1 winter squash (hubbard, kabocha, kuri, delicata, acorn, etc.)
4 oz mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 shallot, diced small
1 small root vegetable of your choice (rutabaga, carrot, etc.), finely diced
3-4 oz ground protein of your choice (sausage, ground beef/lamb, cooked lentils/beans, etc.), optional
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
1 ½ cups packed kale or other winter green, roughly chopped
¾ cup cooked rice, pilaf mix, or other grain
2 tablespoons soft herbs (parsley, cilantro, thyme, etc.)
Lemon juice, to taste
Cheese of your choice (feta, goat cheese, pecorino, etc.), optional
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt & black pepper
Preheat oven to 400º F and line a baking sheet with parchment. Cut squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and membranes with a spoon. Drizzle some olive oil on the flesh and rub into the surface, then season with salt and pepper. Place cut side down on prepared baking sheet, and bake for 30-45 minutes (note: this will vary depending on the variety of squash you have and its size, so test its doneness by inserting a small knife into the flesh - if it slides in with little resistance, it’s ready). While squash bakes, make the filling.
Heat a large pan over medium heat. Add your mushrooms and a big pinch of salt, and cook, stirring often, until they release their water (about 10 minutes). Empty mushrooms into a bowl and set aside. Return pan to medium heat, and add 1 tablespoon oil. Add shallot, root veggie, and protein of choice (if using) to the pan with a large pinch of salt. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring often, until meat is cooked through and browning on edges or beans/lentils have taken on some color, and shallots are softened - about 5 minutes. Add garlic, chili flakes, and mushrooms, and cook, stirring often, for another 3-5 minutes. Add kale, cooked grains, and another pinch of salt to the pan. Cook, stirring often, for another couple minutes until kale has wilted. Remove from heat, fold in herbs and cheese (if using), and season to taste with lemon juice, salt and pepper. Set aside.
When squash is done, remove from oven and flip cut side up, leaving oven on. Scoop stuffing mix into the rounded out portion of the squash (see note). If desired, grate or crumble more cheese on top. Return to the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes longer until cheese has melted and the stuffing is beginning to brown a bit at the edges. Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes. Sprinkle with additional chopped herbs, a drizzle of olive oil, and a sprinkle of flaky salt before serving. Enjoy!
Note: Depending on your squash variety, the rounded out portion of your squash may not be as big as you’d like. If you want more room for stuffing, you can scoop extra flesh out after baking and set aside for another use. We love to mash it with yogurt or goat cheese, a bit of seedy mustard, salt, pepper, and a splash of stock for a luxurious spin on mashed potatoes topped with herbs!