Pecan and Veggie Stuffed Squash

Gluten free, nut free option, vegan option, vegetarian  

 

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I know, I know. It's not officially fall yet. But with all the fall fruits and veggies starting to pop up at the farmer's market, the hubbub of back to school season, and Halloween merchandise  littering the aisles of every chain store, how do you not start to feel as though it SHOULD be fall!? Am I right? Of course I am! So instead of fighting it, I'm embracing it.   

While at the farmer's market this morning, this beautiful green kabocha squash was staring me down as I was trying to pick out beets. How could I not throw this lumpy beauty in my bag and call it my dinner? The aromas of the stuffed squash filled the house as it cooked, and the flavor and textures were so inviting that  even my 3 year-old eagerly gobbled up her serving.

There really is no right or wrong way to stuff a squash, so I just had at it with the other seasonal veggies and herbs I had on hand. Add or subtract whatever you like. The likelihood of you messing it up is nil. 

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Ingreidents  

2 pound squash of choice (or you could use a pumpkin if you like) 

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup of mushrooms, minced

1 small green pepper, minced

1/2 of a red onion, minced

1 small summer squash (about 1/2 a cup), diced

1 cup brown rice, cooked to direction

1/4 cup raw pecans, roughly chopped (optional)

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (optional)

1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped

1 1/2 Tablespoons fresh chives, chopped

Coconut oil

salt & pepper to taste

 

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and make sure rack is in the lowest position in the oven.

2. Slice squash in half and scoop out seeds.

3. Place squash open side down in a baking dish. Pour water into the pan until it is filled about 1/4 of an inch. 

4. Cover with foil and cook the squash for 30 - 40 minutes or until very tender

5. While the squash is cooking, heat a tablespoon of coconut oil in a pan. Sauté garlic, mushrooms, green pepper, onions, herbs, and salt and pepper (to taste) until tender and allow to cool.   

6. In a medium mixing bowl, mix rice, pecans, and 1/2 cup of cheese. Once sautéed veggie mixture is cooled a bit, add to bowl and mix. 

7. Once done cooking, use a brush to coat the inside of the squash with coconut oil and season with salt and pepper before adding filling. Spoon filling into the squash and top with remaining cheese.

8. Cover squash again and put it back in the oven for 15-20 minutes, removing foil for last 5 minutes to allow cheese to brown. 

9. Enjoy while hot.