Moroccan Pilaf and Vegetable Stuffed Squash – A Vegetarian Thanksgiving Dish (Gluten-Free)
The Heritage Cook
The Heritage Cook
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  • 14 in
  • 3 glasses
  • 6 to 8 pieces per person
  • 12 to
  • 2 to
  • 15 piece per person
  • 1 lb per person (bone-in)
  • 14 to
  • 16 oz per person
  • 1/2 lb per person
  • 3 to
  • 4 oz per person
  • 3 oz per person
  • 1 medium per person
  • 1-1/2 oz per person
  • 1 cup per person
  • 2 tbsp olive oil 2 acorn squash or other similar squash variety Rice Pilaf 1-3/4 cups vegetable stock* 1/2 cup dry white wine 4 tbsp olive oil 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper 1/2 tsp turmeric 1/2 tsp Ras El Hanout (optional) 1/4 tsp cardamom 1/4 tsp cumin Pinch chile flakes, optional 1 large onion, chopped 2 tsp minced garlic 1/2 tsp minced fresh ginger 1 bay leaf 1 red bell pepper, stem and seeds discarded, finely chopped 2 carrots, finely chopped 1 cup raw long grain white rice 1/4 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels, optional 2 zucchini, trimmed, cut in half lengthwise then into medium slices A large pinch of saffron threads, crushed Finely minced fresh cilantro or parsley Toppings Shredded Monterey Jack, Colby, or Parmesan cheese (leave off for vegan) Minced parsley or cilantro, for garnishing
  • 3 minutes. Using a very sharp large knife, cut a thin slice off each end (to help them sit flat) then split the squash in half crosswise (through the equator. Using a spoon, scoop out and discard the seeds and strings. Rub oil all over each squash half; lay them cut side down in a rectangular baking pan. Bake, uncovered, in the hot oven for 20 minutes. Flip them cut side up; sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper, and bake until tender when pierced, about 15 minutes more. Note: If you cut too deep and one or more of your squash halves have a hole in the bottom, you can plug it with a slice of zucchini or bell pepper. Place the "plug" in the bottom when you flip the squash over. Remove squash from the oven and let cool until you can hold them in your hand. Make the Rice Pilaf: While the squash is baking, in a saucepan, heat the stock and wine together until almost boiling. Keep hot over low heat until needed. Meanwhile, in a very large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the seasonings, chile flakes, onions, garlic, ginger, bay leaf, chopped peppers, and carrots. Cook, stirring often, until onions are softened, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the rice and cook, stirring often until it begins to color, about 8 minutes; make sure all the grains of rice get coated with the oil. Stir in the corn. Stir in the saffron and cilantro. Pour in the hot stock and stir to combine. Taste and add more salt if needed. Cover with a tight fitting lid, reduce the heat to low and simmer without lifting the lid or stirring for about 20 minutes. Stir in the zucchini and continue cooking until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender, about 5 more minutes (or according to package directions*). Move the pan off the heat, with the cover still on, and leave untouched for about 10 minutes. Remove the cover and fluff the rice with a fork. The zucchini will cook as the rice finishes cooking. Stuff Squash: When the squashes are cool enough to handle, fill with the pilaf, mounding the top of each one slightly. Place back in the baking pan. You may make the recipe to this point up to 1 day ahead. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Return to room temperature before continuing. Preheat oven to 350°F (if it isn't already hot). Sprinkle each stuffed pepper with some cheese (if using). Bake, uncovered, for about 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted, the rice is hot all the way through, and the squash is fork tender. Serve immediately or keep warm in a low oven. Sprinkle the tops with fresh herbs before serving.
  • 2 servings, depending on the size of the squash. * If you are using a type of rice that requires more liquid, add enough water to equal the total amount of liquid required on the package directions. This filling can also be used as a stuffing for other foods like bell peppers, or as a side dish on its own. If serving this as a side dish, you can omit the cheese if desired.



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