I’m a writer, not a chef. But I love cooking, and the writing muse has been making herself scarce lately, so I’ve been putting quite a bit of focus on finding satisfying recipes to help me transition to the vegetarian/vegan lifestyle that I hope will help me to live a longer life than my parents. So far, at age 55, I’ve outlived my father and am only 6 years away from the age that my mom was when passed of a massive heart attack.
Playing with a few recipes I’ve seen on Pinterest and going with the ingredients I have on hand (the last local crop box of the year contained a buttload of squash!), I threw this together for tonight’s dinner.
VEGAN STUFFED ACORN SQUASH
- 1 acorn squash, halved and relieved of its pulp (Don’t throw away the pulp! See below)
- 2 tbsp. dairy-free butter, divided
- 2 tbsp. organic brown sugar, divided.
- 2 cups garlic & herb croutons
- 1 cup vegetable broth (or enough to moisten the croutons)
- 1 cup of Daiya or other dairy-free mozzarella shreds
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Score squash halves by running knife several times up and down, then across. Spread 1 tbsp dairy-free butter over each squash half, then sprinkle 1 tbsp brown sugar over each half.
- In a small mixing bowl, mix croutons, vegetable broth, and dairy-free cheese shreds. The broth should be just enough to moisten the croutons.
- Wrap each squash half in aluminum foil and place in casserole dish or on baking sheet.
- Bake for an hour. The squash flesh should be tender when pierced with a fork.
Now, the best part! TASTY ROASTED SQUASH SEEDS
While the squash is baking, separated the seeds from the pulp. Rinse in a colander, making sure all pulp is removed. Dry the seeds on a paper towel, toss in a small bowl with a little olive oil and salt (I used garlic salt, as I am a garlic fanatic). Place scattered on baking sheet. Once the stuffed squash is finished baking, turn the oven down to 300F, put the baking sheet with the seeds in the oven, and roast for 10 minutes. I did this meaning to bring the seeds to work as a snack the next day, but they were so yummy that I ate them for dessert!
I must admit that I’ve never been a squash fan. My mother, bless her heart, did not enjoy cooking and it showed. She gave us squash that…well, let’s say I was put off for many years. But I’ve been trying to put my picky eating ways behind me and open myself up to new things, especially now that I’m trying to commit to a lifestyle devoid of animal products. When I found myself loving sweet potatoes (another food that is a dark memory from childhood – sorry, Mom!), that cracked open a door to more and more new things that I am willing to try. Squash is one of them.
I can’t say that this recipe made me want squash as my be-all-and-end-all go-to, but the door is opening a little more. I want to try a more ambitious stuffed squash – perhaps one that involves quinoa or something else unfamiliar. Besides, I have all that squash from my crop box to use up. I will learn to love it!