Winter Squash for Vegans and Vegetarians

29 September, 2005 (10:24)

RECIPES: Walnut Rice Dressing, Spaghetti Squash Hashbrowns, Oven Roasted Squash Seeds

By Rae Udy

Winter squash was so important to the diet of Native Americans they were buried with the dead to provide nourishment on their final journey. We are now discovering the wealth of nutrition supplied by this sometimes unfamiliar vegetable.
An excellent source of vitamin A, one cup of cooked squash provides 145 percent of the daily value requirement. Winter squash is also a very good source of vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber and manganese. All winter squash are a good source of B vitamins.
Relatives of the melon and cucumber family, winter squash come in many varieties. Each type has a unique shape, color, size and flavor and all have a hard protective skin. Winter squash has a long storage life of up to six months in a cool, dry place.
Acorn, Butternut and Hubbard are just a few of the most popular varieties of winter squash and all have a sweet flavor and smooth texture. After baking until tender fill the squash cavity with Walnut Rice Dressing for a hearty fall vegetarian or vegan main dish.
Spaghetti squash is one of the most interesting varieties. After baking whole, cut spaghetti squash in half through the middle and remove the seeds. Separate the delicate crisp spaghetti-like strands with a fork, then top with your favorite spaghetti sauce and Parmesan cheese.
Reserve some cooked squash to make Spaghetti Squash Hash Browns for a different and delicious breakfast, side dish or late night snack.

1 large Acorn or Butternut squash
½ (one-half) cup chopped onion
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 cup long grain brown rice
2 cups cold water
½ (one-half) teaspoon each: dried oregano, sage and thyme
1 cup chopped walnuts
½ (one-half) cup wheat germ
Wash and dry squash. Pierce several holes in squash with a fork. Place on a cookie sheet and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for thirty minutes, turn and bake thirty minutes more until fork is easily inserted through skin of squash. Remove from oven and cut in half through the middle. Remove seeds and reserve for toasting. Set aside squash halves to fill with dressing.
In a large skillet, saute onion in oil until tender. Add rice and stir to brown slightly. Add water and spices. Bring to boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer undisturbed until water is absorbed and rice is tender, about thirty minutes. Stir in walnuts and wheat germ. Fill squash cavities with mound of dressing. Return to oven and bake 20 minutes or until dressing is golden brown. Remove from oven. Slice into quarters to serve eight.

2 cups prepared spaghetti squash strands
½ (one-half) cup whole wheat flour
½ (one-half) cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 egg
1 Tablespoon butter
Mix prepared squash strands with flour, cheese and egg. Heat butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Drop one-third cup squash mixture into fry pan forming three-inch flat hash brown cakes. Cook until bottom is golden brown, about three minutes. Turn over to brown other side. Serve warm with catsup. Yields six servings.

2 to 3 cups rinsed squash seeds
1 teaspoon salt, if desired
Arrange seeds on a 10 by 15 inch baking pan. Sprinkle with salt. Bake in a preheated 300 degree oven until golden and crisp, about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent browning around edges of pan. Remove from oven and cool. Store in airtight container.

“This butterfly needs to go south for the winter,” says seven-year-old Aidan.

Posted in Vegan and Vegetarian Side Dishes, Vegan Main Dish, Vegan Snacks, Vegetarian Main Dish

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