Today, at work, a co-worker told me to “stuff it.”
“Thank you, I think I will!” I replied, amazed. How on earth did she know I was thinking about acorn squash?
Acorn Squash is my very favorite of all the winter squashes.
They are easy to halve and de-seed.
You don’t have to peel them.
The golden flesh is mildly sweet and oh-so-versatile – compatible with everything from brown sugar, nutmeg, and cinnamon, to garlic, to curry, to garam masala.
Steam-baking them in the oven is super-simple and requires very little attention during baking or cleanup afterward.
And, of course, acorn squash are a lot of fun to stuff.
My all-time favorite is probably still acorn squash stuffed with apples and Indian spices.Last year, I invented a sweet-and-savory Indian quinoa that made a marvelous filling. (Recipe to come, once I make it again and this time, snap some pics!)
This year, I am loving my latest, ridiculously easy recipe creation. It’s a combination of a box of wild rice mix I bought on sale and my new favorite food I’m crushing on this fall, dried cranberries. Combine that with a beautiful green-and-orange acorn squash and you have an elegant entree that looks and tastes like you spent a lot more time and effort than you actually did.
Ingredients for Wild Rice and Cranberry Stuffed Acorn Squash:
Two small to medium Acorn Squash
One Box Wild Rice Mix (prepared product should yield approximately 2 cups)
1/2 Cup Dried Cranberries (such as Craisins)
Directions for Wild Rice and Cranberry Stuffed Acorn Squash:
Preheat oven to 375.
Carefully cut the squash in half lengthwise (stem to tip). A serrated knife works well for this.
With a spoon, remove all seeds and strings.
Fill a baking dish with about 1/4 inch water. (Depending on the size of the squash, you may need to use a large baking dish or even two baking dishes). Place the squash in the baking dish, cut side down. Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes.
While the squash is baking, prepare the wild rice mix according to package directions – EXCEPT add 1/2 cup dried cranberries.
After 30 minutes, remove squash and flip the sides over. Fill the cavity with the cooked wild rice and cranberries.
Place back in the oven for 10 minutes.
Look for lower-sodium packages of wild rice mix. Also, be sure to read ingredients carefully – sometimes beef or chicken fat sneaks in.
Gluten Free People – Be careful your box of wild rice mix doesn’t contain wheat (some rice mixes are mixed with pasta) or other forms of gluten. You may need to purchase a wild rice blend without seasonings and cook in vegetable broth for flavor.
Frugal Vegan Tip: Never pay full price for a box of rice mix. Those things go on sale every other week, and you can usually find coupons to pair with a sale. With Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up, expect to see rice mixes – as well as quinoa, couscous, and other grain mixes – go on sale frequently.
What to serve with acorn squash? I’m fond of serving something green – a spinach salad, perhaps. Or sauteed kale or slow-simmered collard greens. Lentil soup is also an amazing accompaniment if you desire a hearty meal.