Stuffed Winter Squash Two Ways

Do you have a friend or family member coming over for Thanksgiving that is a vegetarian or has a food allergy? Ensuring there is something on the table for every loved one, regardless of dietary restrictions or preferences, is a great way to show care and consideration at a time when it matters more than ever. Personal chef and owner of Fridgeful Thinking, Liz Conlin shares two versions of Stuffed Winter Squash, one with meat and one that is vegan. Whether it gets eaten as a side dish or as a main entree, it is sure to please! Added bonus: extra stuffing is great the next morning reheated in a skillet and topped with a poached or fried egg.

Print Recipe
Stuffed Winter Squash Two Ways
Provided by Liz Conlin
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
To Start
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
  2. Cut each squash in half, lengthwise. Alternatively, for a fun fall look, cut about 1” off the top of your acorn or kabocha squash to make a cute little lid. Set the lid portion aside.
  3. Scoop out the squash seeds with a spoon and set aside for roasting later (if desired). Spray or baste cut sides of squash with oil and sprinkle with a little salt. Place on a lined baking sheet, cut side down (lids get added later).
  4. Roast squash 20-30 minutes. The time will depend on the size of your squash, so keep an eye on it, and start checking it for doneness around the 20-minute mark. It should feel a little soft when you press on it. When desired softness is reached, use tongs to flip them over to allow the steam to escape.
Vegan
  1. Meanwhile, make your stuffing. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 Tbsp oil to the pan. When oil begins to shimmer, add onions and a sprinkling of salt, stirring until they begin to soften.
  2. Increase heat to high. Add mushrooms and enough water to barely cover the mushrooms. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce heat to medium-high, and wait for the liquid to evaporate (the liquid will increase first as the mushrooms release water from their cells as they cook). The liquid should continue to boil, not just simmer. This is your time to go chop something or check on the squash while you wait for the liquid to cool. You’ll know the liquid is gone when mushrooms start to sizzle. If you’re drinking wine, feel free to accidentally spill some into the pan once that happens (optional, but the mushrooms will be grateful, and isn’t gratitude what Thanksgiving is about?). Give them a stir. They should be starting to brown.
  3. Reduce the heat back to medium, then add the tempeh, celery and apple. Cook for a few minutes, breaking the tempeh up into small pieces as you stir. Clear an area at the center of the pan. Drizzle a little oil onto the pan and add the minced garlic. Allow garlic to cook for roughly 30 seconds (or until you can smell it), then add dried cranberries, cooked grain of choice, and nuts. Rub herbs (except sage) between your fingers as you sprinkle them into the pan. Stir and continue to cook for another few minutes to allow flavors to meld. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Turn off stove and get to stuffing! Using a spoon or cookie scoop to fill squash with a generous amount of stuffing. Add squash lids to the baking sheet and bake about 10 minutes, or until everything begins to brown.
  5. If you want to roast your seeds, rid them of their pulp in a mesh strainer under running water, then coat with coconut aminos and a good drizzle of oil and spread out on a small rimmed baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper. Remove when they start smelling nutty (about 10-15 minutes).
  6. While squash is in the oven, fry the sage in a small skillet over medium heat in a little of the reserved pancetta grease.
  7. Remove everything from the oven. Top squash with roasted seeds and crispy sage.
Meat
  1. Meanwhile, make your stuffing: In a large, deep skillet, cook the pancetta over medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until crisp. Use a slotted spoon to remove pancetta to a medium-large bowl (sausage needs to fit in there, too). Pour remaining drippings into a separate bowl for later. Increase heat to medium-high. Drizzle a little oil into the pan. Squeeze chicken sausage out of its casing into the pan. Break up sausage into small pieces with a wooden spoon, pushing it around the pan so it browns evenly. Transfer cooked sausage to the bowl with the pancetta. Using the same skillet, reduce heat to medium.
  2. Add 1 Tbsp oil into the pan. When oil begins to shimmer, add onions and a sprinkling of salt, stirring until they begin to soften.
  3. Increase heat to high. Add mushrooms and enough water to barely cover the mushrooms. Bring the liquid to a boil, reduce heat to medium-high and wait for the liquid to evaporate. The liquid should continue to boil, not just simmer. This is your time to go chop something or check on the squash while you wait for the liquid to cook off. Be listening for the mushrooms to sizzle; that’s how you’ll know the liquid is gone. If you’re drinking wine, feel free to accidentally spill some into the pan once that happens (optional, but the mushrooms will be grateful, and isn’t gratitude what Thanksgiving is about?). Give them a stir. They should be starting to brown.
  4. Reduce the heat back to medium, then add the tempeh (if making the vegan version), celery and apple. Cook for a few minutes, until softened, and if using tempeh for the vegan recipe, breaking up the tempeh into small pieces as you stir.
  5. Clear an area at the center of the pan. Drizzle a little oil onto the pan and add the minced garlic, smashing it into the oil. Allow garlic to cook for roughly 30 seconds (or until you can smell it), then add dried cranberries, cooked grain of choice, nuts and cooked sausage and pancetta (for meat version). Rub herbs (except sage) between your fingers as you sprinkle them into the pan. Stir and continue to cook for another few minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Turn the stove off and get to stuffing! Use a spoon or cookie scoop to fill squash with a generous amount of stuffing. Add squash lids to the baking sheet and bake about 10 minutes, or until everything begins to brown.
  7. If you want to roast your seeds, rid them of their pulp in a mesh strainer under running water, then coat with coconut aminos and a good drizzle of oil and spread out on a small rimmed baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper. Remove when they start smelling nutty (about 10-15 minutes).
  8. While squash is in the oven, fry the sage in a small skillet over medium heat in a little oil.
  9. Remove everything from the oven. Top squash with roasted seeds and crispy sage.
Frisco STYLE
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