Creamy Lentil and Walnut Stuffed Squash

Creamy Letill and Walnut Stuffed Squash

We went out for a long walk today, and I could actually feel the warmth of the sun on my face. With the sun hitting the ground and the first wildflowers coming to bloom, the air even had a different, almost renewed smell to it. It was refreshing, perhaps even relieving for me, to the point I remember letting out an audible sigh.  Finally, spring is just around the corner!

After returning home, I was going through my list of prepared but still unpublished recipes. I came across this one; a stuffed squash creation from late last year, sitting almost forgotten in a small pile of papers. The earlier revelation about the coming spring created a sense of urgency when I saw the recipe. As soon as Spring comes, the squash displays in the grocery stores will be replaced by the fresh fruits and vegetables arriving with the warmer weather. Who will be inspired to try my squash recipe in July? I better get it out the door now!

Every time I’m in the store I’m drawn in by the uniqueness and odd beauty of the squash display. I stop by them, look at them, pick some up and admire them, but most often put them down. Why? Because we have a problem in our house. I happen to like squash, in any form. My husband, on the other hand, really doesn’t. But sometimes, I give in to the squash temptation and show up at home with a few. The trick was coming up with recipes using squash that satisfied even the haters. I’ve been told that, in this case, I succeeded.

The creamy and crunchy stuffing in this dish takes on a leading role in the overall flavour. However, the true squash lover will pick up the subtle sweetness and textures from the squash, and can enjoy them through the stuffing. I’d like to think of this as a squash recipe to bridge the divide between those who already love squash, and those developing a taste for it.

Creamy Lentil and Walnut Stuffed Squash

Creamy Lentil and Walnut Stuffed Squash

Yield

Makes 6 servings

Prep time

Active time:

Total time:

How it's made

Preheat oven to 425F (220C)

1 cup lentils

 

Place lentils and water in a medium pot, and bring to boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer for 35 - 40 minutes (until lentils are soft).

3 cups water

 

3 acorn or 3 smaller butternut squash

 

Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Drizzle olive oil over the squash meat, and season with salt and pepper. Place on a parchment paper covered baking sheet, cut side facing down, and put into the oven. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes, or until a fork passes easily through the squash.

2 tbsp olive oil

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

 

½ cup roasted walnut pieces or halves

 

Once lentils are cooked and have cooled somewhat, place in a food processor together with these ingredients. Pulse until chopped and nicely integrated. Place in a large bowl.

1 bunch kale, roughly chopped

1 tsp red pepper flakes

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

 

1 ¼ cup Cheesy Vegan Bechamel Sauce

 

Add to the bowl with lentil mixture and mix well.

 

Turn the squash so that the cut side is facing up. If you are using a butternut squash, take out some of the meat from the narrower side of the squash with a spoon to make room for the stuffing. Stuff each piece with ⅙ of the lentil/walnut/kale mixture.

 

2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)

 

Sprinkle nutritional yeast over the stuffed squash. Place back in the oven for 10 more minutes.

Helpful tips

This dish can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days. To reheat, place in an oven that is preheated to 400°F (200°C) and bake for 10 minutes, or until heated through. This dish is a meal unto itself, and goes very nicely with garlic toast.