I really thought that after the first month or so of living out of my parents house that I would get sick of cooking. I feel like I have an inner Jamie Oliver lodged in my soul that’s trying to make his way out via fall inspired recipes.
‘Tis the season for squash sales. My poor boyfriend is probably sick of the sight of the dang things, there is always at least one plonked on our counter waiting to be rendered into something magical on the taste buds.
This time I went with butternut squash – probably my favourite of all the squashes. Look at me, I’m pathetic. I have a favourite type of squash. Send help.
To be honest I originally was going to be boring and make some squash chips and call it a day. But, I was feeling creative, and also far too hungry to feel satiated with some piddly little chips; so, the stuffed squash was born (with a little help from the hundred’s of Pinterest recipes I saw).
Basically, I just winged it and hoped for the best. Story of my life pretty much.
I’ve been making a conscious effort for some time now to reduce my meat consumption for various reasons which made creating this dish a good challenge. I knew I would enjoy it because like I’ve said before I’ll eat pretty much anything that’s put in front of me… but would my meat-loving boyfriend also give it a thumbs up?
Now, onto the recipe…
What you’ll need:
- 1 medium butternut squash
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- Pinch of salt
- 1 cup rice (I used brown jasmine rice but any will do)
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2.5 cups water, or broth (chicken or veggie)
- 1/2 cup cheese
- 1 tbsp salsa
- 1/2 cup red pepper, chopped
- 1/2 cup black beans
- 1/2 corn
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1 package taco seasoning
- 1 cup spinach
- Preheat oven to 400F
- Chop butternut squash in half length-ways, scoop out the seeds, and drizzle the inside with the teaspoon of olive oil. Make sure the olive oil is rubbed evenly onto the squash. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt on each half. Place in preheated oven for 55mins.
- While the squash is in the oven, make a start on preparing the rice. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter into a large saucepan or colander and add 1 cup rice in. Sizzle that around for a couple of minutes and then add your 2.5 cups water (or broth), cover and bring it to a boil. After that, keep it covered and let it simmer for another 20 or so minutes, stirring every so often. Rice is a process to cook so be patient, eventually the water will disappear! Once the water has all evaporated, and your rice is no longer crunchy, you’re good!
- As your rice is simmering, start dry frying your peppers and onions, just to take the “rawness” out of them. That way, when you add them to the rice they’re already partially cooked and you’re not at risk of chomping on some raw onion.
- Once the rice is done, add the onions, peppers, corn, black beans, 2/3 of the shredded cheese, and the salsa. Mix together until all combined. Then add in the package of taco seasoning and throughly mix that in as well.
- At this point you can add your spinach in. The reason I did this last is because spinach disappears real quick if you cook it for too long, and I wanted it to just cook enough that it wasn’t raw, but not too much that it disintegrated. Leave the mixture in the pan on a very low heat.
- At this point, your squash should be fully cooked. Scoop out the insides of the squash, leaving a ~1cm layer of squash on the skin. Put the insides into the rice mixture that you just prepared and mix it in. Get your muscles ready because the mixture gets pretty heavy at this point! Once that’s all mixed in, you can scoop the mixture back into the squash “shells” that you have just created. You will have some filling left over (save that for the next day it tastes amazing re-heated).
- Pop your oven onto broil, sprinkle the two stuffed squash shells with the remaining cheese, and put them in just long enough for the cheese to melt. Let sit for a few minutes, and serve!
It’s as easy as that! I know it looks intimidating, but it really is simple. As long as you can manage to cook the squash and the rice, the rest is just mixing bits together and transferring it from one place to another.
And, if you’re wondering what the boyfriend’s review was… “it actually tastes like it has meat in it, you can’t even tell that it’s meatless…!!”. So, there you have it, the vegetarian stuffed squash has the dude approval!
Let me know if you give it a try at home, this one is definitely going to become a fall staple in my house.
For more fall inspired recipes, click here!
Until next time