For The Love Of Gourd: Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe | Vegan Oil Free
Fall is right around the corner and after the scorching Phoenix summer, we can’t wait for it! Nothing says Fall quite like a good gourd. And by all means, let the veggie puns commence!
“Oh my GOURD!”
“Good GOURD Almighty!”
“You should eat more squash because it’s GOURD for you!”
You know I could keep that up all day but in the interest of time, let’s keep moving forGOURD (sorry, had to lol)...
Delicious, starchy, hearty winter squash is the perfect thing to start enjoying this time of year. Slightly sweet, nutty, and buttery Acorn Squash makes a wonderful base to complement all those lovely autumnal flavors we’ve waited all year to indulge in. Is Acorn Squash a gourd or a squash? Is there even a difference? Dillon didn’t know for sure but being the research queen I am, I had to look it up.
Apparently gourds, squashes, pumpkins, and even melons all belong to the Cucurbitaceae family, meaning they all stem from herbaceous vining plants. Gourds usually have thick, tough exteriors and are grown more for decorative purposes whereas most squash varieties are typically grown and harvested for consumption. The more you know!
Acorn squash is considered a winter squash because it does have a thicker exterior and the flesh is a bit starchier than summer squash. The great thing about it is that once it’s cooked, you can still eat the skin.
We’ll start by cutting the squash in half; you can either cut it lengthwise or widthwise according to your preference but we discovered that cutting it widthwise made for a sturdier base and more attractive presentation. Scoop out the seeds; if you’ve been watching our videos lately, you’ll see that the melon baller is our most surprisingly handy kitchen tool of the year! Ironically, we haven’t used it to ball even a single melon this year!
Next, pour about a cup of water in a glass baking dish, put the squash in flesh side down, cover with aluminum foil, and bake in a 375º oven for about 40 minutes.
While the squash is baking, we’ll make the filling. First, we want to get the quinoa cooking. We cook quinoa like we cook almost every grain, which is just like pasta! We don’t worry about measuring the liquid to adhere to some “perfect” water-to-grain ratio. No. We just fill the pot with water, bring it to a boil, dump the grains in, and strain the water off once the grains are cooked through. They come out perfect every time (and yes, this method also works with rice).
While the quinoa is cooking, we’ll chop some onions, celery, and mushrooms to start sauteéing in our dutch oven. While the veggies are cooking we add just enough water or vegetable stock to prevent them from sticking so we can keep them moving freely around the pan as we stir. When the liquid evaporates, we simply add a little more until our veggies have become tender.
Once the veggies are tender, we’ll add the next batch of sauté ingredients, which are purple cabbage, chopped apple, dried cranberries (if you can find them without added oil or sugar) or raisins, chopped pecans, and some garlic. Once those ingredients are tender, it’s time to finish the mixture off with some cracked black pepper, WYW Zesty Seasoning Blend and a generous amount of fresh chopped parsley to bring those Fall flavors home.
WYW Zesty Seasoning Blend is so good for this dish because the bright flavors of the orange and lemon peel in it perfectly compliment the fruit and nuts in the filling. You don’t have to purchase Zesty; the dish will still be great but we found that it really did elevate the flavors of every other ingredient, so be sure to click the link to grab a shaker or two for yourself. It’s good on SO many other dishes too!
All that’s left to do now is pull the squash out of the oven, flip them over, and fill them up with our sweet and savory mixture. We’ll finish them off by putting them back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes just to let all those flavors come together and caramelize a bit.