BitterSweet

Sweet Musings with a Bitterly Sharp Wit

Delicata Delicacy

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Have you ever seen a better vegetable for stuffing than the humble delicata squash? Each perfect yellow and green-striped edible tube becomes an ideal vessel for every sort of filling imaginable, no matter how you cut or cook it. I’m no stranger to the concept, but all sorts of inspiration has steered my seasonings in an entirely different direction since those first filled squash emerged from the oven.

Allow me to introduce to you a prime candidate for your new Thanksgiving main dish, replete with a very posh-sounding beluga lentil filling. Sparkling like legume caviar within their roasted golden delicata containers, these particular lentils eschew the typical autumnal spices found on every festive table in favor of more worldly flavors. Infused with an aromatic blend of cumin, mustard seeds, and jalapeno, this entry is guaranteed to spice up the traditional feast. Spiced rather than spicy, it’s designed to suit a wide range of palates, subtle enough not to offend those who appreciate less heat but want abundant umami to savor on their plates.

Complimenting that distinctive piquancy is a creamy cashew-based raita, replete with cooling mint leaves and crisp diced cucumber. Don’t even dream of skipping it; that rich final flourish ties together the meal, elevating the dish into something truly memorable. It’s the kind of surprisingly easy dinner that eaters will rave about for years to come, but by all means, don’t just save it for an annual event. Stuffed delicata are delightful all autumn and winter, if not beyond those seasonal boundaries, too.

Like all the best Thanksgiving dishes, stuffed delicata are rock stars for prepping in advance and waiting patiently until their solo arrives. Bake and stuff them as written, cover the casserole dish with foil, and simply reheat in a 350 degree oven for 10 – 20 minutes when the party begins.

Beluga Lentil-Stuffed Delicata Squash

2 Medium Delicata Squashes (About 1 Pound Each)

Lentil Stuffing:

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
3 Shallots, Finely Diced
1 Jalapeno, Seeded and Finely Diced
1 1/2 Teaspoons Whole Cumin Seeds
1 1/2 Teaspoons Whole Mustard Seeds
1 Cup Dry Beluga Lentils
2 Cups Vegetable Broth
2/3 Cup Full-Fat Coconut Milk
1 Tablespoon Balsamic Vinegar
3/4 – 1 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Cashew Raita:

1 Cup Raw Cashews Pieces, Soaked for About 4 Hours
2 Tablespoons Fresh Mint Leaves, Roughly Chopped
3 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
1/4 Cup Water
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
2 – 3 Persian Cucumbers, Finely Diced

Although it’s the last addition to your stuffed squashes, it would be wise to prepare the cashew raita first so that it’s ready to go when you are. Thoroughly drain your soaked cashews and toss them in your blender along with the chopped mint, lemon juice, water, and salt. Puree, pausing to scrape down the sides of the canister with a spatula as needed, until completely silky-smooth. This process may take longer if you use a lower-powered model, but stick with it; that creamy texture is important for successful raita. Once perfectly velvety, stir in the cucumber pieces by hand. Store in an air-tight container and keep refrigerated prior to serving.

For the filling, heat the olive oil in a medium pot over moderate heat before tossing in the diced shallots and jalapeno. Saute until translucent before introducing the cumin and mustard seeds next. Cook until the vegetables are lightly caramelized and the entire mixture is highly aromatic. Add the lentils and broth, cover, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes when the lentils become tender. Add the coconut milk, vinegar, and salt and pepper to taste. Keep the pot partially covered and simmer for an additional 5 – 10 minutes, until the final liquid addition has been absorbed. Cover and keep warm.

Meanwhile, as the lentils cook, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Cut both squash in half lengthwise and scoop out (but reserve) seeds. Place each half with the cut sides down on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, or until a fork easily pierces the flesh. Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 5 minutes before handling.

Reduce the heat to 250, toss the reserved seeds with just a splash of oil and a pinch of salt, and roast for just 10 – 20 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent them from burning. Once golden and crisp, let them cool completely.

To complete the dish, flip the roasted delicata squashes up to turn them into edible boats and spoon the warm lentils inside. Serve the cashew raita alongside for guests to top their squashes as desired, and finish with a sprinkle of roasted seeds.

Makes 4 Main Dish Servings; Cut the Halves in Half for 8 Side Dish Servings

Printable Recipe

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Author: Hannah (BitterSweet)

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

21 thoughts on “Delicata Delicacy

  1. Beautiful recipe and PERFECT dish for vegan guests at the Thanksgiving table (or any time)! LOVE the warmth of this hefty filling topped by cooling raita. Delicata squash is my favorite- both for it’s ease of handling and it’s super flavor. Thanks for the inspiration.

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  2. Looks so yummy;iI love pumpkins:)

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  3. what a beautiful main for thanksgiving!

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  4. Num, num, Hannah! I’ll write this down as something for Thanksgiving. Hope yours is wonderful and I hope you’re warmer there than we are in the Chicago area right now!!

    janet

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  5. Love stuffed squash! thanks for the recipe. What do you use to scrap out yours?

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  6. These are beautiful, Hannah! I love the spices and jalapeno in this recipe.

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  7. I just started cooking with delicata squash, mainly just simply roasting them. But it looks like I can step up my game big time with this stuffed recipe. :-)

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  8. I really like this recipe and also trying this in the parties. Thanks for the sharing…

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  9. YUM! That stuffing looks so good. I’ve been eating lots of delicata this fall, for the first time actually! They’re delicious!

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  10. I love Delicata squash, and this sounds absolutely divine. How healthy can you get? Lentils and squash. Well done!

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  11. Wonderful idea for a squash.. :-) looks lovely

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  12. What a wonderful meal, I fall in love with it when I saw your pictures, thanks! But, I have not much energy to cook after last week staying in hospital. Now, is my rest time at home, hope I can get back my energy in the kitchen soon.

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  13. Hannah, how did you manage to make squash look so delicious and mouthwatering!! I like the creative addition of the lentil filling. Inspired to make this dish! It sounds really good!

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  14. I made your delectable creation & loved it so much! It was just beauty on a plate! x

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  15. I made this for Thanksgiving, and it was UNBELIEVABLE. All my omnivorous friends went crazy for it. I will definitely be making this again and using the lentil recipe as a go-to even when I don’t have it in me to clean squash :)

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  16. Pingback: Thanksgiving is Whatever You Make It

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