Stuffed red kuri squash recipe
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- Meat and poultry
- Beef mince
A colourful stuffed red kuri squash filled with a hearty mixture of minced beef, potatoes and carrots and topped with a crisp golden brown buttery breadcrumb layer.
County Dublin, Ireland
3 people made this
- 1 red kuri squash
- 250g minced beef
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 potato, cooked and diced
- 2 carrots, cooked and diced
- 1 teaspoon chicken stock granules
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
MethodPrep:10min ›Cook:45min ›Ready in:55min
- Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas 4.
- Carefully cut the squash in half, scrape out the seeds and place on a baking tray with the cut side down. Pour about 2cm water depth into the tray and place in the oven. Cook for about 30 minutes, until squash is almost soft.
- Meanwhile, in a large frying pan over medium-high heat, cook and stir the minced beef until browned. Remove from the pan and set aside. Add onion to the pan and cook and stir until soft. Add garlic and fry quickly until fragrant. Mix in the cooked mince, potato and carrots and heat through. Season with stock granules, salt and pepper and remove from the heat.
- Remove the squash from the oven and turn the oven up to 200 C / Gas 6.
- Combine breadcrumbs and melted butter in a small bowl. Turn over the squash halves and fill them with the mince mixture. Top with the breadcrumb mixture.
- Place back into the oven and cook for about 15 minutes, until squash is cooked and breadcrumb topping is golden brown.
The red kuri squash (also known as 'Japanese squash') is a winter vegetable that is full in flavour, delicately sweet and a favourite for bakes, casseroles, soups and stews.
Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(1)
Easy Vegan Stuffed Squash
This recipe is, as promised, EASY! Squash with brown rice, pecan and sage stuffing sounds so oh la la (to me anyways) but it’s oh so easy to execute and is definitely a nice change from your regular weeknight dinner.
I think “stuffed” vegetable recipes come off as complex. But they’re usually pretty easy and straight forward. It’s my favorite way to eat more vegetable – stuffing vegetables with more vegetables!
Squash stuffed with brown rice, pecan and sage is a full of anti-inflammatory nutritional goodies!
This recipe came about when I was strolling through a local market here in Taipei and found some small kabocha squash (see winter squash varieties here). They were the perfect size for stuffing and as the temperature was coming down, I was craving sweet, creamy, pumpkin and squash recipes! This drop is nowhere near the kind of temperature plummet we experience as fall turns to winter in North America, but still cold enough to make me want warmer foods!
I had some fresh sage and fresh rosemary on hand (fresh herbs aren’t essential, you can use dried) and so when I was thinking of what I would “stuff” the pumpkin with, I quickly went on a winter-y ingredient spiral!
Carrot, celery, definitely.
Pecans, cranberries, apples! Yes, yes, YES!
Add all that to warm and fluffy brown rice and stuff it in a creamy baked squash. A resounding YESSS!
This stuffed squash recipe is different than some other similar recipes in that here we will make the two components of the recipe –the stuffing and the baked squash– separately and then assemble the baked squash WITHOUT baking again. This saves time.
First, choose your squash!
I used small kabocha (Japanese pumpkin) but equally delicious would be acorn squash, the bottom, rounded part of butternut squash (peeled), or red kuri squash.
Best Squash for this recipe:
Preheat the oven to 375ºF, cut the squash in half, remove the seeds, and lay on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cut-side down. Bake the squash in the oven for anywhere from 40 to 60 minutes. The time needed will depend on the size and type of squash used. They’re ready to be stuffed when the skin gives when pressed and some juices are being released.
The filling is made while the squash is baking. You simply sauté some veggies in water, add already-cooked brown rice, a hit of lemon, salt, and our winter-inspired goodies – pecans, cranberries, apples. Fold in some fresh sage and rosemary and cover to keep warm and let those yummy flavours deepen.
When the squash is cooked, turn them over and fill until overflowing with brown rice, pecan and sage stuffing.
I like to add a super simple lemon-tahini sauce for some moisture and extra flavour but this is optional, see recipe below.
Squash– When I think squash, I think beta-carotene! What do we need beta-carotene for? Beta-carotene is a precursor for Vitamin A. This means it is converted to vitamin A in our bodies which is essential for our immune system, skin, eyes, fighting against cancer-causing free radicals, and more! Other sources of beta-carotene include sweet potatoes, carrots, dark leafy greens, ripe bell peppers, and broccoli.
Fresh Herbs – Herbs and spices not only lend gorgeous flavour to this dish, but they also offer unique phytonutrients! Herbs and spices are used all around the world for their healing properties and know that even a little provides anti-inflammatory and health supportive nutrients!
Pecans– Nuts are nutritional powerhouses! Pecans offer vitamin E, B vitamins, protein, and fiber! Here, the fat in the pecans helps with the absorption of the carotene nutrients from the squash.
Onions – A member of the allium family which includes garlic and leeks, onions are the first ingredient in countless recipes in all types of cuisines! Onions are essential flavour builders but they’re also immune system boosters! Onions contain organo-sulfur compounds that help fight inflammation and support overall health. Pro tip – chop your onions and let them rest on the cutting board 20 minutes or so before you cook them. This allows cancer-fighting sulfide compounds to develop through some complex reactions. It’s not essential but worth the wait and your meal will be that much healthier!
Tips and How To Save Time
Cook the rice before starting the recipe or the night before. This saves time. I made my rice a few hours before and let it sit until I was ready to make the stuffing. You can even make the stuffing the day before!
Cutting Squash – This can be a pain in the butt but is still easy to do once you get the hang of it.
- Make sure you have a medium, sharp chef’s knife.
- Lay the squash on a flat and steady cutting board.
- Cut around the squash, from stem to tip.
- Separate the halves and scrape out the seeds with a fork. You can discard these or save them for future use.
- Pierce the skin of each half in a few different places, this helps for even cooking, then you’re ready to bake.
Nothing special needed for these easy vegan stuffed squash.
Just make stuffing! Skip the squash and just make the brown rice, pecan, and sage stuffing as a warm grain dish or side dish. If you’re enjoying the stuffing solo, go ahead and add a handful of chickpeas or baby spinach to make it a more filling and nutritionally balanced. So delicious!
What is Red Kuri squash?
- Red Kuri squash, also called Hokkaido Pumpkin, is native to Japan. (Hokkaido is the name of a Japanese island where it’s grown.)
- It’s a descendant of Hubbard squash , which was introduced to Japan in the 1870’s and is now grown throughout Asia, Europe, New Zealand, and the U.S.
- This winter squash looks similar to a pumpkin with much less defined ridges and has an asymmetrical, somewhat lopsided shape.
- The skin is a stunning, deep red-orange color. It’s relatively thin and tender enough to be eaten when it’s cooked. That said, it’s still a little tough for me, and I don’t use it.
- Red Kuris average about 2 to 7 pounds, although I’ve seen both smaller and larger.
Stuffed Winter Squash
This simple recipe marries winter squash, late season spinach, and some grass fed ground beef to create a tasty dish in a fun package! I used some red kuri squash that came in my produce box, but it would work equally well with acorn or any kind of winter squash that has a large hollow space.
The squash needs a little lead time to roast in the oven before you add the filling and finish it off, so it might not be the best dish for busy weeknights when you need to get dinner on the table quickly. You could work around that by roasting the squash ahead of time (I’m a big fan of the weekend cook-up plan when I know I’m going to have a busy week ahead). In fact, this could be a complete make ahead meal, with just the final step of heating and marrying the flavors together in the oven being done just prior to eating.
You could also vary the fillings – use a different type of ground meat, season with some other spices or herbs, or sub in different vegetables for the spinach. This is as much a template as it is a recipe so have fun with it!
Squashes, pumpkins and gourds belong to the same family as cucumbers, melons, marrows and courgettes. There is an amazing variety of sizes, shapes and colours, and although most are edible, some are used for decoration only. All squashes and pumpkins have a tough outer rind, an inner cavity filled with hard seeds and sweet, rich, well-coloured flesh with a dense, nutty and earthy flavour.
The following are varieties of squash:
Butternut squash – the most common and popular of autumn squashes, the butternut squash is a pale creamy beige and comes in an oblong shape with a rounded bottom. Like its name suggests, the flesh has a buttery flavour that is enhanced by brown sugar or cinnamon.
Spaghetti squash – this curious oval squash has a golden-yellow skin and bright yellow flesh. When cooked, the tender flesh separates into spaghetti-like strands. Use as a gluten-free replacement in pasta recipes the cooked strands are also excellent eaten cold tossed in vinagrette.
Turban, or Buttercup squash – a beautiful specimen that resembles a fat teardrop. Deep-green in colour with flashes of orange, the intense orange flesh is rich and nutty and mellows upon roasting.
Onion squash – bright orange and onion-shaped with soft flesh that is best used in soups or risottos, these squash only keep for a few weeks.
Acorn squash – this small squash has deep ridges that can make peeling difficult. To get to the peppery, nutty golden-yellow flesh, cut the squash in half then bake with plenty of herbs and spices.
Kabocha – this Japanese variety of squash resembles the Turban squash but is more petite. It has a dark-green skin with lighter green or white stripes. The bright-orange flesh is fluffier than other varieties, with a texture and taste almost like cooked chestnuts. Kabocha is popular eaten as tempura, or braised.
Maple Ginger Red Kuri Squash
The unconventional Christmas has been my convention--my Dad was always a proponent of getting out of town during the holiday blur and Christmas at my moms was always lighthearted and casual with new recipes. We rarely ate the same thing year over year, choosing to test out creativity with ingredients like kuri squash, maple syrup, or ginger.
The first year we left the country for Christmas I was probably eleven. We headed south, to Cuba, where the weather is hot and humid. The climate was so unlike the winter I knew that it was easy to forget what time of year it was all together. It felt like a surprise when Christmas day finally arrived and the plaza surged with people. Christmas in Cuba came and went without warning, though the people were jolly, and the festivities left a looming smell of tobacco on everything.
Christmas in Vietnam was even more jumbled. On the coast it was again hot and humid, but with no national religion there were zero signs of silver bells or holly. Distracted by the sites, we barely noticed, until Christmas Day arrived, and children and adults alike crowded the streets wearing red Santa Claus hats. It was a confusing site to be honest: was this an expression of skepticism, celebration, or some of both? The next day all traces were gone.
Two years later Christmas came and went without much more than a bat of an eye. I can't even tell you where in India we were on that day-- perhaps in a train car, or eating in a roof-top restaurant. The next week we went and saw the Dalai Lama speak and that was our gift, though the thought of presents was far out of mind. Perhaps that trip is part of why ginger is now nestled so close to my heart.
The next year I spent Christmas at home. The snow came. We decorated our small tree. My mom got a coupon to The Honey Ham Store and we went and stood in line (for what felt like hours). My dad and I went to Christmas dinner and there were hand knitted sweaters, stockings, and snowy family hikes. I spent the week mystified. I guess people really do these things? These. Christmas things? Ugly sweaters? Those aren't just in movies? It was as if I had never experienced a Christmas before in my life though I most certainly had--and not just abroad, but back home, before the traveling began. Still, there was something about my age that left me with a little culture shock.
I still shy away from the whimsy: flashing lights, long lines of people, shopping malls. Perhaps it's because of those years abroad or maybe I was never cut out for it (I do hate shopping). What I do love is bringing everyone together over a meal in the middle of an otherwise frosty winter. Touches of green (pine branches, eucalyptus wreaths, rosemary trees), glowing candles, and cozy dishes that warm your soul. Maple syrup is an ingredient that does that, don't you think?
Before You Begin: Pick Your Pumpkins
One ingredient you will need to get is pumpkins. No, you can’t repurpose the rotting jack-o'-lantern that's been sitting on your front stoop since October. Sorry. What you’re looking for are small “sugar pumpkins” that roast up creamy-fleshed and sweet (truth in advertising!). As with all winter squash, pick pumpkins that are mostly blemish-free, with no visible bruising, soft spots, or mold.
A common refrain calls for choosing specimens that "feel heavy for their size" when you're selecting squash. I'm not sure I lift enough squash in my life to know exactly what that means, and certainly don’t condone pumpkin body-shaming, but in this case, you're looking for four sugar pumpkins, and one kabocha squash, that all weigh around two pounds each. (Of course, you can double or triple or even halve this recipe, if desired.)
Stuffed Acorn (or ‘Carnival’) Squash
It’s winter squash season!
This week, I filled some common acorn squash and some multi-toned ‘Carnival’ squash with a simple saute of ground chicken, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, red wine, and sage leaves. The result? A seasonal main course that belongs on your dinner table.
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A hearty main course for a cold autumn evening.
- Preparing the squash -- Center the oven rack, and preheat oven to 425°F. To insure the squash will stand up straight, slice off the little point located at the blossom end of the squash. Then slice off a "lid" from the stem end, just as you would for a jack-o-lantern. Save the lids. Plunge a soup spoon into the exposed flesh, and scrape down and around to remove seeds and stringy fibers.
- Roasting the squash -- Stand the squash upright on a baking sheet, and brush the exposed flesh and cavities with the melted butter. Roast until the flesh is definitely tender -- about 40 minutes for common green acorn squash about 1 hour for 'Carnival' squash.
- Making the filling -- In a large, non-stick skillet, cook the ground chicken over medium heat, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Transfer the finished chicken to a bowl, and set aside. Then add the olive oil and minced onion to the skillet. Lower the heat, cover the skillet, and let the onion sweat until soft -- about 5 minutes. Return the chicken to the skillet. Then increase the heat, and stir in the wine, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, salt, pepper, thyme, and sage. Stir thoroughly to combine. Then stir in the cold corn starch solution.
- Filling, baking, and serving the squash -- Spoon the filling into the cavity of each acorn, and top with a generous pinch of the shredded Parmesan cheese. Bake in the hot oven just until the cheese melts -- 5-10 minutes. Plate the squash with the lids arranged on top, and serve. Wine pairing: Cabernet Sauvignon.
Hi, Kevin! This recipe looks absolutely delicious! Thank you!
I think fresh sage leaves are a garden essential: the plants are lovely, the pollinating insects adore the flowers, and the leaves are to die for in cooking. I love them on pasta, gently fried in garlic and butter til they get slightly crispy. Heaven! They are easy to dry for our long northwest Montana winter use. Just put a single layer of leaves between two paper towels and microwave on high for one minute. Store in a glass jar for great sage flavor while the plants are asleep.
Hi Kathy – Thanks for the sage-drying tip! Also, thanks for watching the video!
This looks like a real yummy recipe and I will be trying it. I enjoyed watching your video and learned something new. I did not know that there was such a difference in the cooking time between those two types of squash, so thanks for the cooking tip. I agree that only fresh herbs are worth using in cooking. Today I will be staying in and cooking all day, as it is rainy here in my part of MI. so I will get lots of cooking done for the week. One of the things I will make is baked Salmon with fresh Thyme and fresh Rosemary on top while it bakes. The fresh herbs put such a great flavor into the fish, then remove them after it bakes and put fresh lemon over the top of the fish. Will also make a dill sauce to go along with the dip. Happy cooking !
Ooops, I meant to say making dill sauce, (which is the dip), to go along with the fish. = )
Hi Julie R – The salmon dish sounds fab-u-licious!
I haven’t tried the acorn or carnival squash but I have four lovely butternut squash that I grew and two adorable Red Kuri squash that were given to me. Can I convert your recipe using one or both of these two squash and also can I use lean ground beef in place of the ground chicken, keeping the other ingredients the same? (If using beef, should I use something other than sage? Maybe oregano?) OK, now I’m getting hungry! Thanks, Kevin. Enjoyed this video very much!
Hi Cheryl – You could certainly convert this recipe for your Red Kuri squash. If you need butternut squash recipes, I have several on this site! (Click here to see my fab Butternut Squash Soup.)
My husband, who has been playing piano since childhood & is now almost 79, and I were very impressed with your piano video! Thank you! I also have copied your winter squash recipe and can’t wait to try it!
What variety(s) of sage do you recommend planting for the best culinary use?
Lovely piano playing, but not long enough. When you do another video of your playing maybe have the videographer show your hands during the piece. Love your site.
I make a vegan version using olive oil to coat the squash. Then I fill it with a sauted mix of diced tofu, black beans, quinoa, tomato, corn, scallions, and garlic. Yummy!
Hi Annie – Lots of sage from which to choose! In my opinion, the common variety with gray-green leaves is the best variety for culinary use.
Hi Sheryl – I would definitely love your vegan version of stuffed squash!
Sherry in Willow Grove says
What a lovely main dish recipe. Most baked acorn squash recipes are just with butter and maple syrup or some variation. We love stuffed veggies of all types – summer squash like zucchini, onions, peppers, and now winter squash! Thanks Kevin for another lovely dish. I didn’t have a chance yet to watch the video but it sounds like I will be enjoying some piano playing! Oh, and that butternut squash soup recipe? To die for! I’ve made it several times (even converted it for the Instant Pot) and it has been a hit every time.
Kevin, It’s always hard for me to get out of the same old/same old – this recipe inspired me. I made it last night as is for my husband and deleting the cheese for my lactose intolerant nephew – all delicious and easy. The greater challenge was for my vegetarian daughter – substituted tofu for the ground chicken – an absolute success! Served with wild rice pilaf and a simple cucumber/tomato salad.
Thanks for the inspiration!!
Kevin, I can’t wait to try this recipe! I have stuffed peppers in the past, for Halloween dinner parties but this will be something new to try.
Will you have any more suggestions that would be appropriate for a fun Halloween dinner party?
I made your stuffed acorn squash and it was fabulous! It’s been cool, gray and rainy all day. I couldn’t wait to get home from work and make it. It sure put some Autumn sunshine in the evening!
Hi Mary Margaret – Kudos on your tofu-stuffed version!
Hi Kerry – Thanks for making this recipe. So glad it turned out well for you!
I made this recipe tonight, very tasty and filling. I also dried some of my sage leaves as described above in comments before I cut back my sage plant which is going crazy. I did not know that I could dry the leaves like that to preserve. Kevin, I enjoy following your blog and your recipes. I took a photo, but do not see how to post it.
Hi Maxine – I’m so glad this recipe worked out for you. Please post your picture on my Twitter or Instagram or Facebook page. Be sure to tag me so I’ll see the photo!
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Cookbook author Melissa Clark likes sweetening up slices of roasted winter squash, so she roasts them with maple syrup, olive oil, fresh ginger and thyme. It’s a simple idea, but the combination of flavors highlights the squash in a delicious way. Another bonus: The recipe can easily be made ahead and served at room temperature. If you have a silicone baking mat, use it here to make cleanup a cinch.
John Kernick John Kernick
Cookbook author Melissa Clark likes giving slices of roasted winter squash a little wake-up, so she roasts them with maple syrup, olive oil, fresh ginger and thyme. It&aposs a simple idea, but the combination of flavors highlights the squash in the best possible way.
Golden Fig Fine Foods, Laurie Crowell, stopped by to share some tasty squash recipes perfect for any fall day.
Golden Fig Fine Foods
794 Grand Ave, St Paul, MN 55105
Try these recipes at home!
Kuri Adobo Soup
4-5 lbs red Kuri squash roasted
2 TB olive oil
2 garlic cloves-minced
Salt and pepper to taste
Chilis in Adobo (comes in can)
5-6 C chicken stock
1 carton of veggie broth
In medium dutch oven saute onion over medium heat. When translucent add garlic and cook until fragrant. Spoon in a little chopped chili and sauce from can.
Scoop squash from skin and add to pan and saute a few minutes, add stock & veggie broth and simmer about 10 minutes.
Let cool a little and then carefully puree in blender.
Stuffed Turban Squash
3 lb turban squash
Salt and pepper to taste
1 lb pork sausage (I love the Hilbelly Sausage from Smoking Goose. It has nutmeg, clove and ginger in it)
1 C chopped celery
1 C mushrooms
1 C chopped onion
1/3 C sour cream
1/2 C Parmesan cheese, divided
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 C cooked wild rice
1 tsp Roasting Herbs
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
Carefully cut off top of squash and scoop out seeds. Rub with olive oil, salt and pepper.
Place upside down on a parchment lined baking sheet and roast until tender. (About an hour)
In a medium skillet saute pork sausage. Remove from pan to paper towel to drain. In same pan, saute celery, mushrooms and onion until soft.
Carefully scoop flesh from squash, leaving enough that it is still sturdy.
Stir together cooked vegetables, pork sausage, squash flesh, sour cream, half of the parmesan, egg and wild rice. Spoon into squash, top with remaining parmesan and bake until heated through.
Sauteed Squash with Chestnut Mushrooms
2 cups peeled and thinly sliced squash
2 TB butter
1/4 C chicken stock
2 C chestnut mushrooms
1 cipollini onion, thinly sliced
1 Harrison apple, diced
1/2 C crumbled honey chevre
Salt and pepper to taste
Melt butter and a splash of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Working in batches, saute squash until golden brown and softened. Add more butter or oil if needed between batches.
Add mushrooms, chicken stock, onion and apple. Cover and saute until tender. Add squash back in and heat. Sprinkle with honey chevre and serve.