Stuffed acorn squash presents well at any family gathering or dinner party, such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. The warm, peppery and sweet seasonings pair perfectly with fall and winter weather.
I can't over-emphasize how easy this dish is to make, but makes you look like a fairly accomplished cook. As long as you have time to cook rice, it will come together 5 minutes after the rice is done.
This vegan no-fat version has dried cranberries, rice, spinach and optionally black beans, so it can easily serve as your entire meal.
Preheat oven to 400F
Add rice, water, salt, garam masala and cranberries to a pot on high heat. Bring to a boil, immediately reduce to low simmer, and cook for 45 minutes, or as per rice package instructions. Check and stir often, to prevent the cranberries from burning. If the rice is not soft once the water is gone, add more water and cook longer. The dried cranberries can absorb liquid the rice needs.
Break stem off acorn squashes (if there is one). Cut in halves. Scoop out the seeds and strings. Sprinkle with pepper and salt, place cut side down on a baking sheet and bake for 30 - 45 minutes (timing will depend on the size of the squash).
Once the rice is done, turn off the heat. Stir chopped spinach into the rice so it 'melts'.
If using, drain and rinse black beans, add to rice mixture. Let sit for a few minutes to warm the beans.
Once done, remove acorn squash from the oven. The squash should be soft all the way through.
Spoon spinach, black bean, cranberry, rice mixture into squash, you should be able to pile it quite high, serve warm.
Omit the black beans to make this recipe a side dish.
Goes well with lentil loaf at holidays.
Cut large squash into quarters before serving.