Barley Stuffed Acorn Squash
Barley Stuffed Acorn Squash- roasted acorn squash stuffed with creamy barley and seasonal vegetables. Super satisfying and perfect for a plant-based main course! (gluten-free option)
I’m sure most of you already have your holiday menus all set to go but if some reason you’re still in need of a meatless main, don’t worry I’ve got you covered!
I published this recipe many moons ago and it’s been a favorite in our house ever since. Those of you who have been with me since then might remember it. It was inspired by a meal I had at a local restaurant in the Bay Area while we were in the midst of planning our wedding. We spent the day at the vineyards tasting wine then ended with a cozy fireside dinner under the stars which included a similar version of this Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup and Baked Acorn Squash with Barley Risotto.
I have fond memories of that meal which are renewed every time I make this acorn squash. My version is a bit simplified compared to the original and is also made without dairy. Still just as delicious though.
Instead of parmesan cheese I used this Follow Your Heart Parmesan Cheese Alternative. It’s an easy substitute that tastes pretty darn good, considering it’s dairy-free.
I know dairy-free cheeses aren’t always the healthiest options so if you’re averse to them you can make your own nut parmesan by blending cashews with salt and nutritional yeast. I’ll list the exact ingredients in the notes!
Most of the flavor comes from the vegetable broth so make sure to use one that’s of high quality. I like Better Than Boullion’s Seasoned Vegetable Base and highly recommend it. You could also add a splash of white wine to vegetables for even more flavor. If you’re willing to sacrifice the wine, that is. ;)
I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with delicious food and lots of love!
Barley Stuffed Acorn Squash
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 30
Cook Time: 45
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
2 medium-size acorn squash (approx. 2 lbs each)
1 cup dry pearled barley, rinsed (sub brown rice for gluten-free version)
3 cups vegetable broth
1 shallot, minced
8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
10 ounces green beans, chopped into bite size pieces
2 large carrots, peeled and finely chopped
1 cup chopped leafy greens (kale, swiss chard, etc.)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup vegan parmesan cheese*
Preheat the oven to 375°F and then line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Wash the squash then slice off the stem and a small piece of the pointy bottom so that it’s able to sit on an even surface on both sides. Cut it down the center so that you have two separate halves. Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds and any loose pieces of flesh.
Once they are all cleaned out, lightly rub the flesh with oil and then transfer to the baking sheet facing down. Bake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes to an 1 hour. The outer skin should be pliable when you squeeze it with an oven mitt.
In a medium size pot, bring the vegetable broth to a boil then add the barley. Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 25 minutes, until tender.
In a separate large pot, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallot and a sprinkle of salt then cook for 2-3 minutes, until fragrant. Add the greens, mushrooms, carrots and green beans, sprinkle them with salt and garlic powder then cover with a lid and cook for 5-7 minutes. The vegetables should be slightly tender at this point. If you prefer them softer then you can cook them a little longer.
Once the barley is tender add it to the larger pot with any remaining broth and stir to combine. Taste test to see if it needs more salt & pepper. If you have white wine on hand, trying adding a splash for more flavor. Spoon the filling inside of the cooked squash, sprinkle the tops with vegan parmesan cheese and fresh parsley. Serve warm and enjoy!
*I like Follow Your Heart’s Parmesan Cheese Alternative for convenience. If you want to make your own cashew parmesan cheese, combine 1 cup raw cashews with 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast, 1 teaspoon fine sea salt and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder in a food processor and pulse until finely ground.