Sunday, November 28, 2010

Roasted Squash Stuffed with Corn Bread Dressing

There are two components to this wonderful vegan entree - first making the corn bread, then assembling the stuffed squash.  It's worth the time and effort however; the corn bread can be made and toasted ahead of time, and you can roast and refrigerate the squash up to 2 days in advance, so you're not actually doing too much when it comes time to prepare dinner.  Make sure to buy acorn squash that are about 1 pound each; some of the ones I see in the supermarket these days are nearly twice that size!

A quick note on the term "dressing," since it refers in this recipe not to a liquid dressing as for a salad, but rather as a term interchangeable with "stuffing."  There is really no difference between a stuffing and a dressing, and I assume it is only used in this recipe title to avoid using the word "stuffing" redundantly.

For the Maple Corn Bread:
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup masa harina
  • 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 and 1/2 cups water
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 5 tablespoons melted vegan butter
  • 1 finely chopped jalapeno pepper
1. Coat a 9-inch cast-iron skillet with the canola oil and place in an oven preheated to 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

2. While the skillet preheats, lightly spoon the flour and masa harina into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife.  Combine the flour, masa harina, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.

3. Combine the water, maple syrup, melted butter, and jalapeno, stirring with a whisk.  Add to the flour mixture and stir until moist.  Spoon the batter into the preheated pan - work quickly because the batter will start to set almost instantly against the hot cast-iron.

4. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes - a wooden pick inserted in the center should come out clean.  Remove the corn bread from the skillet and cool completely on a wire rack.

Note: you won't have to use all of the corn bread for the stuffing that follows, so enjoy leftover slices alongside a bowl of soup or chili.  If you prefer, you could also just make the corn bread and stop reading this post right now.

Nutrition Info:
12 servings (1 wedge), Calories 184

If you're interested in the stuffed squash, read on...

  • 7 and 1/2 cups (1/2-inch) cubed Maple Corn Bread
  • Cooking spray
  • 5 acorn squash (about 1 pound each)
  • 4 cups boiling water, divided
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup dried currants
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 cup finely chopped celery
  • 1 cup finely chopped carrot
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup toasted and chopped pecans*
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1. Arrange the corn bread cubes in a single layer on a jelly roll pan or baking sheet coated with cooking spray.  Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, stirring twice (at about the 10 and 20 minute marks); set aside.

2. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and discard the seeds and membranes.  Arrange the squash, cut sides down, in a 13x9-inch baking dish.  Coat with cooking spray, and pour 2 cups boiling water over the squash.  Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Remove the squash from the pan with a slotted spoon once out of the oven, and place on a baking sheet - but leave the hot water in the pan!

3. While the squash bakes, combine the dried cranberries, currants, and remaining 2 cups boiling water in a bowl; cover and let stand for 30 minutes, then drain and set aside.

4. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the onion; saute for 5 minutes.  Add the celery, carrot, sage, and garlic; saute for 3 minutes.

5. Now it's time to put it all together: Combine the toasted corn bread cubes, the cranberry/currant mixture, the onion mixture, vegetable broth, pecans, parsley, salt, and black pepper, and toss to coat.  Spoon about 1 cup of the dressing into each squash half, pressing down so it is firmly in place.  Place the squash, stuffed sides up, in the baking dish.

6. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. 

Note: I actually baked in two batches (5 stuffed squash halves each time) to avoid overcrowding the dish.  I have a hard time imagining how the author of this original recipe fit all 10 squash halves in at one time.

*Don't forget to toast the pecans first - about 4 to 5 minuets in a dry skillet over medium heat will do the trick. Shake or stir the pan frequently to avoid burning the nuts.

Nutrition Info:
10 servings (1 stuffed squash half), Calories 398

Tasting Notes:
A wonderful blend of savory, spicy (the jalapeno) and sweet (the dried fruit).  The stuffing itself was so good that the acorn squash underneath almost felt unnecessary (although was yummy, too).  I would, however, have liked the squash to be a bit more tender, so might recommend an extra 10 or 15 minutes of baking time when the squash are initially in the oven sans stuffing.  As for the Maple Corn Bread - equally delicious.  A nice bite from the jalapeno, but also the subtle sweetness of the maple syrup. 



  1. yum! this will be on my list of dinners this week

  2. Thank you! The stuffing is incredibly tasty, so let me know what you think. It feed a crowd, so you could even serve it for ladies lunch :)