Baked Stuffed Squash with Mushroom Wild Rice & Tempeh
You may look at the details below and want to high-tail it out of here, but I PROMISE it's really not difficult. A few more steps than your typical pasta and sauce dish, yes, but nothing you can't handle. If this former SPAM casserole gal can do it, so can you. Turn on your favorite music, light a plant-scented candle, and make a favorite cup of tea. Eventually you'll get faster at making dishes like this but learn to enjoy the experience. I used to think of meal prep as only a means to an end. I still have my quick and easy meal nights, but these days the meal prep is part of the meal itself. The whole experience nourishes me.
2 large (or 3 small) acorn squashes Half stick Earth Balance or real butter (with no hormones and antibiotics) sea salt and pepper to taste
1 cup wild rice mix (I used Lundberg's Wild Blend) 1/2 medium onion, chopped 2 stalks celery, chopped 1/2 lb. shiitake mushrooms, chopped (4-6) 1 package tempeh (I used multi-grain but any kind is fine) 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 tbsp nutritional yeast 1 1/2 tsp thyme 1/4 cup pine nuts, half reserved, half dry-roasted
FOR ROASTING SQUASH
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut tops of squash, then place squash flat side down and cut each in half. Scoop out all the seeds in the middle so you have little squash cups. Slice off about a quarter square of your butter and using fingers, rub onto the sides and middle of squash, leaving a little extra in the centers of the cups. Sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. Cut off a small piece of the bottoms so each half lies flat.
Fill baking pans with about an inch of water. Place squash in baking pans. I used 8x8 square baking pans.
Oven should still be warming a bit, so start prepping rice. Measure two cups of water for one cup of rice and set to boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and cover.
At this time, put the squash into the oven. Don't worry if it's not quite at 400 degrees yet. Set time for 30 minutes. (25 minutes for smaller squash)
Now begin the chopping process for all your veggies. Chop the tempeh into rows, then squares, and then one more chopping so you have small pieces. Once complete, add to a skillet and pan-fry on medium-low heat with the rest of your butter for about 8 minutes, adding the tempeh first so it browns.
After those 8 minutes, check your rice. It should be about al dente stage and ready to add to your skillet mix. Pan-fry for another 4-5 minutes, adding nutritional yeast, thyme, and the dry-roasted pine nuts to the mix just before removing from heat.
At this time, the squash should be ready. Remove from oven (careful because there will be hot steam) and using a large spoon, drop spoonfuls into the squash "cups". Top with the rest of the pine nuts and place back in oven.
Set timer for 10 minutes.
Remove from oven, allow to cool for a few minutes, and serve.