My brain is already in holiday mode, which means my stomach is already craving holiday feasts. Me? Wanting to eat ALL the food? Shocker, I know. Another surprise…I’ve already started a spreadsheet to organize the next few months, which includes the menus for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I wanted to do something different this year and definitely didn’t want to go the route of a frozen tofurkey.
While walking through the market, soaking in the awesome sites of fall produce, flowers, hay barrels, pumpkins, and gourds, I saw these gorgeous acorn squash and it clicked. The result is a hearty delicious dish of roasted squash filled with a stuffing that reminds me of what Grandma used to make. It can be a great replacement for the main course, with each person receiving one full half squash for the fellow veg-heads coming to dinner, or it can be easily shared as a side dish by scooping out portions of the tender squash and filling stuffing.
*Note: A day prior to making this recipe, you’ll need to prepare the bread for the stuffing. Cut the loaf of french bread into 1/2 inch cubes and lay flat on a baking sheet overnight or until the cubes are almost fully dried, with the center retaining just a bit of moisture. This should yield approximately 8 cups. You should be able to swap the french bread with a bag of vegan prepared stuffing bread cubes (equivalent to 8 cups), such as Arrowhead Organic Stuffing Mix if you want to make it a little easier.
- 3 acorn squash, halved
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 leaves sage, fresh, finely chopped
- 1 loaf of french bread, cut into 1/2 inch cubes, yields appoximately 8 cups
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 6-8 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ stalk celery, chopped
- 1 14 ounce tube Lightlife Gimme Lean Veggie Sausage
- 1 apple, skinned and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon thyme, fresh, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon sage, fresh, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon rosemary, fresh, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons oregano, fresh, finely chopped
- ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup walnuts, chopped
- 2 cups vegetable broth (I use Edward & Sons No-Chicken Broth)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter, melted
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Wash the squash, cut them in half (from stalk to bottom), then remove the seeds from the center with a spoon, forming a large pit in the center, clean of any other innards. Place the squash cut side up on a baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil on each and rub the oil over the entire top surface. Combine the minced garlic and chopped sage and divide into 6 portions. Rub the mixture in to each squash to spread the flavor while baking, then sprinkle each with salt and pepper. Bake for 40 minutes, then remove from heat.
3. While the squash is baking, prepare the stuffing. In a large frying pan, heat olive oil to medium high heat and add the chopped onion. Sauté 4-5 minutes or until they begin to soften. Add garlic and celery and continue to sauté for another 2-3 minutes. Add the sausage and break into small pieces using a spatula. Sauté until the sausage begins to brown. Add the apple, thyme, sage, rosemary, and oregano and continuing sautéing for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and move to a large mixing bowl.
4. Add the bread cubes, cranberries, walnuts, and unsweetened applesauce (to bind the mixture) and stir well. Pour one cup of the broth over the mixture and with your hands, combine the broth with the mixture. When all of the broth has been soaked up and fully combined, add the second cup of broth a bit at a time and continue to mix with your hands, kneading and squeezing to create a mature somewhat resembling a thick paste. You should still feel a few hard chunks of dried bread cubes. Stop adding broth when this texture is achieved. Add the salt and melted butter and combine well.
5. After 40 minutes of roasting, the squash should still be somewhat firm, but getting tender when tested by poking with a fork. Divide the stuffing into 6 portions and place in the center of each squash, packing well. Place the baking sheet back into to oven and bake for another 40 – 60 minutes, or until the squash is very tender and the stuffing begins to brown on top.
Did you make this recipe? Please let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and share a picture using #gingerveganista on Instagram and tag @TheGingerVeganista or Twitter and tag @GingerVeganista or Facebook and tag The Ginger Veganista. Can’t wait to hear from you!