If you’re a bit bored with basic roasted squash, it’s time to broaden your horizons. There are many varieties to choose from as we approach peak squash season. With so many beautiful and unusual squashes at the local markets, its easy to add a few different varieties right into your shopping bag at some of the best prices you’ll see all year.
Take your pick amongst all the different sizes and colors, but a sweet dumpling and acorn squash are my dependable choices. Hollowing out the middle of your selected squash and filling it with any combination of your favorite vegetables, grains, nuts or berries creates a satisfying meatless meal. Visually appealing, a stuffed squash, roasted to perfection, may appear complex but the finished meal is typically prepared and served in less than an hour.
Squash is believed to be the oldest cultivated food in North America and is eaten extensively by dozens of native tribes. Winter squash provides one of the richest sources of plant-based anti-inflammatory nutrients. Be certain to purchase organically grown squash to avoid unwanted contaminants like polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
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If carving out winter squash isn’t in the cards, leave the hard work to the culinary experts at Cafe Botanica. Open daily from 9am-4pm, their ever-changing menu is inspired by the Sonoran desert and they commit to using local and organically grown ingredients. Cafe Botanica is not a vegan restaurant, but kindly accommodates vegan requests, as all dishes are made to order.
A big thank you goes out to local farms, San Xavier Co-op Farm, Sleeping Frog Farms, and Old Pueblo Mushroom Growers for providing the organically grown ingredients needed to make this weeks meal possible.
Wild Rice Stuffed Roasted Squash Recipe
- 2 medium squash*
- 2 cups of wild rice, cooked*
- 2 cups of chard or kale, finely chopped*
- 2 tbsp avocado oil*
- 1 leek, finely chopped*
- 1 red onion, finely chopped*
- 1 carrot, finely chopped*
- 3 garlic cloves, minced*
- 1/4 cup mushrooms*
- 1/4 cup pine nuts*
- 1/4 cup pomegranate seeds*
- 1/2 tsp black pepper*
- 1/2 tsp sage*
- 1/2 tsp thyme*
- 1 tsp sea salt
- Cut tops off of squash and scoop out seeds. Trim bottom to sit level.
- Brush with oil, sprinkle with salt and bake for 30 minutes at 400º.
- Saute the vegetables in lightly oiled pan for 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, herbs, spices, pomegranate seeds, pine nuts and saute 1 minute.
- Add cooked wild rice and mix well.
- Fill the center of each squash, cover with foil and bake 15 minutes.
- Remove foil and bake 5 more minutes.
- Allow to cool and serve.
*Indicates organically grown