Squash has been an American staple for thousands of years, being considered one of the major food sources for Native Americans for generations. They have survived the test of time due to their abundance, flavor, health benefits, and of course intriguing looks, making them a celebrated addition to the fall holiday table.
This is a fairly simple recipe that utilizes one of the more commonly known varieties: acorn squash. Because of the acorn squash's unique shape, cutting it out of the skin before roasting is quite difficult, so the favored way to serve it is typically to roast it and scoop out the flesh or stuff the seed cavity. Stuffing the seed cavity creates a fun serving method that adds a touch of whimsy to your meal. It’s also a great way to combine the flavors of the stuffing and squash into one dish.
The long roasting time of this squash allows plenty of time to make the delicious stuffing, as well as any additional accompaniments for the meal. Not that much is needed, since this dish is quite hearty on its own. However, a small meat dish or salad would pair with it wonderfully.
The rich, earthy flavor of the mushrooms and onions is perfectly balanced out by the cheesy mozzarella and the sweet flesh of the roasted squash. The rice adds a bit more heft as well as a protein source, and the spinach brings it all together with a dash of green vitamin goodness. This is the perfect healthy fall dish to serve your family.
Veggie Stuffed Acorn Squash with Mushrooms, Spinach, and Rice
- 2 medium acorn squash, sliced in half and seeds removed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup sliced cremini mushrooms
- 1/2 a medium onion, sliced thin
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce or gluten free tamari
- 2 cups packed spinach leaves
- 1/4 cup white rice, cooked according to package instructions
- 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
Preheat the oven to 415 degrees.
Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil over the cut sides of the squash halves. Place squash cut side down on a baking sheet and bake for 35 to 45 minutes. The flesh will be fork tender when done.
While the squash cooks, heat the other tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and mushrooms to the pan and sauté for 4 to 5 minutes. The mushrooms should release their juice and the onions should begin to caramelize.
Stir in the soy sauce and spinach. Cook until the spinach is wilted. Remove from heat and stir in the rice.
Adjust the seasonings and set aside until the squash is done.
Once the squash is cooked, carefully flip it over and spoon the mushroom mixture into the seed cavity of each squash. Top with the mozzarella cheese and place back in the oven for 8 to 10 minutes. The cheese should be melted and bubbly when done.
Move the stuffed squash to a serving platter and serve immediately.