Formula Meals: Stuffed Squash
I’m all about simple recipes that are quick, delicious, and hard to mess up. That’s why most of my favorite recipes are formula meals – ones that don’t require an exact recipe, but rather a general formula that allows you to mix & match ingredients to make a meal!
I’ve created formulas for roasted vegetables, stir fries, power salads, and more – and next on my list is a family favorite: stuffed squash.
I don’t know about you, but I’m a huge fan of eating seasonally. Come fall time, I’m all about crispy apples and winter squash. Today I’m sharing my love for fall with this super simple formula for making stuffed squash.
Not only is this meal totally nutritious (take a look at those ingredients!) it’s also super customizable and incredibly tasty. And the presentation is adorable. Who doesn’t want to eat out of a squash bowl?[Tweet “Looking for a fun fall recipe? Try stuffing your favorite winter squash! Here’s the formula: #formulameals”]
Here’s my Stuffed Squash Formula:
1 winter squash: This can be any winter squash. My favorite squash to stuff is acorn and spaghetti squash, but feel free to get creative and experiment with different. Butternut, delicata, kabocha — even pumpkin, are really great too.
1 1/2 cups veggies: Feel free to mix and match and use your favorite vegetables because pretty much anything goes here. Onions, peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, and leafy greens work really well.
1 cup protein: Beans, organic tofu and tempeh are great plant-based protein options. I like tempeh in this recipe because it brings in a lot of texture. If you’re using canned beans, drain and rinse them first. You can also use organic ground turkey or grass fed beef here.
1/2 cup grains or nuts: My personal go-to grain these days is farro, but you can use what you like and mix it up! Other options are barley, wild rice, and quinoa. Alternatively, you can swap out the grains for nuts. Almonds and walnuts add a nice nutty flavor as well as some texture.
3-4 teaspoons seasoning: Add up to 4 tsp of your favorite spices. After you add about a teaspoon of sea salt, I recommend combining at least 2-3 more of your favorite spices, depending on the flavor profile you’re going for. If you need a place to start, here are some suggestions: paprika, smoked paprika, cumin, chili powder, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, poultry seasoning, black pepper, cayenne pepper, oregano, curry powder, turmeric, etc. Spice blends also work well here!
1-2 tablespoons olive oil: Use a couple tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to saute your veggies for the filling and coat your cooked squash.
How to Cook Them:
- Prepare the squash for roasting. Preheat your oven to 375°F. Slice your winter squash in half. Some winter squash have an odd shape (I’m talking to you, butternut squash!) that makes it difficult to cut in half. Be sure to slice from the stem to the root and then scoop out the inside. This is what forms the “bowl” you will stuff with filling later on! TIP: If slicing is too difficult, pop the squash in the microwave for a few minutes to soften it up before slicing.
- Roast the squash. Once the squash is cut in half and cleaned out, place the two halves face down in a baking dish. Add about a half inch of water to the baking dish. Cover loosely with foil and place the dish in the oven. Roast the squash until very soft, about 30-60 minutes. Cooking time will depend on the type and size of your squash, but the goal is to easily pierce the squash with a fork. Keep a close eye on the water level and add more if you need to.
- Make the filling. Use the squash cooking time to prepare your filling. Again, this depends on the type and size of your squash, so you might need to adjust the amounts if you have an especially small or large squash. Saute your veggies, prepare your protein, cook your grains, gather your nuts, and mix your seasoning. Once the ingredients are prepared, combine them in a bowl. You can taste and adjust from there.
- Stuff the cooked squash. Once the squash is soft and the filling is prepared, remove from the oven and flip the cooked squash so that they’re face up. See how they form little bowls? Cover the inside of the squash with a little bit of olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and cracked pepper. Fill each “bowl” with your filling. Be generous here!
- Bake the stuffed squash. Now that you have a stuffed squash, re-cover the baking dish with the foil. Bake the stuffed squash for about 15 minutes more!
Looking for some Stuffed Squash inspiration?
Savory Vegan Stuffed Butternut Squash
Nutty Wild Rice and Shredded Brussels Sprout Stuffed Mini Pumpkin
Leek and Mushroom Couscous Stuffed Squash
Moroccan-Spiced Vegan Stuffed Squash