Time to practice what I was preachin’ a couple of days ago when I wrote about how I’m a “meat and potatoes” type of vegan. If you’re puzzled and thinking, “What the heck is she talking about?” You can see that here.
I am talking about lightening up on the heavy, condensed food and adding in lighter, leafier food. But just to keep us both on our toes, I am featuring something a little more challenging than simply adding a salad.
I chose to stuff a cute little Sweet Dumpling Squash. [What! Is she kidding? “Sweet Dumpling” does not convey lightness!] No, it doesn’t, but we’re going to lighten this up very nicely and we’ll have a very satisfying dish that is not extremely heavy.
Stuffed Sweet Dumpling Squash (Makes four to eight servings)
- Please use only organic ingredients whenever possible
- Four cute little Sweet Dumpling Squashes
- 1/2 cup cooked wild rice
- 1 cup chopped Italian parsley
- 1/2 cup carrots
- 1 Tablespoon diced fresh ginger
- 1/4 cup diced yellow onion
- 1/2 cup diced green pepper
- 1/4 cup corn kernels
- 1/2 cup of dry roasted pumpkin seeds
- 1-2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
- sea salt
- soy sauce
Several things were lightened up here.
- Less rice and more parsley and other vegetables
- Less oil which is going to be added to the stuffing just before baking. This is effective in adding the wonderful flavor of toasted sesame oil with out using very much. You could take it a step further and don’t add the oil into the stuffing at all and just drizzle a bit on top of the finished stuffed squashes and you’d probably use even less. I chose to mix the oil into the stuffing before baking and to saute the veggies in water.
- Roasted seeds instead of pecans or walnuts
- More onion, carrot and peppers, less corn. The corn will add color.
Wash the squashes and cut a circle around the top/stem as if it were a little pumpkin you’re going to carve. Set aside the top for later and take out the seeds and stringy part.
Wash the seeds by putting them in a strainer or colander and rinsing them in cold water. Heat up a cast iron or heavy pan and put the seeds in. They sizzle! Keep moving them around with a wooden spoon or other utensil until some of the seeds are just starting to brown and you hear little popping sounds. Take them out right away and put them into a paper bag. Sprinkle some soy sauce into the bag and shake to coat and season the seeds.
Cook the rice and wash and cut all the veggies up.
This part is up to you: You can lightly saute the onions, carrots, ginger, corn and peppers in the oil and then use the other tsp of oil to flavor the stuffing. Or if, like me, you really want to lighten it up, saute the veggies in a little water, adding a pinch of salt to bring out the flavors and just add the one tsp of oil into the stuffing. This is just a quick saute to soften the veggies for the stuffing. Make sure they don’t cook so much that they lose their bright colors.
Mix the wild rice, veggie saute, seeds together, add the chopped parsley and season as desired with a little more salt and some pepper. Now add the toasted sesame oil and mix that in to the stuffing.
Stuff the squashes. Put the tops back on! Stand the squashes up in a baking dish and put about 1 inch of water into the dish. Bake at 350 until the squash is tender but not falling apart—about 40 to 50 minutes.
When the squashes are done, let them cool a little before before serving. You can decide if you need a whole one or a half. Serve with leafy greens such as kale, mustard, collards etc and a pickled vegetable and you’ll have a satisfying but not deadly heavy meal!
These turned out sweet and delicious and not too heavy. Half of one of these cuties was enough for me!
- This combination of veggies will result in a distinct parsley flavor. If you don’t like that much parsley, try another green such as kale.
- If you want to speed up the cooking time, you can cut each squash in half and then stuff it OR you can pre-cook the squash a little by steaming it a few minutes before stuffing and baking.
- You can change the seasonings, try other veggies, use garlic with or without the ginger.
- The idea is to include a lot of veggetables to lighten the stuffing.