Ultimate Stuffed Acorn Squash

Cover Recipe- Vegetarian Times, Ultimate Stuffed Acorn Squash: November 2013

Cover Recipe- Vegetarian Times, Ultimate Stuffed Acorn Squash: November 2013

The only thing that can send a holiday feast into a culinary tailspin faster than waking up on Thanksgiving morning and realizing that your turkey is still frozen solid, is waking up on Thanksgiving morning and realizing that one or more of your guests has dietary restrictions after you’ve already drizzled bacon drippings and/or something highly glutinous over every one of your dishes.

This is what I like to call: “The Panic Zone”. With a capital P.

In general, I try to avoid it at all costs, which is why, when I menu plan for a dinner party or get-together I always try to make sure that I have an equal number, if not more, of dietary restriction-friendly recipes planned. And if I can hit more than one restriction in a given recipe, all the better. Given this, I was super excited to see a vegetarian and gluten-free option for a Thanksgiving main dish on the cover of November’s Vegetarian Times – Ultimate Stuffed Acorn Squash. I had to test it out to see if it would make the cut for my Thanksgiving feast. Read my notes below to see what I thought of this recipe.

Ultimate Stuffed Acorn Squash

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Ultimate Stuffed Acorn Squash

Yield: 8 servings

Prep Time: 20 min

Cook Time: 1 hour 30 min

Total Time: 1 hour 50 min

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced, divided
4 small acorn or kabocha squash, halved and seeded
1/2 teaspoon ancho chile powder, plus more for sprinkling squash
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander, plus more for sprinkling squash
3 cups fresh or frozen corn, thawed and divided
2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
1 cup lowfat buttermilk
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 ounces nonfat Greek yogurt
3 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, grated
1 1/2 cups cooked black beans
1 large poblano chile, diced
8 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350. Combine oil and 2 teaspoons of minced garlic in a small bowl. Brush the squash halves with the garlic-infused oil and sprinkle lightly with ancho chile powder and coriander. Season with salt and pepper. Place on large parchment-lined baking sheet.
2. Pulse 2 cups of the corn in a food processor until finely chopped and milky. Set aside.
3. Whisk 1/2 teaspoon each of coriander and ancho chile powder into cornmeal, along with the sugar, baking soda, salt and cayenne in a medium bowl. Set aside.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and eggs. Whisk in the olive oil, pureed corn, remaining 1 cup of corn, Greek yogurt, cheddar, and remaining 2 garlic. Fold in the cornmeal mixture with a spatula, then fold in the black beans, poblano, and scallions.
5. Divide the filling among the squash halves.
6. Bake the squash halves for 30-45 minutes (or more), until squash are tender and the filling is set.

Tips:

*To prevent the squash halves from wobbling or falling over, cut a thin slab off the bottom so they can sit flat.
*Squash can be made 24 hours ahead, then reheated for 20 minutes at 325.
*For me, the squash took a lot longer to cook through than the recipe suggested. I would highly recommend precooking the empty squash halves until tender and then adding the filling to them and cooking them as directed.

Nutritional Information per serving:
Serving size: 1 squash half
Calories per serving: 425
Fat per serving: 20g
Saturated Fat per serving: 10g
Sugar per serving: 6g
Sodium per serving: 533mg
Fiber per serving: 8g
Protein per serving: 15g
Cholesterol per serving: 80mg
Carbohydrates per serving: 53g

The results:

You’d be hard-pressed to find a stuffed squash recipe that I didn’t love and this is no exception! The southwestern flair and hints of spice in every bite against the subtly sweet squash was fabulous. I used kabocha squash instead of acorn squash since I like their starchy flesh and soft shells better, but really any squat round squash (i.e. not butternut) will work here. My only qualm with the recipe was that it took a LOT longer to cook than the recipe instructed – there was no way both the squash and the filling were going to cook through in 30-45 minutes at 350 degrees when small cubed pieces of squash take 30 minutes at 400 degrees! Next time, I would either pre-roast the squash halves at 400 until tender and then cook it as instructed or up the temperature to 400 and cook the stuffed squash for about an hour and a half, covering it with parchment paper halfway through so that the top of the filling doesn’t burn.

Did this recipe deserve the cover spotlight?

Definitely. I loved the presentation of the squash and that each person gets their own half served to them. Plus the flavors used are delicious, and totally perfect for a Thanksgiving feast!

Joanne Bruno is a vegetable and cupcake-loving MD/PhD student living NYC. She's the voice behind the blog Eats Well With Others. JoAnne combines her passion for food with a love of exercise and runs endurance events while raising money to fight cancer. She is also snarky with a penchant for hyperbole...so take everything she says with a grain of salt.

3 Responses to “Ultimate Stuffed Acorn Squash”

  1. 1

    Heather @ Sugar Dish Me — October 28, 2013 @ 9:08 am

    Ohhh Joanne this is BEAUTIFUL! I love acorn squash as long as I don’t have to peel it because um… annoying. I am totally trying this!!!

  2. 2

    jillmc — October 28, 2013 @ 9:57 am

    Looks great! I have a guest coming for the holidays with several dietary restrictions…gluten, dairy, soy and corn. It is proving to be quite a challenge for me to come up with acceptable recipes. Any hints on adapting the stuffed acorn squash? Would have to eliminate the corn and cheese……thank you!

  3. 3

    Tieghan — October 28, 2013 @ 8:41 pm

    Stuffed squash is my favorite!! This looks and sounds incredible, Joanne!!

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