Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Black Rice, Roasted Carrots, and Dried Cherries

With Thanksgiving quickly knocking at our door, it's important to maintain balance in our lives. We need to remember that "The Holiday's" are not an excuse to treat our bodies any different than we would on any given day throughout the year. With that being said, there are plenty of delicious recipes available to showcase a vegan diet, without giving up the seasonal flavors.

I wanted to post a recipe that I made last year, and plan on making again this year to bring to my parent's house. Stuffed acorn squash, a staple on an autumn dinner table, filled with hearty black rice, earthy carrots, sweet dried cherries, ginger, maple syrup and cinnamon will bring warmth and comfort to your holiday meal.

A nice accompaniment would be the "Autumn Mushroom Stew with Rosemary Mashed Potatoes" along with some Corn Bread Muffins and Miso -Glazed Green Beans and Mushrooms (which I also made last year) And for a vegan pumpkin pie recipe that is absolutely delish, go here.

Yummy food aside, and more importantly, take the time to count your blessings and spend it with the people you love. It's easy to get lost in what the season has become, but remember that these times are not about acquiring "things" but more about helping others, and being grateful for what you already have. There's a lot to say about living simply, because the greatest things in life are in fact, free.

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Black Rice, Roasted Carrots, and Dried Cherries.
Serves 8
These can be made one day ahead; cover (so the rice doesn't dry out) and reheat in a 350 degree oven.

Prep tip: If you'd like additional protein, add 8 oz extra-firm tofu, drained, dried, and cubed, on top of the carrot mixture before roasting (don't stir as it will stick to the pan)

4 acorn squashes
8 tsp canola oil, divided
1 tsp sea salt, divided
2 tsp ground coriander, divided
1/2 scant tsp ground nutmeg, divided
1 lb carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger
10 large sage leaves, chopped
3/4 cup coarsely chopped dried cherries
2 Tbsp maple syrup
1 Tbsp canola oil
3/4 cup finely diced onion
1 cup Chinese black rice
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

1. Preheat oven to 375. Cut squashes in half, lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Brush interiors with 4 tsp oil, then sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt, black pepper to taste, 1/2 tsp coriander, and scant 1/4 tsp nutmeg. Arrange halves on a baking sheet, cut-side down. Roast 40-50 minutes on the upper middle rack, until tender when pierced.
2. Combine remaining 4 tsps oil, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 1/2 tsps coriander, and 1/4 tsp nutmeg with carrots, pecans and ginger in an 8-inch baking dish; toss to combine. Roast at 375 for 30-40 minutes on the bottom middle rack, stirring every 10 minutes. When carrots are tender, stir in chopped sage, dried cherries, and maple syrup. Roast for an additional 10 minutes, then remove from oven.
3. While veggies are roasting, place a medium saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add 1 Tbsp canola oil. Add onion and saute for 2-3 minutes, until onion begins to soften. Stir in rice and cinnamon, then add broth. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil. reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
4. Combine rice with carrot mixture. Arrange squash halves, cut side up, on a serving platter; fill with rice mixture, pressing gently to secure.


Sandra said...

I just discovered black rice recently and got a bunch of it planning to make stuff with it. Definitely will make this, I love acorn squash. When you're done, give your backyard squirrels the leftover squash skins. :)

Jenni said...

I'm making this right now and my entire house smells heavenly. Did you tap your maple tree this year? You could use home-grown syrup!

Jenni said...

Oo! Look what else I just found....These look amazing!