Thanksgiving has evolved in our house. Once upon a time it was all Mom’s Green Jell-o, Classic Green Bean casserole, and Midwest mashed potatoes but that’s now been joined by some more modern friends –vegetarian and vegan sides and with an emphasis on fresh and healthy. Having something filling other than mashers and turkey is key – which is why I came up with this Farro-Stuffed Roasted Acorn Squash. This recipe is now a pinch hitter in our house going from Meatless Monday to the Thanksgiving table without batting an eyelash.
rinsed and drained (can substitute wheatberries or barley)
halved, cored, and medium dice
toasted and finely chopped
cut in half and seeds removed
Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over high heat. When it boils, stir in farro and cook until just tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Drain well and place in a large bowl. (Can be done up to 1 day ahead.) Heat the oven to 375°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. When it shimmers, add the onion, celery, garlic, and thyme then season with the kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, and stir to coat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until just softened, about 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in the apples, grains, broth, currants or raisins, parsley, walnuts, and some freshly ground black pepper. Divide filling among acorn squash or place in 2 quart baking dish, drizzle with a bit of olive oil, and bake until the filling is heated through, 15 minutes. Serve hot or warm.
The stuffing can be made through this point up to 4 days in advance and store refrigerated until ready to proceed.
Farro is an ancient wheat grain that can be found in high-end grocery stores and in many health food stores. If you are pressed for time, look for semi-pearled farro, which will cook faster. Wheatberries are whole, unprocessed wheat kernels, and they are usually available in the bulk section of health or high-end grocery stores. If you can’t find them, go ahead and use farro, spelt, barley, or brown rice instead. Barley would also work well if you can’t find either farro or wheatberries.
Photo by Aida Mollenkamp // Food Styling by Lillian Kang