BitterSweet

An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked

Talking Turkey

21 Comments

One week and one day are all that separates us from the big Thanksgiving feast, even though I feel a sense of déjà vu as soon as the traditional sides and sauces start pouring out of the kitchen. Cooking a separate feast for editorial photography assignments as far back as September or October, I’ve typically had my fill (and then some) of all the trimmings by the time November finally rolls around. Though cooking the yearly Thanksgiving meal a month or two ahead of the scheduled date takes some getting used to, it works out in my favor; The official family celebration can become rather hectic even without me jockeying for space in the overcrowded kitchen, so it’s nice not to feel pressured to make “go all out” and cook up something grand.

The center piece is always the biggest concern, whether trying to make a turkey replica or go a new route, but come the last Thursday in November, you can generally find me sitting down to a family feast with ye olde traditional veggie burger on my plate. I don’t feel like I’m missing anything on that specific date, having already gorged on gravy and potatoes well in advance. However, it is nice to put in a bit of additional effort and make something perhaps more seasonally appropriate. Still keeping it simple, stuffed veggies rather than a stuffed roast are the ideal main dish for a laid-back feast.

Delicata, my favorite little squash, is ideal for stuffing and roasting. Bearing thin, edible skin, there’s no need to peel; just hollow out, fill, and bake. Sizes of this gourd vary wildly, so for this particular recipe, opt for smaller, more manageable ones. To make it even easier, go ahead and cut them lengthwise like little edible boats. The seeds will be less of a hassle to reach and scrape out, and they tend to bake a bit faster, too. Serve up one of these beauties with some roasted onions, perhaps, and a generous pour of mushroom creme gravy, and you will certainly have something else to be thankful for this year.

“Ricotta”-Stuffed Delicata

1 – 2 Small Delicata Squash (Depending on the size of the squashes and how full you stuff them)

10 Ounces Super-Firm or Pressed Tofu*
1/4 Cup Unsweetened Non-Dairy Milk
1/4 Cup Nutritional Yeast
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1 Tablespoon Rice Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Fresh Lemon Juice
2 Teaspoons Soy Sauce
1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Onion Powder

1/2 Cup Diced Cremini or Button Mushrooms
1/2 Cup Frozen Spinach, Thawed and Thoroughly Drained
1/4 Cup Fresh Parsley (Leaves Only), Chopped

1/4 Cup Pine Nuts or Chopped Cashews, Divided

*You can start with 1 pound of extra firm tofu and press for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Once the extra water has been drained off, it should be around the same weight (but it’s not critical if it’s slightly over or under.)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line a baking dish with aluminum foil for easy clean up. Set aside.

Slice your squash in half either lengthwise or width-wise, and use a thin metal spoon to scrape out the seeds and guts. Cut a small sliver off the bottoms of each half so that they can sit in the pan without falling or sliding. Arrange in your baking dish so that there’s plenty of space between them.

In your food processor, place the tofu, non-dairy milk, nutritional yeast, oil, vinegar, lemon juice, soy sauce, garlic and onion powder. Pulse to combine, until the mixture is mostly smooth and creamy, but still with a bit of texture. No need to go crazy here. Fold in the chopped mushrooms, spinach, parsley, and about 3 tablespoons of the pine nuts or cashews until well combined.

Spoon the “ricotta” mixture into your delicata as desired, and top with the remaining nuts. Lightly spritz or brush the exteriors of the squash all over with olive oil, and pop them into the oven. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the squash are fork-tender.

Makes 2 – 4 Servings

Printable Recipe

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Author: Hannah Kaminsky

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

21 thoughts on “Talking Turkey

  1. Hannah, this is such a beautiful dish! I bet it can be hard during the holidays if you’re not eating meat, but this looks like it would be perfect to serve whether a vegan/vegetarian or not. I would love to incorporate this into my thanksgiving meal! Thank you!

  2. Hannah, your photos are impressive. I discovered this squash just this summer at the farmers, can’t believe I’ve been missing out all this time–good stuff. Happy Thanksgiving :)

  3. thanksgiving has already come and gone in canada, but i’d be happy to have this darling delicata grace my plate for any given sunday dinner! lovely recipe and stunning photograph as usual :)

  4. I would love to have this for my Thanksgiving meal! Can I come over?

  5. I can definitely see this being the biggest challenge. The thought of you sitting down to a veggie burger makes me smile, but I think if I started cooking thanksgiving stuff back in Sept or October I’d be on to the next holiday.

  6. Oh this looks yummy. I am trying to find out what my cousin is planning to make next week. I am non-dairy for health reasons and she has this love affair with dairy. I am thinking I need to pick up some small acorn squash this weekend to take with me to cook up there so I know there is something safe to eat. WOnder if I can get the rest of the family to try this one?

  7. What a **beautiful** delicata! I love the creamy “ricotta” filling–sounds perfect to me!

  8. What a beautiful centerpiece for the festive table! This filled pumpkin looks so fabulous, pretty & lovely at the same time! ;)

    MMMMMMMMMM,….!! Georgous food!

  9. I think stuffed squash is one of the easiest dishes to make BUT the most beautiful!

    This squash looks nice with the stripes!

  10. LOVE this as the center piece! I can’t believe you’re jealous of our weather in Australia. I’ve been seeing so much delicata squash around on blogs that I’m actually jealous of you :)

  11. I love Delicata squash too! Days before I left Canada, I bought one from a local producer and I made a soufflée with some artisanal Québec goat cheese and posted the recipe. It was the first time I’d ever had one and I loved it. Needless to say, the recipe was definitely not vegan! I’m going to try your recipe though. It’s much much healthier than the one I made so I’m really looking forward to it. Now I just have to find a Delicata here in France…

  12. I am a huge lover of squash, yet somehow I haven’t tried delicata squash yet. I think I will make this for Thanksgiving (for myself at least). I am going to a big Thanksgiving celebration where turkey will take center stage and I think the dish above will take center stage on my plate…yum!

  13. Sounds delicious! Delicatas are so nice. I will be having field roast as my Thanksgiving main so that I can focus on making the side dishes and desserts!

  14. With an over busy kitchen, for my main item, I usually just go with something quick and easy to heat up on the actual Turkey day. But nothing is going to stop me from making your delicious looking stuffed delicata the day before or after. :-)

  15. All I’ve planned so far for my first vegetarian thanksgiving is that there will be stuffed squash involved, by hook or by crook! This looks like one fabulous option!

  16. This looks so delicious! I love stuffed squash but I never would have but a ricotta-y sauce in there. I haven’t ever tried delicata squash either, but it looks beautiful.

  17. This looks delicious. The squash is almost too pretty to eat!

  18. I love delicata and this stuffed version sounds so tasty. :) I’d love to have it as part of my Thanksgiving meal.

  19. This is such a gorgeous dish, Hannah! I’ve seen this kind of squash at the market but I haven’t tried it yet…next time I’m shopping I’ll pick some up! This is the sort of dish that should be on every holiday table. :)

  20. Mmm that looks so good, Hannah! I’ve actually decided to bring a veggie main to my boyfriend’s family gathering for the first time this year (before I just ate a lot of broccoli, mashed potatoes, and rolls haha). Mine will have winter squash, too!

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