Savory Rice Stuffed Squash

A great THANKS to Maggie Christopher, holistic nutrition counselor, for another fabulous recipe!

This recipe is great for holiday gatherings or as a warm autumn meal. Try adding some sautéed organic turkey sausage to the rice mixture for a little extra flavor.

Serves 6
3 small acorn squash, cut in half crosswise
1 cup organic brown rice
2 cups water
Pinch of sea salt
1 TBS unrefined olive oil
1 leek, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 links cooked, organic sage chicken sausage (optional)
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried thyme
½ tsp sea salt
½ cup chopped fresh parsley
½ organic dried cranberries (fruit juice sweetened)
¾ cup pecans, chopped

1.     Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Scoop out seeds and pith from squash and place squash halves flesh side down in a casserole dish filled with ¼ inch of water. Bake uncovered for 40 minutes or until the squash is fork tender.

2.     While squash is cooking, prepare the rice. Place brown rice in a heavy bottomed two quart pot. Add water and sea salt. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce to low and simmer for 45 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Remove pot from heat and let stand while preparing other ingredients.

3.     Heat a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and leeks. Sauté about 3 minutes. Add crushed garlic, chopped celery, dried herbs, cooked sausage (if using) and sea salt. Saute for 5 to 6 minutes more. Place the leek-celery mixture into a bowl. Add parsley, dried cranberries, pecans, and cooked rice. Mix well. Taste and adjust salt and seasonings as desired.

4.     Take squash halves and evenly distribute mixture into the center of each. Place stuffed squash back into the pan and into the oven for 10 to 20 minutes, or until heated all the way through.