Black Cherry Rice “Stuffed” Kabocha Squash
Is any else still on a winter squash kick? I am waiting for my skin to turn orange from all the winter squash I’ve been eating at breakfast/lunch/dinner/dessert.
Example: Here’s yesterday’s eats with all my squash obsession…
Breakfast Parfait: plain Greek yogurt layered with pumpkin puree that is mixed with ground cinnamon, chopped walnuts, cinnamon Puffins cereal and a drizzle of honey
Lunch: Baked Butternut Squash Fries alongside a bunless bison burger topped with guacamole and sliced tomatoes
Dinner: This Black Cherry Rice “Stuffed” Kabocha Squash (recipe below)!
When Fall hits, I have a solid 4 months of squash lovin’ so I don’t intend on letting up anytime soon. I promise to keep the recipes to a minimum though, I won’t go overboard on the orange stuff as I assume some of you would like a little variety :)
Now onto today’s recipe!
While I could eat easily cooked kabocha plain, I whipped up a “stuffing” for a more complete dinner in an attempt to use up leftover rice. Yet, if you are on a squash hiatus, this rice “stuffing” would still be delicious as a side dish.
Sweet dried cherries and sauteed onions compliment the nutty brown rice and pepitas seeds beautifully. I tossed in a large handful of leafy spinach for added color and a nutritional punch so any leafy green can used in it’s place if desired.
Black Cherry Rice “Stuffed” Squash
1 medium kabocha squash, cut into quarters, deseeded or 2 acorn squash, halved and deseeded
Earth balance, olive oil, coconut oil, butter or ghee for brushing
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tsp coconut oil, butter, ghee or Earth Balance, divided
1/2 medium red onion, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced or finely chopped
2 cups cooked brown rice (white rice, wild rice, millet or quinoa can be substituted)*
1/3 cup unsweetened or juice-sweetened dried black cherries (dried bing cherries or dried cranberries can be used)
1 large handful fresh baby spinach or other leafy green (ex. kale or chard)
2-3 Tbsp pepita seeds, raw or lightly toasted (or other seeds or nuts)
freshly ground black pepper and sea salt to taste
1. To bake squash, preheat oven to 375F. Brush the squash quarters with olive oil/melted butter/Earth Balance, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste and place cut sides down in a lightly greased baking dish. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes until flesh is soft to the touch.
2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 2 tsp oil/butter/Earth Balance over medium heat. Add onions and saute for 6 to 7 minutes until soft, stirring often. Add garlic cloves and saute for another 2 minutes until fragrant. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
3. Add remaining 1 tsp oil, rice and cherries to the pan and saute rice for 2 minutes stirring frequently.
4. Add in spinach and cook until wilted, about 1-2 minutes.
5. Stir in pepitas, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
6. To serve, divide “stuffing” amongst cooked squash quarters and enjoy!
*If you cook your rice (or other grain) in vegetable stock, it gives this dish an additional flavor boost!