This is an easy, delicious, inexpensive and kid-friendly way to get more veg into your dinnertime plan. Substitute vegetable stock for chicken stock and boom! Vegetarian. I love using a mix of sweet dried fruit along with the texture of the nuts and rice and crunch of the cheesy breadcrumbs. Of course, my kid can’t eat nuts so if he’s home for dinner, its pumpkin seeds for the win!
Easy! A couple of components that hook up together and get baked 😉
1 acorn squash
1/2 cup wild rice (a blend from the supermarket is perfect)
1 cup chicken or vegetable stock
1 handful baby spinach (or other leafy green, cleaned, stemmed, &
chopped or torn into 1″ pieces)
1 clove garlic, chopped
Salt + Pepper
2 tsp + 2 T olive oil
1/2 cup total of chopped nuts (pecans! walnuts! hazelnuts! heck, even pumpkin and sunflower seeds!) and/or dried fruit like currants, raisins or apricots
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated hard cheese like asiago, warm or grana padano
1. Cut squash in half, hollow out and discard/compost the seeds (or roast them for another use.) Place squash cut side down in a baking dish with enough water to come 1/2″ up the side of the skin. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350° until mostly done, about 35-45 minutes depending on the squash. A sharp knife will poke through the skin easily, and err on the side of too done. You don’t want crunchy squash.
2. Meanwhile, cook the wild rice in chicken/veg stock according to your rice package instructions. While that’s cooking, sauté the greens in 2 tsps olive oil and chopped garlic with a pinch of salt until just wilted. Mix the greens with the rice and add some chopped nuts, dried currants or chopped raisins or dried apricots. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
3. Carefully remove the squash from the water bath and turn cut side up onto a cookie sheet. You can squish the squash down a little if it seems wobbly. Turn the oven up to 450ºF. Fill the cavity of the squash with the rice mix. In a small bowl, mix breadcrumbs, grated parm and remaining 2 T olive oil with a few cracks of pepper. Top the squash and rice mix with breadcrumbs. Bake squash until the top is dark brown and crispy.