Tofu, Wild Rice and Hazelnut Stuffed Acorn Squash

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Tofu, Wild Rice and Hazelnut Stuffed Acorn Squash

I had a beautiful acorn squash that I needed to use before it turned and I had been dreaming up a delicious vegan stuffed dish. The smells alone from this were incredible and the flavors couldn’t have been more perfect together. I have to admit, I think I am most obsessed with Autumn and all of the foods associated with it. Even though produce is becoming a bit limited, there is something about experimenting and trying out new recipes with all of the wonderful ingredients that are in season. Each season, I make an effort to try at least one new seasonal ingredient that I have never cooked with. So far for this season it’s delicata squash, I picked one up this week and I am still trying to figure out what I would like to make with it. Got any suggestions? What new seasonal ingredient are you going to try for the first time this Autumn?

This dish had so much flavor, the crunch from the nuts with the creamy squash and the nutty sweetness from the rice were all absolutely made for each other. I had been thinking about adding kale for color and extra nutrients, but honestly forgot until I pulled it out to serve it. Next time.  Other great additions to the stuffing would be dried cranberries or even apples. You could also use walnuts or pecans instead of hazelnuts. I love all the variations and improvisations you can take with cooking, you can really make a dish unique every time you make it. Have fun.

Tofu, Wild Rice and Hazelnut Stuffed Acorn Squash
serves 4

1 medium acorn squash, cut in half
2 tablespoons fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup uncooked wild rice blend
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 package firm tofu, pressed* and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/2 cup hazelnuts, chopped and toasted
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375°F. Cut each Squash in half crosswise. Scoop out and discard the seeds and strings. Place on rimmed baking sheet or in baking pan, cut side up. Sprinkle each half with a little salt, pepper, and fresh sage. Using 1 tablespoon of olive oil, drizzle each half with the oil. Cover the pan with foil and bake the squash just until moist and a bit tender, about 30-45 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook your rice according to the package directions.

In a saute pan, heat your olive oil over medium to high heat. Add your tofu and fry until brown and your desired amount of crispiness is received. When done remove to a paper towel line plate. Reduce the heat to medium, add more olive oil if needed, add chopped onion and saute for 2-3 minutes until it begins to soften, add garlic and saute another 3 minutes until both are soft but before they begin to brown. Remove from heat.

In a large bowl, combine cooked rice, tofu, sautéed onions and garlic, fresh sage, and the toasted walnuts. When the squash is done, remove from the oven and spoon out some of the cooked squash to the bowl with the rest of your ingredients. Be sure to only scrape a little, you will want to leave some squash in the shells. Mix the ingredients together, salt and pepper to taste.

Press the rice mixture into the squash halves, dividing it evenly. You can round the stuffing above the rim of the squash shell. You may have rice mixture left over depending on how big your squash is. It is a great side dish on its own.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20-30 minutes or until the squash flesh is thoroughly tender and it is warm throughout.

*To press tofu, drain the water from the package and lightly squeeze the tofu between paper towels to remove excess moisture.

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3 Responses

  1. Joshua says:

    Great recipe. For someone jumping into the vegan pond, this was wonderful and tasty! I amended the recipe by adding 1 cup chopped cranberries (being a native new englander, I always have a bag or two in the freezer to tide me over through the year), swapped cashews for the hazelnuts, and added fresh parsley and a tablespoon of Nutritional Yeast on each squash half. Absolutely delightful!

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