It’s always hard to say goodbye to summer, but the arrival of fall brings so many delicious local foods to our plates! Stuffed squash is a favorite of ours during the fall and winter months, and it’s a go to recipe on a busy weeknight. Most of the time I don’t have a recipe on hand for stuffed squash, I’m just making it up based on the ingredients I find rolling around the fridge. It’s a great way to use up leftover CSA veggies before picking up your next share. Start with a grain, and a winter squash. Here I’m using delicata squash and jasmine rice. Preheat the oven to 400F, slice the squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds.
Rub the cut sides with olive oil, salt, and pepper then lay them cut side down for roasting. While the squash is roasting cook the grain according to package directions. 1 cup grain cooked, is usually enough to stuff two modest sized winter squash.
The next step is add veggies, nuts, beans, cheese, olives, etc to the cooked grain. Based on last week’s CSA shares I had cilantro, carrot, and red pepper laying around the farm kitchen. I also found a lime, so I went with a lime cilantro rice with grated carrot, diced pepper, and minced garlic. I cut the veggies small enough that they did not have to be sautéed before being mixed with the rice, but you can also sauté a vegetable mixture before adding to the stuffing. Carmelized onions always pair well with squash.
Other ideas for stuffing – quinoa, brown rice, spelt or farro, barley, couscous, etc. Any vegetables cooked or raw can be combined with the grain, mushroom, pepper, beet, carrot, radish, turnip, etc. A can of drained beans will add protein, or diced cheese. Topping the squash with crumbled soft cheese or grated cheese is also a great option. I toasted pumpkin seeds for garnish, any nut or seed adds texture or olives, capers, etc add a lot of flavor. Shredded or sliced meat is also an option. Get creative! When the squash is soft, but not collapsed remove from the oven, flip over and stuff with grain mixture.
Return to the oven for about 10 minutes, until squash is completely cooked and everything is heated through. Garnish with cheese, nuts, herbs or a combination of all three. The skin of some winter squash is edible, but for this preparation I like to just scoop out the soft flesh.
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