Acorn Squash Stuffed with Five Grain Pilaf and Tempeh

This would be a great thing to serve to vegans on Thanksgiving: it looks festive, has seasonal fall flavors, and is a filling meat-free main dish.

I used a grain mix, but you could use any single grain you like. The idea is simple: saute onion and garlic with some diced tempeh. Add seasonings and fold in cooked grain. While you are doing all this, let acorn squash roast until tender and then stuff it with the pilaf. That’s it.

It is actually not so complicated to make, so it is a nice weekday vegan supper, too. I brought some to Leora, and she says I should mention that she really liked it. A lot. My husband liked it so much that he wants it added to the regular rotation, and he is more a meat and potatoes type of eater than a fan of vegan cuisine. Which is a way of saying that this dish pleases the health conscious but also has that crucial mainstream crossover appeal.

The combination of grains, vegetables and seasonings is unusually savory. What I especially like is the way that the tempeh seamlessly blends in with the other ingredients. Tempeh can sometimes be a bit of a tough sell–this recipe has a great chance of converting the tempeh suspicious.

The Kosher Connection, an informal group of creative kosher food bloggers from all around the world, proudly present the first kosher recipe challenge.  Each month we will present you with recipes on a different theme from all the kosher food bloggers.

This month is root vegetables!  Follow our recipes on Twitter with #KosherRecipes.

Acorn Squash Stuffed with Five Grain Pilaf and Tempeh
You can serve the halves as main dish servings, or you can cut the squash into wedges and serve it to more people as a side dish. The recipe evolved from a Moosewood recipe for sweet potato quinoa tempeh burgers. If you don’t have a grain blend, using all quinoa or  a your own mix of quinoa with wild rice and brown rice will work, too. I only made one acorn squash, but there was a ton of filling left over, and  you can easily fill two acorn squash (four halves) and possibly three acorn squash (six halves).

2-3 Acorn squash, halved, seeded, rubbed with oil (coconut oil is nice) and placed on a baking sheet
1/2 cup of a grain blend (I used Nature’s Earthly Choice Heritage Grain Blend, which has red and gold quinoa, brown and wild rice, plus amaranth)
water as per instructions on package of grain mix (Instruction will refer to a whole cup of grain, so either cut the liquid in half, or make the full batch of pilaf and save half for something else. Or double the recipe so you can use a full batch of cooked grain pilaf.)
very large onion, chopped
2 very large cloves garlic, minced
olive oil, enough to coat bottom of pot, maybe a couple of Tbl.
8 ounces tempeh (I used three grain), cut in little cubes
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1-2 Tbl. soy sauce
1/2-1 tsp. miso (optional, miso is salty, so use it and the soy sauce with discretion, adding a little as a time, making sure to not make everything too salty)
1 tsp. oregano
1/8-1/4 tsp. poultry seasoning (this gives everything the Thanksgiving taste)

Roast the acorn squash, cut side down, in a 400 degree oven until tender (about a half hour to 45 minutes, about the time it will take for you to make the pilaf).

Cook the grain blend per package instructions. Set aside while you saute the vegetables and tempeh

Saute the onion in oil in large pot (6 qt Dutch oven) until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic, salt and pepper, and keeping cooking for another couple of minutes while you dice the tempeh. Add the tempeh and keep cooking, stirring often. A fond may form on the bottom of the pot (you know, that carmelized brown stuff the accumulates on the bottom of pots when you saute). You want the tempeh to brown a little, but most of the browning may be on the bottom of the pot. Add the soy sauce (just 1 Tbl. at first) to deglaze (dissolve the brown stuff from the bottom of the pot). If the carmelized gunk on the bottom of the pot sticks stubbornly, add a couple of Tbl. of water and stir to dissolve the stuff off the pot bottom and then boil off the excess liquid. Add the other seasonings: oregano, poultry seasoning, and more soy sauce and miso as needed to salt to taste. (The miso will mix in better if you first dissolve it into the soy sauce in a small bowl).

Fold the cooked grain into the tempeh mixture. Adjust seasoning to taste.

After all this work making the pilaf, chances are that your acorn squash are done. Pull them from the oven and stuff with filling.  The amount of filling per squash half is at your discretion. You might have extra filling.

Note: this filling should work as a stuffing for other vegetables. I have already used another version as a filling for eggplant. Red peppers would also work, I think. The acorn squash are especially appropriate for Autumn, though.

Sweet Potato Pilaf variation: Add a mashed roasted sweet potato to the pilaf and serve it as a pilaf instead of stuffing it into acorn squash. You can also form burgers or mini loaves out of the mixture (take a look at the recipe for the burgers).

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4 Responses to “Acorn Squash Stuffed with Five Grain Pilaf and Tempeh”

  1. koshertamar Says:

    Love the idea to use the mixed grains in this.

  2. Yosef - This American Bite Says:

    Nice… I love squash and I love pilaf.

  3. Vegan Lentil Tempeh Meatballs | Pragmatic Attic Says:

    […] some more, swapping the mushrooms for tempeh to see if that helped. In the end, I fused together this recipe with the Lentil Mushroom Meatballs […]

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