, suitable as a vegan main course. It kind of reminds me of a Thanksgiving stuffing but without the turkey. This dish is very impressive looking and is great for dinner parties or as a holiday centerpiece. It has that perfect salty, sweet combination and the toasted pecans give it a satisfying ‘meatiness’. I love the natural heart shape. It would be a great Valentine’s Day dish! Vegans should omit the Campozola or replace it with sliced avocado or vegan cheese. Serves 4-6 (Makes enough stuffing to fill 2 large or 3 small squash)
Acorn Squash with Wild Rice Stuffing
½ cup dried brown rice
¼ cup dried wild rice
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup fresh brown mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced
2 acorn squash
1-2 Tbsp. maple syrup or brown sugar
1 -2 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
¼ cup dried currants (or unsweetened dried cranberries)
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp. pepper
½ cup pecans
- Cook the brown and wild rice together with vegetable broth.
- Heat the oven to 400° and place a rack in the middle position.
- Cut squash in half with a sharp knife and remove the seeds. Use a dry paper towel to get the rest of the stringy bits.
- Place the squash, cut side up, on a baking sheet, and brush olive oil on the tops and insides of the squash halves. Brush maple syrup (or sprinkle with brown sugar) on the tops and insides as well, and season with salt and fresh pepper. Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes, until you can pierce it with a fork but not yet soft.
- Toast the pecans in a dry pan for a few minutes, until they become aromatic and start turning brown.(You can also toss them first in melted butter or coconut spread for an even more delicious taste). Let cool.
- Saute the onion in 1 Tbsp olive oil in a large pot until soft. Add fresh mushrooms, if using, and cook another couple of minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in the cooked rice, pecans, and currants. Add salt and fresh pepper to taste.
- Scoop one quarter of the rice filling into each of the roasted squash halves. It’s a bit messy, so I found it easier to move the squash to a plate for filling and then put it back into the pan.
- Continue roasting the squash for 20 to 30 minutes more. It should be completely tender and the stuffing hot. You should hear it sizzling.
- Serve warm.
Pear and Cambozola Salad
1-2 d’Anjou or Bosc pears
8 red globe grapes
1 wedge Cambazola Blue cheese (camembert or brie work well too)
2-3 cups mache or mixed salad greens
Vinaigrette (2 Tbsn olive or avocado oil, 1 Tbsn red wine vinegar, 1/4 tsp Dijon mustard, dash salt and pepper)
- Cut pears in half lengthwise, core using a melon baller and thinly slice lengthwise.(Easiest done with cut side down)
- Slice grapes
- Cut 4 thick slices of cambazola
- Wash and dry greens and toss in vinaigrette.
- Place ¼ of the greens on a salad plate and arrange ¼ of the pear slices, grapes and 1 slice cambozola on top for each serving.