spicy, smoky stuffed acorn squash



I’m on a veg kick lately. I blame pinterest and all of its “bowls” of this and that, which I don’t quite get, but they seem delightful. it got me thinking that a) it’s very difficult to find bowls to accommodate these “recipes” (scare quotes because they’re not really recipes, are they? it’s almost like putting cereal together, but fancier and more deliciouser) and b) you know what else is a bowl? squash. that’s what.

I began brewing up this recipe in my head and, at every turn, it included cheese or bacon or sausage. I can’t deny it: I’m addicted to that fat-in-my-mouthness that each provides.

but I was really determined to make this vegan, though I did pick up a block of cheese while shopping for ingredients just in case. just in case. because cheese makes everything better.

I am so proud of myself. I DID NOT USE THE CHEESE.

I did not use the cheese and the dish is every bit as full of flavour and richness as I’d hoped. each half is basically a meal, though a side salad or summat would not be remiss.

without further ado…

what you need:

  • 3 acorn squash, cut lengthwise and seeds removed (save the seeds and roast ’em for a delightful snack!)
  • olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups of cooked rice (I recommend brown, but any long-grain will do)
  • 1/2 cup of veg stock (optional, but handy for deglazing – you could just as easily use water/beer/wine)
  • 1 cup of corn (or one can, if going that route – I did)
  • 2 cups of red kidney or black beans (or one can, if you’re going that route – I did)
  • 1 bunch of spinach (or a cello pack, if you’re going that route – I didn’t), chopped
  • 4-6 chipotles, finely chopped (or to taste)
  • 1/4 cup of adobo (or to taste)
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, finely chopped

what you do:

  1. preheat oven to 375.
  2. line a baking sheet (probably two) with tinfoil.
  3. cut a smidge off the bottom of each squash half so they sit flat when their fleshy sides are up.
  4. place squash halves on the baking sheet(s) face up and sprinkle with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  5. turn squash halves fleshy side down and bake for about 30 minutes, turning fleshy side up halfway through.
  6. in a large skillet, over medium heat, add 2 tbsp olive oil.
  7. add the cumin and coriander.
  8. add the onions and a pinch of salt to help them brown.
  9. once the onions begin browning, add the spinach.
  10. sautée until the spinach is completely wilted.
  11. reduce heat to medium-low.
  12. add the rice and stir until incorporated.
  13. add stock and deglaze as necessary.
  14. your squash probably needs to be turned upright at this point. do that.
  15. add the corn, beans, chipotles, adobo, thyme, and cilantro and stir until incorporated.
  16. add salt and pepper to taste.
  17. once the squash halves are done (it should be fork-tender) and the stuffing is evenly hot, distribute the stuffing among the halves and return them to the oven for another 10 minutes.
  18. serve.



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