Vegan Main: A Cooking Class Favorite

Post by Paula Jahn, Co-owner and Dietitian at Nourish Northwest

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What do meat-lovers serve as a show-stopping main course? Prime rib? Rack of lamb? It can be difficult to create a plant-based main course that is beautiful, delicious and worthy of a dinner party. After brainstorming ideas for our vegan cooking classes, we think we found just the thing: Stuffed Acorn Squash.

This main course is not only impressive, but it has all the requirements of a balanced, complete meal. It has rice and beans (protein and fiber), greens and vegetables (loads of nutrients), mushrooms (umami) and a dash of hot sauce (zing!), all served in an edible, nutrient-dense little squash (sweetness).

Grab the last of the winter acorn squashes and make this tonight! If you have a small squash, you may have leftover filling…great for lunch!

So pretty!
So pretty!

Stuffed Acorn Squash

(Adapted from thesimpleveganista.blogspot.com)

Ingredients

Acorn Squash

3 acorn squashes, cut in half lengthwise and seeded

1 tsps thyme, divided

2 Tbs olive oil

Sea salt

Wild Rice Medley

1 cup rice brown or wild rice medley, dry

2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

1 small red or yellow bell pepper, diced

2 Tbs shallot (about 1 large), diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 cups crimini mushrooms, sliced

2 large handfuls greens chopped (Or use a 5 oz. combo package of baby kale, baby chard and baby spinach)

1 can cannellini or great northern beans (15 oz), drained and rinsed

1 Tbs fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped

1 tsp red pepper flakes, optional

Sea salt and cracked pepper to taste

Sriracha or hot sauce, to taste as garnish

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Season each squash half with about 1/4 tsp thyme along with a sprinkle of sea salt. Rub in a drizzle of olive oil into each half.
  3. Bake for 40-45 minutes on a baking sheet, cut side down, until tender. Knife should easily slide into the flesh.
  4. Bring rice and 2 cups salted water to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer for 40-45 minutes.
  5. Once the squash and rice are cooked, set aside to cool and begin with the vegetables.
  6. In large sauté pan, heat oil on medium heat. Add mushrooms and cook until browned. Add shallots, garlic and bell peppers. Sauté for about 5 minutes. Add beans, one tablespoon thyme, red pepper flakes, a few twists of salt and pepper, cook for another three minutes.
  7. Add leafy greens, stir frequently until they are wilted (you may also want to use a cover in between stirring to help soften the greens).
  8. Combine rice and sautéed vegetables in the larger of the two pots. Taste for seasoning adding additional salt and pepper as needed.
  9. Scoop mixture into each acorn squash half and serve with any additional seasonings.
  10. 10. Store leftovers in an air tight container in fridge for up to a week.

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