Smoky Tempeh Vegan Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe -- A hearty vegan main dish that's one of my favorite healthy recipes for Thanksgiving and beyond.
Being a vegetarian for 9 years always made Thanksgiving a little bit of a tease. Between the wafts of roasted turkey, boats of creamy gravy to slather on literally everything, and the fact that 75% of the dishes were made with chicken stock or with bacon may have pushed me to bend the veggie rules a wee bit for this one and holy food day of the year.
However, I did try my best to not simply eat a plate full of mashed potatoes and stuffing for dinner, and actually make an entree worthy of sharing the table with the prized poultry.
What makes this vegan stuffed acorn squash delicious & healthy:
- acorn squash
- olive oil
- tomato paste
- tomato sauce or water
- liquid smoke
- lower-sodium soy sauce
- salt and pepper
- green onion
How to Make this Tempeh Stuffed Acorn Squash:
Preheat your oven to 375°F, and cut an acorn squash in half lengthwise (from top to bottom). You can keep the stem in place for presentation, but scoop out the seeds from the middle. Drizzle the flesh with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper before placing cut side down on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the flesh is tender and soft to the touch. Remove from oven, and set aside.
While the squash is baking, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add a teaspoon of olive oil and one clove of minced garlic to the pan, and cook for 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Stir in an 8 ounce block of tempeh that has been chopped finely to the pan, and continue cooking for an additional two minutes. Add 3 tablespoons of tomato paste, 4 tablespoons of water (or tomato sauce if you have it on hand), 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke, and 1 teaspoon of lower-sodium soy sauce, stirring to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat, and fill each half of squash with tempeh mixture. Garnish with chopped green onion if desired.
- Use a sharp, sturdy knife to cut through the acorn squash. The skin is very tough, and can be hard to cut through with a dull knife.
- Be stingy with the liquid smoke. If you're not used to using liquid smoke, a little goes a long way. Start with a very small amount, and add a little more to your taste.
- Serve this with a dollop of dairy-free (or dairy of non-vegan) plain Greek yogurt.
What if I don't have liquid smoke?
You can substitute with ¼ to ½ teaspoon of smoked paprika, or adobo sauce if you don't have liquid smoke. You can adjust the amount added to your taste.
Do I have to use tempeh?
If you're new to tempeh, it can be a little intimidating to use, but really it isn't. If you don't have any on hand, or want to use an alternative protein source, you can swap it out for a block of extra firm tofu, 1 ½ cups of cooked lentils, or even a pound of ground turkey if want to make non-vegan.
How long does it keep in the refrigerator?
If the squash is filled with the tempeh, it can last in the fridge for 3 days. If you keep each separate, it tends to last a little longer (4-5 days). You can always cook the squash ahead of time, and make the filling when ready to serve to cut back on prep time.
Money-Saving Tips for this Tempeh Stuffed Acorn Squash:
- Shop the sales. Acorn squash tends to go on sale this time of year, so keep an eye on store sales. Squash are hearty, and can last a while on your counter, which makes it easier to take advantage of sale prices.
- Buy store brand. Utilize store brands for items such as tomato paste, salt, pepper, and soy sauce for cost effective items that don't sacrifice flavor or quality.
More veggie-filled holiday recipes:
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recipe inspired by MINIMALIST BAKER
Make it a great day!
Stuffed mushrooms or stuffed shells?
Spaghetti, butternut, or acorn squash?