A savory, main event dish that will put in the ho, ho, ho into your holiday.
3 sweet dumpling or other small winter squash
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups cooked brown rice
1/4 cup water
Juice of 1/2 Meyer lemon (or about 2 tablespoons regular lemon juice)
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/8 cup fresh parsley, minced
1/8 cup fresh sage, minced
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 tablespoon fresh, minced)
2 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the squash in half and remove seeds and strings. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place face down on an oiled baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes or until tender. (Different types of squash will take different lengths of time. Test by piercing with a fork in thickest areas.) Remove from oven but keep oven turned on.
While the squash are cooking, prepare the lemon-herbed rice. Spray a non-stick pan with olive oil, and sauté the onion over medium-high heat until it begins to brown, about five minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the rice, a quarter-cup water, lemon juice and zest, soy sauce and herbs. Stir well, cover and cook on low heat just until warm.
Add the toasted pine nuts, salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Stuff the rice into the cavities of the squash. Place them upright in a baking dish and drizzle about a teaspoon of water over each. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for about 20 minutes, until hot throughout. Serve warm, garnished with additional fresh herbs if desired.
TIP: If you want to make the rice look lemonier, add a little turmeric with the lemon juice.
Susan Voisin is a writer, photographer, recipe developer and vegan. Follow her on her website, Fatfree Vegan Kitchen, at http://blog.fatfreevegan.com.