Ever heard of stuffed bell peppers? Usually, it involves ground beef, rice, some garnishes, and everything stuffed in the body of green bell pepper. Vegan stuffed acorn squash is the same idea except for no meat and a whole lot of other stuff that tastes a lot better than a greasy hamburger.
Most people think of squash and the last thing that comes to mind is some kind of stuffed delicacy. That’s because a lot of squash dishes aren’t very creative. They generally consist of slicing the squash into slices or pieces, cooking them somehow, and then serving them as-is. It’s not very exciting, definitely not one for rocking out the taste buds, and for kids, it can damage them for life from squash.
Winter squash, however, is a great food to work with when prepared the right way. It doesn’t look appealing in the grocery store with a tough outer skin and bumps all over. That said, once cooked the innards make for some really delicious stuffings, which is the point of this recipe.
But before we get into making it, here’s a bit of healthy knowledge too. Winter squash is jammed-packed with fiber and nutrients, high in vitamin C, and it has literally nothing in the way of fat. It also produces a filling meal with a very low caloric count, which makes it great for eating without gaining the winter weight so common in the holidays.
Acorn squash in particular is great for lots of food work in the fall and cold months. It keeps well without going bad for a long time. Just one squash is enough to feed two people in terms of a serving, and they don’t take up space in your refrigerator like other vegetables. Fully cooked after slicing open and removing the seeds, and you have a warm, tasty meal enhanced with a bit of butter. Guess what? There more you can do with versus straight cooking as well.
Because the seeds take up a sizable bit of space inside a winter squash, once they are scooped out there’s a lot of space. And that makes the squash a natural for being stuffed before cooking. Lots of choices and options can come into play here. All sorts of vegetables from onions to broccoli to mushrooms can be used, and using a bit of cashew cream will hold everything together, even after the squash is cut into sections post-cooking. Want a bit of crunch in the meal too? Throw in some walnuts in the mix as well. Croutons can be added in lieu of nuts if you don’t like them or have an allergy.
Time to Prepare: 2 hours, 30 minutes
Total Cooking Time: A bit over one hour (70 minutes)
Part 1: Making the Cashew Cream
- One cup of cashews, make sure they have been soaked for 2 hours at least
- Three-quarters of a cup of garlic
- One garlic clove
- One-half tablespoon of lemon juice
- One-half cup of diced onion
- Two tablespoons of yeast
- Half a teaspoon of salt
- One-quarter teaspoon of black pepper
Step One: Grind It All Up
Literally take all of the ingredients above and put them in a blender container. When ready, blend until the mix is smooth, consistent, and creamy.
Step Two: Refrigerate
Take the mix and put it in a container in the refrigerator until needed.
Part 2: Stuffing the Squash
- Two acorn squash
- One tablespoon of vegan butter
- One-quarter cup of bread crumbs
- One tablespoon of olive oil
- One-half cup of onions, chopped and diced
- One cup of yam, chopped and diced
- Four ounces of white button mushrooms, cut and quartered
- One cup of broccoli
- One-quarter cup of veggie broth
- One-half cup of alfredo cashew cream
- One-quarter cup of chopped walnuts already toasted
- One-half teaspoon of cinnamon
- A dab of black pepper
Step One: Getting Ready
Preheat a conventional oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In the meantime, take some olive oil and bathe the sides of the acorn squash with it. Then place the squash on the baking sheet with the open cut side facing up (seeds already removed, of course).
Step Two: First Baking
Bake the squash empty for 45 minutes. They should be soft and easy to poke.
Step Three: Prepare the Butter Mix
Melt the vegan butter with bread crumbs mixed in.
Step Four: Cook the Ingredients
Warm up a saucepan with a tablespoon of olive oil and then, when ready, throw in the diced onions and the yam pieces. Mix and cook with a spatula for about four minutes until the onions yellow. Throw in the broccoli and mushroom quarters next. Keep mixing. Pour in the veggie broth and then cover with a lid. The steaming effect should last for two minutes, giving you a minute to take a short break. Now take the cashew container from the fridge and add the cashew cream in as well as the pepper, cinnamon, and walnuts if desired. Keep mixing.
Step Five: Remove the Squash and Fill
By now the squash is done and ready to take out of the oven. When cooled a bit, take your ingredient mix and place about a half a cup worth in the middle of each squash. Add a bit more bread crumbs on top. Put the pan once the squash is filled back in the oven for 10 to maybe 15 minutes. The bread crumbs need to change to a golden grown.
Step Six: Remove a Second Time and Eat
Take the squash pan out of the oven, let it cool for about 10 minutes, and then dig in and eat your vegan stuffed squash!