In this vegan stuffed squash recipe, acorn squash provides the perfect vessel for a sumptuous blend of couscous, pumpkin seeds, pears and raisins, enticing both young and old. Drive up the flavour by dry-roasting the seeds and plumping the raisins.
3 acorn squashes, cut in half, seeds removed
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup hulled pumpkin seeds
1 2/3 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup whole wheat couscous
1/3 cup non-hydrogenated margarine
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
2 pears, peeled, cored and diced
grated navel orange zest
Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
Prick the outer skin of each squash-half with a fork, place cut side down in a baking dish filled with 1/2-in. (1 cm) water and bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until tender. Alternatively, prick outer skin of each squash-half with fork, place cut side down on waxed paper and cook in microwave on high for 15 to 20 minutes or until soft and tender.
Meanwhile, soak the raisins in hot water for 10 minutes or so, then drain thoroughly in a sieve.
Heat a dry frying pan at medium-high, add pumpkin seeds and roast, stirring constantly for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer immediately to a plate to cool.
In a medium saucepan, bring vegetable stock to a boil. Turn off heat. Add couscous, stir to mix, cover and let stand for 5 minutes.
Heat another medium saucepan at medium, add margarine and melt. Turn off heat, add brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg, then whisk to mix.
Using a fork, fluff up couscous and transfer to a medium bowl. Add margarine mixture and stir to mix. Add pears, orange zest, raisins and pumpkin seeds and mix. Spoon equally into squash. Arrange on baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until heated through.
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