Wild Rice, Walnut, and Arugula Stuffed Acorn Squash

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A vegetable-focused dish like roasted squash stuffed with rice and topped with greens is the perfect conclusion to a season of holiday treats and feasts. Though meat and dairy free as shown, adding ground Italian sausage or crumbling a bit of chèvre or bleu cheese on top would lend a deliciously complimentary flavor. If you don’t have wild rice on hand, any other sort will do, or even quinoa would be quite nice. You can also swap the walnuts for pecans or omit them altogether.

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Wild Rice, Walnut, and Arugula Stuffed Acorn Squash

  • 1 acorn squash, halved and seeded

  • 1/2 cup uncooked wild rice, rinsed

  • 1 1/2 cup water

  • 1/3 cup walnuts

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

  • 1 tablespoon honey

  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1/2 tablespoon orange juice

  • 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

  • 1/4 cup arugula

  • A pinch of nutmeg

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

    *This recipe is free of meat and dairy as-is, though some ground Italian sausage or a soft cheese such as chèvre or bleu cheese would be wonderful additions to this dish.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan and add the wild rice. Cover and lower heat to a simmer, cooking the rice about 50 minutes or until soft. 20 minutes into cooking the rice, whisk the melted butter and honey together and brush onto the cut sides of the squash. Sprinkle squash with a pinch of nutmeg along with salt and pepper. Place the squash cut side down on a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes.

The squash and rice should be done around the same time. Fold in the walnuts to the cooked wild rice, stir in a bit of salt and pepper along with the olive oil, orange juice, and balsamic vinegar, then spoon the rice mixture into the squash, cut-side up. In a small bowl, toss the arugula with a bit of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Place on top of the squash, and serve.

If adding ground sausage, cook the sausage as the rice is cooking, then add at the very end. If adding cheese, sprinkle bits on top of the arugula.