This year I had a bit of a hard time deciding what to make for Thanksgiving. Last year I made a delicious sweet potato casserole and wanted something a little different. I’m tempted to eat gluten over the holidays, but I know it makes me feel crappy, so I wanted to avoid it. I started scouring pinterest and blogs to get inspiration. I specifically searched for vegan thanksgiving mains and when I came across a stuffed squash with bacon – I was a little grossed out. I never liked bacon and I do not try to replicate it. But Terry loves it and the thought kind of stuck with me as it sounded interesting. And stuffing a squash sounded fun! It was a really good Thanksgiving main – it would be great for Christmas too. Or anytime really.
Picture of our Thanksgiving feast
Wild Rice, Spinach & Tempeh Bacon Stuffed Squash (serves 4-8)
1 large butternut squash (or, if like me, you can’t find one – use a medium and a small one)
1.5 cups dried rice (I used a blend of brown & wild and soaked it for a few hours beforehand)
2 cups of vegetable broth
1 cup of water
1 large bunch of spinach, washed & de-stemmed
1 8 oz. package of plain tempeh chopped into bite-sized pieces
4 tbsp of coconut aminos
2 tbsp of maple syrup
several drops of liquid smoke
1 tsp of dried garlic
sea salt & pepper to taste
Preheat your oven to 400. Cut your squash in half lengthwise- try to leave the stem intact for a prettier squash (no big deal if it falls off though). Scoop the seeds from the middle and drizzle a bit of extra virgin olive oil on both inside halves of the squash, season with salt & pepper and rub it in. Place your squash face up in a glass casserole dish (I used my lasagna pan) and add a bit of water to the bottom. Cook the squash for 45 minutes to an hour or more until a fork can be easily inserted into the fleshy parts of the squash.
Once the squash has been cooking for 15 or so minutes, start cooking your rice. I drained & rinsed mine and cooked it in 2 cups of vegetable broth & a cup of water for about 35 minutes until the water had evaporated and it was nice & fluffy.
Prep your spinach. Then heat a wok on medium heat on your stove and add a bit of coconut oil. Then add your tempeh and the remaining ingredients (coconut aminos through salt & pepper), until it is golden brown. I let mine get a little crispy.
Once the squash is done, take it out of the oven and lower the heat to 350. Once the squash has cooled enough to handle, scoop out the flesh, leaving about an inch around the skin to use as a boat for the stuffing. Put the flesh in a bowl and mash it up. Add the rice, spinach & tempeh bacon and stir it up. I also added a couple of handfuls of cheddar Daiya cheese and stirred it in. Scoop the stuffing mixture into the squash boat and put it back in the oven for another 30 minutes or so.