Vegetarian entertaining is simple with Vegan Yum Yum by Lauren Ulm, including recipes like Candied Lime Sweet Potatoes; Pepita Fettucini with Spinach and Cranberries; and Delicata Squash Stuffed with Cherry Apple Almond Couscous.
Makes 8 side dishes or 4 main dishes*
(*Note: The couscous is nice on its own, so feel free to make less squash if you don't mind having some couscous left over for another meal.)
This is a really flexible dish. It takes just about 30 minutes to make, which is awesome, because it seems like it would take longer. This is great as a fancy side dish (1 squash half per person) or a main dish (2 per person) if you serve something like sauteed greens or a salad on the side. Crispy kale goes great with this!
This is also a wonderful dish to make for the holidays. It makes enough side dishes for 8 people and it goes well with other holiday foods. It's also low-fat (hooray!), so it's one less dish on the holiday table that will end up on your butt.
Delicata squash is one of my favorites because it's sweet, beautiful, and quick cooking. And they're not a pain to cut in half, so they get major bonus points for that. If you need to substitute, look for butternut, acorn, or carnival squash, or any sweet squash you fancy.
Step 1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Step 2. Halve the squashes lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon and discard. Sprinkle lightly with salt, then place cut side down on a lightly oiled cookie sheet (I use a Silpat baking mat, but parchment paper or foil will work to minimize mess). Bake squashes for 30 minutes.
Step 3. Meanwhile, place the water, cherries, and salt in a pot that has a tight-fitting lid. Bring the cherries to a boil, then turn off the heat.
Step 4. Dice the apple into approximately 1/4-inch chunks. Add the apples and almonds to the cherries and let stand for 5 minutes, until cherries are plumped and apples are softened.
Strain out cherries, apples, and almonds and place them in a large bowl, reserving the liquid. The liquid should be reddish and equal to 1-1/4 cup now. If not, adjust by pouring some off or adding water.
Step 5. Add the liquid back to the pot and bring to a boil. Add margarine, if using. When the liquid boils, pour in the couscous, give the pot a little shake, cover, and turn off the heat. Let stand for 10 minutes or until you're ready to stuff.
Step 6. During the last 10 minutes, make the dressing by mixing together the agave nectar, mustard, and salt. Clear a space to fill the squashes. (When I got to this step, there were 10 minutes left on the squash.)
Step 7. Remove the squash from the oven and carefully use a spatula to take them off your baking sheet. The squash should be very soft, so take care not to smoosh or rip them. It's prettier to fill them and then place them on your serving dish, because you will get couscous everywhere while filling.
Step 8. Fluff the couscous with a fork, then place it in the bowl that has the apple/cherry/almond mixture and combine well.
Step 9. Mix half of the dressing into the couscous and spoon the mixture into the squash cavities. Plate the squashes, then drizzle the remaining dressing over the top, if desired.
Garnish with extra dried cherries and almonds and serve immediately.
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This page created November 2009
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