A Less-Retro Take on Stuffed Squash
This vegan main course screams fall.
These healthy recipes are all created to pair with wine (which has 120 to 150 calories for a 5-ounce glass)—all for 600 calories or fewer.
Grain-stuffed squash screams ‘70s vegetarian restaurant to me, yet there are ways to make this retro dish feel more modern. My solution: I use heirloom purple barley (any barley works well, of course) seasoned generously with ginger, mushrooms, lime juice and cilantro so the dish tastes more like a flavor bomb than a starch bomb.
Thanks to the mushrooms, you can pair this dish with either a rich white or a light red.
Barley-Stuffed Squash with Mushrooms, Cilantro and Lime
Active: 30 MIN; Total: 1 HR 15 MIN
½ cup purple or white barley
One 1½ pound squash, such as carnival, acorn or Delicata, halved lengthwise and seeded
2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
½ cup finely chopped onion
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
3½ ounces mixed wild mushrooms, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
½ cup cilantro leaves, roughly chopped, plus more, for garnish
1. Preheat the oven to 400°. In a medium pot, combine the barley with 1½ cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to moderately low, cover and cook until tender, from 30 to 50 minutes depending on the style of barley. Drain any remaining water and season the barley with salt; let it stand for at least 10 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Brush the squash with ½ tablespoon of grapeseed oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the squash, cut side down, for about 40 minutes, until browned on the cut sides and completely tender throughout.
3. In a large skillet, heat the remaining 1½ tablespoons of grapeseed oil. Add the onion, season with salt and cook over moderately high heat until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the ginger and cook until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms, cover and cook until they are softened and release a lot of water, about 5 minutes. Uncover and cook until the pan is nearly dry, about 3 minutes longer.
4. Add the cooked barley to the skillet and cook, stirring, until hot throughout. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the lime juice and cilantro. Season with salt
5. Transfer the squash to plates, spoon the barley filling into the squash halves and garnish with more cilantro leaves. Serve hot or at room temperature.
One serving 422 cal, 15 gm fat, 2.1 gm sat fat, 42 gm carb, 10 gm fiber, 9 gm protein.
Wine This might be the rare dish with which either a red or white wine from France’s Côtes du Rhône works well. Try the 2012 Château Terre Forte Blanc.
Kristin Donnelly is a former Food & Wine editor and author of the forthcoming The Modern Potluck (Clarkson Potter, 2016). She is also the cofounder of Stewart & Claire, an all-natural line of lip balms made in Brooklyn.