Recipe: Acorn Squash with Two Wild Rice Stuffings, Vegan and Vegetarian Versions

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Good Evening:

Although I’m not vegan, I love the cuisine and have developed a nice repertoire of vegan recipes. Whenever I host a dinner party and one or more guests inform me that they are strict vegetarians or vegans, the entire dinner will feature only vegetarian or vegan dishes. Happily, the carnivores never seem to notice, everyone goes home with full stomachs, and best of all, I have had zero fatalities.

So far.

Until I can figure out the extremely confusing Custom Menu feature in WordPress, recipe ideas will go here. A few people have asked me for Thanksgiving or winter holiday recipes for people who don’t eat meat or who only eat vegan foods. Until the past few years, vegan or vegetarian dishes for these occasions were extremely rare. Then someone discovered/rediscovered stuffed winter squashes such as pumpkins and acorn squashes. I love working with acorn squashes as they are very inexpensive at farmers markets and you can select multiple squashes of the exact same size. The flavor of the flesh complements the flavor of wild rice very well, so over the Thanksgiving weekend I experimented with a pair of recipes. Both of these were improvised on the spot and allow you to customize to your taste. For example, please don’t feel compelled to use the precise spice blends. Use larger size squash for entrees, small ones for side dishes.

Acorn Squash with Wild Rice, Fuyu Persimmon and Fuji Apple Stuffing.

  • 2 Acorn Squash, split, with seeds and guts removed
  • 1 cup uncooked wild rice
  • Olive oil, corn oil, grapeseed oil, or butter
  • 1 shallot, finely minced
  • 1 Fuji (or Gala) apple, peeled, 1/4 inch dice
  • 1 Fuyu Persimmon, peeled, 1/4 inch dice
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/8 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
  • (Vegetarian version: 1 cup packed grated cheddar cheese)
  • Salt and Pepper
  1. Wrap each acorn squash half loosely in foil and bake directly on the rack in a preheated 400 degree oven for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick easily pierces the flesh. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature
  2. Simultaneously with the squash, cook the wild rice according to package instructions. Remove from heat and drain when done.
  3. Saute the shallot in olive, corn, or grapeseed oil (or butter) over medium low heat until it turns translucent.
  4. Add the apple, persimmon and spices and saute, stirring frequently, for five minutes more.
  5. Remove the mixture to a bowl, stir in the cooked wild rice and let cool until room temperature.
  6. If using the grated cheese, stir into the mixture now.
  7. Fill the cavities of the four squash halves with the mixture. You should have enough to create nice little mounds.
  8. Place the four stuffed squash halves into a baking dish so they don’t tip over. You may top with more grated cheddar if you wish. Bake in that preheated oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, or until cheese has melted.

Acorn Squash with Wild Rice, Wild Mushroom and Pecan Stuffing.

  • 2 Acorn Squash, split, with seeds and guts removed
  • 1 cup uncooked wild rice
  • 1/2 cup pecans (optional)
  • Olive oil
  • 1 shallot, finely minced
  • 12 ounces of Shiitake, Oyster, Portobello or other mushrooms, finely sliced or chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, finely minced (optional)
  • Fresh, finely minced parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme to taste (or whatever herbs you prefer)
  • (Vegetarian version: 1 cup packed grated Gruyere, Jarlsberg, Emmentaler or Swiss cheese)
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Wrap each acorn squash half loosely in foil and bake directly on the rack in a preheated 400 degree oven for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick easily pierces the flesh. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature
  2. Simultaneously with the squash, cook the wild rice according to package instructions. During the last 10 minutes, add the pecans. Remove from heat and drain when done.
  3. Saute the mushrooms in olive oil over high heat until all of the water has released and evaporated. Remove to a mixing bowl.
  4. Return the pan to the heat, reduce to medium low. Add more oil if needed. Saute the shallot over medium low heat until it turns translucent.
  5. Add the celery, herbs and spices; saute until the celery turns translucent.
  6. Stir the rice & pecan mixture, along with the vegetables and spices, into the same bowl as the mushrooms and blend thoroughly. Let cool.
  7. If using the grated cheese, stir into the mixture now.
  8. Fill the cavities of the four squash halves with the mixture. You should have enough to create nice little mounds.
  9. Place the four stuffed squash halves into a baking dish so they don’t tip over. You may top with more grated cheese if you wish. Bake in that preheated oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, or until cheese has melted.

You might have extra leftover stuffing. This is not a problem.

I have never written a recipe before, let alone two, so if anything seems unclear/contradictory or just plain wrong, feel free to write.

Vonn Scott Bair

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