ABOUT THE RECIPE:
Butternut Squash with Apples and Cranberries present a filling, colorful and tasty entrée that’s fancy enough to serve for holiday fare. (Easy to prepare, too!)
Makes 4 servings
1 very large (or 2 medium/small) butternut squash, peeled and seeded (see note)
2 cups cooked brown rice (short or long grain), or cooked brown basmati rice
1 1/2 cups finely chopped spinach
1 medium/large apple, peeled, cored, and diced
1/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries or dried cherries
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend, all-purpose seasoning blend, or Herbes de Provence
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Salt and black pepper, to taste, optional
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, optional
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking pan or casserole dish with unbleached parchment paper.
Cut the squash lengthwise into 4 wedges/pieces. (If using smaller squash, cut each squash in half lengthwise) Slice a small sliver off the bottom of each squash piece making a flat surface so the squash will stand upright while baking. Arrange the squash wedges in the prepared pan. Season liberally with optional salt and pepper. Drizzle 1 teaspoon optional olive oil over each squash wedge, if desired.
Put the rice, spinach, diced apple, cranberries, walnuts, seasoning, sea salt, and ground cinnamon in a medium-sized bowl and stir to combine.
Divide the mixture evenly into the hollowed center in each of the four squash pieces. Tent with foil and bake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours or until the squash is very soft. For a crisp topping, remove the foil for the last 15 minutes of baking. Let cool 10 to 15 minutes and serve.
NOTE: If preferred, you may leave the peel on the squash.
NOTE: Put any leftover stuffing in a covered casserole and bake it for 40 minutes. Perfect as a side dish for another meal.