We’re several weeks away from Thanksgiving in the U.S., but I’m already on the hunt for excellent vegetarian recipes fit for a feast. Thanksgiving usually includes vegetarian side dishes, not to mention plenty of vegetarian-friendly desserts. Still, most omnivore hosts forget that vegetarians appreciate hearty protein, too, even if they’re not up for gnawing on a turkey leg.
Tofurkey exists for just such an occasion, and for vegans and vegetarians without digestive issues, it’s a lovely surprise to find a vegan protein option at the table. Unfortunately, I don’t fit that vegetarian demographic. Within an hour of eating tofurkey, I’m rolled into the fetal position and cursing the processed soy gods.
Last year, Cameron and I made a delicious vegetarian ricotta cheese tart topped with oven-roasted tomatoes. It was a hit with Cameron’s family, so we’ll be baking it again this year, but we also want to provide a more festive vegetarian entree that’s also balanced with some nondairy protein.
First up for our holiday main dish try-outs: Vegetarian Times’ Ultimate Stuffed Acorn Squash. Vegetarian and gluten-free, this baked acorn squash recipe is far from vegan (the ingredient list includes cheese and an egg), but your ovo-lacto vegetarian guests will feel mighty special to have such a hearty entree to dig into.
Ultimate Stuffed Acorn Squash (a Vegetarian Times recipe)
- 1.5 TBS olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.), divided
- 2 acorn squash, halved and seeded
- 1/4 tsp. ancho chile powder, plus more for sprinkling squash
- 1/4 tsp. ground coriander, plus more for sprinkling squash
- 1.5 cups fresh or frozen organic corn kernels, divided
- 1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1/2 tsp. sugar
- 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- A pinch of cayenne pepper
- 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
- 1 large egg
- 2 TBS melted butter or olive oil
- 1.5 oz soft goat cheese (1/6 cup)
- 1.5 oz grated, extra-sharp Cheddar cheese (1/2 cup), plus more for sprinkling tops, optional
- 7.5 oz cooked black beans (I used half of a 15-oz can)
- 1/2 large poblano chile
- 4 green onions, white and green parts thinly sliced (1/2 cup), plus more for sprinkling tops
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine oil and 1 tsp. minced garlic in small bowl. Brush squash halves with garlic oil, and sprinkle lightly with ancho chile powder and coriander. Season with salt and pepper, if desired, and place on large baking sheet.
2. Pulse 1 cup corn kernels in food processor until finely chopped and milky. Set aside.
3. Whisk the coriander and ancho chile powder into cornmeal, along with sugar, baking soda, salt, and cayenne (if using) in medium bowl. Set aside.
4. Whisk together buttermilk and egg in separate bowl. Whisk in butter, then puréed corn, remaining 1/2 cup corn kernels, goat cheese, Cheddar, and remaining 1 tsp. garlic. Fold in cornmeal mixture with spatula, then fold in black beans, poblano chile, and green onions.
5. Divide filling among squash halves. Sprinkle each squash with extra Cheddar (if using).
6. Bake squash halves 30 to 45 minutes, or until squash are tender and filling is set. Sprinkle with green onions. Squash can be prepared 24 hours ahead, then reheated 20 minutes at 325°F.