This is a really pretty dish with a very savory stuffing of mushrooms, bell peppers, and multicolored rice. It makes a fine main dish for Kwanza, Thanksgiving, or any harvest meal. We recommend butternut squash for its mellow sweetness, but any winter squash—acorn, delicata, or buttercup—can be used. There are many interesting rice blends on the market that would work in this recipe, but a simple combination of brown rice, wild rice, and walnuts makes this stuffing chewy, nutty, and handsome.

Preparation time: 1 hour

Final baking time: 20 minutes

Stuffed Squash
Recipe type: main dish
Serves: 6 to 8
  • 1¾ cups water
  • ⅔ cup raw brown rice
  • ⅓ cup raw wild rice
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 small winter squash (about 6 inches long)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 2½ to 3 cups chopped red and yellow bell peppers
  • 1 teaspoon dried crumbled rosemary (2 teaspoons chopped fresh)
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 cups chopped mushrooms (a large portabello is nice)
  • ¼ cup ground walnuts*
  • ¼ cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  1. *Pulse the nuts several times in a food processor or chop very finely with a knife to reach the consistency of coarse meal.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°.
  3. Lightly oil a baking sheet.
  4. Combine the water, brown rice, wild rice, and salt in a small saucepan.
  5. Cover tightly and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 40 minutes.
  6. While the rice cooks, rinse the squash well, cut them in half lengthwise, and remove the seeds. Use about 1 tablespoon of oil to rub on the squash halves and place them cut side down on the baking sheet.
  7. Bake, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, until tender.
  8. While the squash halves bake, sauté the onions and garlic in the remaining tablespoons of oil for about 10 minutes, until the onions are translucent and slightly golden.
  9. Add the bell peppers, rosemary, salt, nutmeg, and black pepper and continue to cook for 5 minutes.
  10. Add the mushrooms and sauté just until the mushrooms are tender and release their juices.
  11. Stir in the walnuts and parsley.
  12. Remove from the heat and mix in the rice when it's cooked.
  13. Remove the baking sheet from the oven.
  14. Turn the baked squash halves cut side up, sprinkle the cavity with salt and pepper, and mash the flesh lightly with a fork.
  15. Mound each half with about one-eighth of the rice filling and top with 2 tablespoons of the grated cheese.
  16. Bake for 20 minutes, until thoroughly hot and lightly browned.

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