From the story A Vegan Holiday Feast, Illustration by Julia Cost
4 acorn squash, halved lengthwise and seeds removed
1 tablespoon olive oil (may substitute 2 tablespoons water for sautéing)
2 medium onions, chopped
4 stalks celery, diced
1½ cups cooked brown rice
1 cup cooked wild rice
1 cup raw or toasted pecans, coarsely chopped (or walnuts, almonds, or chestnuts)
½ cup diced dried apricots and/or raisins
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
Maple syrup (optional)
Preheat oven to 375°.
Place the squash halves, cut-side down, onto nonstick baking sheets. There is no need to oil the squash. Bake for 30 minutes. The squash may not be fully fork-tender, but it will eventually be returned to the oven to cook all the way through.
Meanwhile, in a sauté pan, cook the chopped onions in olive oil (or water) until transparent. Add the celery and sauté a couple of minutes. Remove from heat, and add to a large mixing bowl, along with the cooked rice, pecans, apricots, and/or raisins, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, pepper, and salt. Adjust seasonings, as necessary.
Remove the squash from the oven, spoon out some of the cooked squash, and combine this squash flesh with the rest of the ingredients. Be sure to scrape only a little; you want to leave some squash in the shells, too.
Press the rice mixture into each squash cavity, mounding the rice as much as possible. (Depending on how large the squash are, you may end up with some leftover rice mixture, which makes a great side dish by itself.)
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes or until squash flesh is thoroughly tender. Remove the foil in the last 10 minutes of baking.
Drizzle a small amount of maple syrup (optional) on each squash half just before serving.