A botanical centerpiece worthy of a vacation desk

Festive Acorn Squash with Quinoa, Shiitakes, and Cranberries is a festive vegetarian entrée for the vacations. (Courtesy Linda Balslev)

Each vacation meal deserves a festive centerpiece. Whereas the turkey is the standard spectacular, there may be room for multiple providing. A well-crafted vegetarian platter may be simply as ornamental, offering a colourful and festive dish for each vegetarians and meat-lovers alike.

Winter squash are vibrant, pure receptacles which might be good for filling with wholesome grains, dried fruits, and nuts. There are numerous types of squash that you simply wish to stuff, together with butternut, butternut, and kabocha. If the squash is small, you possibly can serve it individually with the highest on, or whether it is massive, you possibly can reduce it in halves or quarters and spoon the filling over the middle, counting on a serving plate to catch the surplus.

Acorn squash are neat vessels for this recipe. When cooked till very tender, its pores and skin turns into edible. It might simply function a primary dish or may be portioned to share. Shiitake mushrooms add a satisfying, meat-like texture to the vegetable filling and supply a scrumptious, deep umami taste. Select your favourite grain, similar to quinoa, rice, farro or bulgur. The squash may be roasted and stuffed earlier than serving for straightforward entertaining.

Linda Balslev is a Marin cookbook writer, meals and journey author, and recipe developer.


Acorn squash filled with quinoa, shiitake, and cranberries

Serves 4 as a primary dish or 8 as a facet dish


2 squash, reduce in half horizontally

olive oil

Kosher salt

Freshly floor black pepper

Maple syrup, for brushing the face

6 ounces shiitake mushrooms, halved if massive, then thinly sliced

1 medium onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon dried thyme

2 tablespoons contemporary orange juice

2 cups of pre-cooked grain, similar to quinoa or brown rice

1/3 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans

2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley leaves, plus extra for garnish

1 teaspoon nice orange zest


Preheat the oven to 400 levels.

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