Butternut squash (butternut pumpkin) halves filled with an apple and herb stuffing. Vegan, gluten-free option.
It’s Christmas Eve! I hope I’m not the only one who’s left everything to the last second again. Oh, there were plans – there were plans, people. Christmas cookies, eggnog and more festive pancakes were all on my To-Do List.
But for some reason the rest of the world doesn’t run on ‘Claudia Time’. And it’s the best time of the year to make a few bucks doing temporary/seasonal/holiday fill-in jobs. Oh well – at least I’ll start off the next holiday season with a bunch of ideas.
That being said, who ever said you can’t make Christmas cookies after December 25?
Enough about my disorganization: let’s talk butternut squash (also called butternut pumpkin).
This was the recipe I meant to post over a week ago, but lost. Hmm, it looks like disorganization will inevitably be the theme of this post (sorry). Despite the recipe’s attempts to allude me, I had a rough idea of the recipe in my head and was able to retest it last weekend.
So, what is this recipe? Apple and herb stuffing baked inside two butternut squash halves. The stuffing is made using onion, sage, rosemary, some vegetables, a chopped apple, walnuts and either whole-wheat (wholemeal) or gluten-free bread.
This recipe calls for two butternut squash halves. While you could buy a whole squash and cut it in half, I’m afraid that’s beyond my capabilities. Whenever I’ve tried to cut a pumpkin or squash (or even a carrot) in half, it’s always a 60-40 situation. Or I’ll somehow cut diagonally through the vegetable.
As this recipe yields a lot of stuffing, use large squash halves if you can. And in case you were wondering, yes, you can halve the recipe.
The stuffing itself is quite easy to make, as is highly customizable. Don’t like Brussels sprouts? Leave them out (or add another vegetable). Don’t have any white beans? Use zucchini – or carrot, or mushrooms.
And if you’re all out of walnuts, replace them with pecans or just omit them entirely.
I’ve tested the recipe using gluten-free and whole-wheat (wholemeal) bread – even though I’m sure white bread would be fine. Just note that the bread should be fairly dry, preferably 3 – 4 days old.
I hope everyone has a wonderful day tomorrow. If you’re looking for some last-minute Christmas breakfast ideas, here are a few ideas:
- Pancakes: Gingerbread Pancakes // Panettone Pancakes
- Oatmeal: Christmas Cake Baked Oatmeal // Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Baked Oatmeal // Apple Pie Oatmeal // Gingerbread Oatmeal // Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal
- Other: Deep Dish Apple Baked French Toast // Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins
For a full list of Christmas-y recipes, please take a look at the Happy Holidays! category.
Question of the Day
Favorite Christmas movie? Ever since I first saw it, I’ve always loved ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’.
- 2 butternut squash halves (or 1, halved)
- ~ 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ brown onion
- 1 red apple, chopped
- 6 Brussels sprouts, halved (optional)
- ½ cup cooked white beans (or diced zucchini)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
- ½ cup butternut squash puree
- 6 cups cubed whole-wheat or gluten-free bread
- ½ - ¾ cup vegetable broth (stock)
- Salt and pepper
- ⅓ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
- Prepare the squash halves: Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Bake the squash halves for 50 - 60 minutes, or until tender. Check the squash after 40 minutes, as baking times will depend on the size of the vegetables (and your oven). If dark patches form on the squash halves, cover them in aluminium foil to prevent burning.
- Scoop out the flesh of the cooked squash halves, leaving a border of around ¾-inch (2 cm). Set aside.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (180°C).
- Make the Apple and Herb Stuffing: Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt (this prevents the onion from burning). Sauté the onion for approximately 3 minutes, or until translucent.
- Add the chopped apple and Brussels sprouts and cook for 3 - 5 minutes, or until softened. Stir in the white beans, sage, rosemary and butternut squash puree. Carefully stir in the cubed bread and season with salt and pepper.
- Pour in the vegetable broth. Start with ½ cup, and see how you go - the amount of broth needed will depend on how dry the bread is (you may need more than ¾ cup if your bread is particularly stale). The mixture should be moist, but not too wet. Fold in the chopped walnuts.
- Divide the stuffing between the cooked butternut squash halves (pack it in well). Alternatively, pack the mixture into a greased baking pan.
- Bake the stuffed squash halves for 20 - 30 minutes, or until lightly browned with some crispier bits. Keep an eye on it, as baking times will depend on the size of the squash halves and the amount of broth used.
- Serve as a side dish or a main dish (or part of a meal made of side dishes, a concept vegetarians are very familiar with). Enjoy!
If using zucchini rather than beans, add it to the skillet with the chopped apple.
If you have too much stuffing to fit in the butternut squash halves, just bake the extra stuffing in a greased baking pan.
This recipe can easily be halved.