Vegan Stuffed Squash–Last Night’s Epicurean Delight

| October 25, 2009 | 0 Comments

Last night, I cooked an alternative version of the traditional stuffed acorn squash with rice dish.  Instead, I replaced rice with millet, an uncommon but nutrition powerhouse ( and gluten-free) grain.

Before I tell you about my delicious and aesthetically pleasing, eye-catching dish (and there is a picture to prove it), let me give you some information on millet.

It has been hypothesized that the cultivation of millet was of greater prevalence in prehistory than rice, especially in northern China and Korea. Millet made its way from China to the Black Sea region of Europe by 5000 BCE, where it spread widely due to its resistance to drought.

Millet’s protein content is very close to that of wheat; both grains provide about 11% protein by weight.  Millet is rich in B vitamins, especially niacin, B6 and folic acid, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, and zinc. Millet contains no gluten, so although it is not very suitable for raised bread, it is very suitable for those who are gluten intolerant, have celiac disease, or other forms of allergies/intolerance to gluten.  However, word of caution:  millet is also a mild thyroid peroxidase inhibitor and probably should not be consumed in large quantities by those with thyroid disease.  Otherwise, bon appetite!

Another derivation in this recipe is that I used a Red Kuri (Hokkaido) squash, a red-orange Japanese squash that averages about 5-10 lbs. each and is teardrop-shaped. The golden flesh is smooth, dry, sweet and rich. This squash is available year round and can be baked, braised, pureed, or steamed to be served as a side dish or used as a base for soups.

Okay, now that the main ingredients have been discussed, let’s move on to the actual recipe.

Vegan Stuffed Squash

Ingredients:

  • 2-4 Squashes (feel free to use any type you please!), halved lengthwise; seeds and membrane removed.
    • Note:  Keep the seeds!  Rinse the seeds, pat them dry, and spread them out evenly on a baking sheet that has been lightly sprayed.  Spray seeds with olive oil or Earth Balance, sprinkle with salt or other seasonings.  Bake the seeds in the oven at 375 F for about 15 minutes, or until they are golden brown.
  • 1 cup millet (prepare millet as stated on package instructions; use veggie broth instead of water for more flavor)
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 3 cups of fresh baby spinach (add more or less as desired)
  • ½ block of vegan Follow Your Heart Nacho Cheese chopped into small chunks (this adds great flavor and texture—optional, or feel free to use any other vegan brand you prefer)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ½ cup pecans, chopped (use any type of nut you prefer)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2-1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • cilantro–to garnish

Preparation:   1. Preheat oven to 375 F 2.  Prepare millet and set aside 3. Place squash halves face down in a large, shallow baking dish or cookie sheet; bake squash for 30 minutes 4. In a skillet, sauté the garlic and onions in the olive oil; add all seasonings listed; add carrots, nuts, and vegan cheese and continue sautéing.  Finally, add the spinach until all veggies are cooked to perfection!  5.  Add the millet to the sauté mixture; mix together.  6.  Remove the squash from the oven; scoop out some of the flesh and mix with the millet/veggie mixture; make sure to leave some squash flesh still in the squash!  7.  Fill each squash half with the millet mixture until a mound forms.  8.  Cover with aluminum foil and bake for another 30 minutes or until squash is tender all the way through.  9.  Enjoy!

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