Stuffed Squash Roast 8.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post; food styling by Bonnie S. Benwick/The Washington Post

Weeknight Vegetarian Nov 12, 2018

This vegan holiday centerpiece recipe takes the guesswork out of roasting and stuffing a squash by having you bake it most of the way by itself (which allows you to cook it perfectly) before you stuff and finish it. That also means you can make as many of the components in advance as you'd like and refrigerate them for up to 1 week before assembling for the final roasting.

To read the accompanying story, see: This stuffed butternut squash will make Thanksgiving vegetable lovers swoon.


Servings:
8 - 12

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 8-12 servings

Ingredients
  • For the squash
  • 1 large (3-pound) butternut squash, washed and dried
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • For the glazed onions
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • For the rice
  • 1 cup cooked wild or black rice
  • 1 cup whole cooked vacuum-packed chestnuts, chopped
  • 1/3 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 1/2 cup mixed nuts, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or more as needed
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • For the mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup (about 4 ounces) cremini mushrooms, washed, dried and sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • For assembly
  • 1/4 cup store-bought or homemade cranberry sauce (see related recipe)
  • 2 roasted red bell peppers (see NOTE)
  • 3 sun-dried tomatoes, rehydrated (if not oil-packed) and chopped
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed baby spinach leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

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Directions

For the squash: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Use a very sharp knife to split the squash in half lengthwise, then place the halves cut sides down on the baking sheet. Bake (middle rack) for 45 minutes, or until just soft when pierced through the skin with a skewer. Turn cut sides up, season lightly with salt and let cool while you prepare the remaining components.

For the glazed onions: Pour the oil into a large skillet over medium heat. When it shimmers, add the onion and cook, tossing frequently, until it starts to soften, 5 minutes. Stir in the vinegar and sugar, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the onions are soft and the syrup is sticky, 10 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl, and rinse out the skillet.

For the rice: Combine the rice, chestnuts, apricots, nuts, lemon juice, sage, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper and paprika in a large bowl, stirring until thoroughly incorporated. Taste, and add more salt, as needed.

For the mushrooms: Set the rinsed-out skillet over medium heat and pour in the oil. When it shimmers, add the mushrooms and garlic; cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms soften, exude their liquid and it evaporates. Remove from the heat and season lightly with salt and pepper.

To assemble, scoop out the fibrous matter and seeds from the squash and discard (or save the seeds for another use), then scoop out a 2-inch channel of flesh, chop or break it up, and mix it into the rice. Spoon the cranberry sauce into one of the squash halves, spreading it thinly in the cavity. Add enough of the rice mixture so it is slightly mounded, and rises above the edge of the squash; you can spoon any remaining rice on the squash's serving platter.

Next, layer in this order: the roasted peppers, the glazed onions, the mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes.

Toss the spinach with the lemon juice, then scatter the leaves on top. Place the other squash half on top, cut side down, lightly pressing if needed to help balance the roast. Use skewers to secure it, or tie with kitchen twine in three evenly spaced spots. Return to the oven and bake (350 degrees) for an additional 15 minutes, or until the filling is heated through.

Remove the skewers or twine. Use a large serrated knife to cut the squash roast crosswise into 8 thick slices, or 12 thinner ones (depending on the appetite of your guests). Serve warm.

NOTE: To roast the bell peppers, position an oven rack 6 inches from the broiler element; preheat the broiler. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place the peppers on the baking sheet; broil until charred black on all sides, turning it with tongs as needed. Transfer to a heat-proof bowl and cover with a plate to steam. Once the peppers are cool enough to handle, rub off and discard the charred skins; also discard the stems and seeds.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from "Vegan Christmas: Over 70 Amazing Recipes for the Festive Season," by Gaz Oakley (Quadrille, 2018).

Tested by Joe Yonan.

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