Here is a vegetarian recipe for thanksgiving that is both easy to make AND a show stopper! With this baked acorn squash stuffed with brown rice mushroom pilaf, you won’t even miss the turkey. And you can easily make this dish the day before and just warm it in the microwave – so it’s a stress free thanksgiving main dish!
If you are making this dish ahead of time. Keep the baked squash and the pilaf separate. Heat them separately in the microwave and then spoon the pilaf into the squash just before serving.
Keep in mind that different brown rices need different amounts of water. And they may also have different cooking times. The 1 cup water and 50 minute cooking time I’ve given you is a guideline. So check the package instructions on your brown rice.
Mushrooms will let out water, so its important to cook them on high heat. I find that crimins dont let out as much water and recommend you use criminis if you can.
I love halloumi cheese and will find an excuse to put it in anything! But this recipe is stellar even without it, so leave out the halloumi if you wish. But if you do use the halloumi, keep in mind it’s a salty cheese – so add less salt to the rice to compensate.
Acorn Squash Stuffed with Brown Rice Mushroom Pilaf
For the squash
1 acorn squash
For the Pilaf
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
½ a cinnamon stick
2 cloves, optional
5 oz (about 2 cups) chopped mushrooms – either white button, crimini or portobello.
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 sprig of thyme
1/2 cup brown basmati or long grain brown rice
¼ scant cup cubed halloumi cheese, optional
1 tablespoon dried cranberries or raisin, optional
Pre heat oven to 400f
- Cut the squash in half. Using a spoon, scrape out the membrane and seeds. Bake on a parchment lined baking sheet, cut side down, for about 30 minutes or till the squash is fork tender.
- When the squash is done, cut off the tips to that the squash sits up steadily.
- While squash is baking, work on the mushroom pilaf – heat butter in a large, deep skillet. Add cinnamon and cloves and let sizzle for 30 seconds.
- Toss in the mushrooms and cook undisturbed on medium-high heat, till the mushrooms brown.
- Then reduce heat to medium, add garlic, thyme, rice and salt. Stir for about 2 minutes.
- Pour 1 cups water and bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to low, cover the pan and simmer till the rice is done, about 50 minutes.
- When the rice is cooked (but shouldn’t be mushy), turn off the heat and let it sit covered for 10 minutes. Then fluff with a fork. Fish out and discard the cinnamon stick and cloves.
- Stir in halloumi cubes if using.
- Spoon the pilaf into the squash cavities.
- Sprinkle with dried cranberries or raisins, if using.