Acorn Squash with Wild Rice Stuffing

Acorn squash is stocked in markets this time of year and it is one of my favorite types of squash. I think most squash are my favorite though. Dark green skin and orange flesh, it is a beautiful-looking squash. I grew up eating squash often as my Dad grew them and still does. Summer squash, winter squash, all different types of squash. I get some nice free squash and pumpkins sometimes ūüôā

Roasted acorn squash with wild rice stuffing is a vegetarian dish that I used to eat on Thanksgiving when I did not eat meat and wanted to have something besides tofurkey. I first cooked this dish about 4 years ago after I heard an interview on NPR about a vegetarian Thanksgiving and some veggie-friendly recipes. When I cooked it on my first non-tofurkey Thanksgiving, my Mom thought it was a great dish. So did other family members. After I started eating meat again, I found that I still craved the holiday foods and dishes that satisfied my previous vegetarian self. I loved this dish then as a vegetarian, and also now as an omnivore. So, I have to have this dish in the fall.

I started with a recipe featured on NPR, then made my own additions.

An acorn squash I got at the market. Usually you see it dark green, but sometimes see some orange skin.

Ingredients –¬†Serves 4

  • 2 acorn squash, halved with the seeds removed (cut the squash very carefully because the skin is hard)
  • 2 cups vegetable broth + extra if needed
  • 1 cup wild rice mix (I used Trader Joe’s wild rice basmati medley with some dried veggies)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped shallots
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms (most types would work like cremini, button, or shiitake, though I used a dried mushroom medley… yes from Trader Joes too)
  • 1/2 cup chopped leeks
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
  • pinch of dried thyme
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries (aka craisins)
  • 1/2 cup chopped raw pecans
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Cooking oil or melted butter
  • Dash of white wine
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. On each acorn squash half, brush oil or butter on both sides. Place the squash halves cut side up in a greased casserole dish, then sprinkle salt, pepper, and brown sugar on the orange squash flesh. Roast for about 20 minutes until fork tender.
  2. Cook the rice in the rice cooker: use the 2 cups broth and 1 cup wild rice mix. Alternatively, you can cook the rice in a pot by bringing the broth to a boil, then adding the rice. Cover, lower the heat, and let that cook for about 30 minutes until water is absorbed and rice is tender. Make sure the rice doesn’t dry out while cooking. If it does get dry and the rice is not yet tender, add a bit more broth.
  3. While the rice is cooking you can sauté the veggies. Heat some oil and/or butter  in a pan and cook the shallot, garlic, onion until soft. Add salt & pepper (to taste), dried sage, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Mix it well, then add the mushrooms and white wine then cook for about a minute. Then add the leeks and cook until soft, about another minute.
  4. Once the rice is cooked, add it to the pan with the veggies. Combine the rice and veggies with the dried cranberries and pecans. Make sure stuffing is not to dry. Add some vegetable broth if needed.
  5. Spoon the stuffing into the squash halves. Pack it in well so it doesn’t fall out so much when you eat it. Roast for another 20 minutes or until heated through.
  6. Serve warm or at room temperature!

Make sure to clean your leeks very well. Cut it in half and rinse each layer. This is how I chopped them, though you can slice a bit thinner too.

The wild rice stuffing! You can see some extra veggies in there like the carrot. It was from the wild rice medley that I got with dehydrated veggies. If your wild rice mix doesn’t have dried veggies, you can add some fresh ones when you saut√© the vegetables.

An edible vessel! I love the colors and ¬†the sweet and savory combo of autumnal flavors in this dish. There’s some nice textures going on here too. Love, love love it! Even my husband who is a meat lover enjoyed this dish. He said it was not bland, was not too sweet, and gave it an A in the flavor department.

Now you can be the judge, try it for dinner, or as a Thanksgiving side! What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving sides?

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