Vegetarian Stuffed Acorn Squash and Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup

Thank you to everyone who commented with congratulations on our new home. Kyle and I are very excited and hope to move in by Christmas. Can you believe we are nearing the end of 2011? I feel like summer was not that long ago and here we are a week before Thanksgiving. Have you planned your menu yet?

I was thinking about vegetarian “special occasion” main dishes last week and decided to mix things up with a new grain. You might recall that barley was served on the vegetarian plate at the Foodbuzz Festival 2011 gala dinner. I had tasted barley in soup before, and of course I’d also had it in beer but I had never tried barley as a side dish before the Foodbuzz Festival. So when I wanted to make a quinoa stuffed acorn squash last week and discovered that I had to run to the store for some more quinoa, I decided to pick up barley instead.

This dish was spicy, nutty and a little sweet. It’s a protein powerhouse with garbanzo beans and barley in every bite. I found it to be very filling and delicious. Served with a fresh salad or sauteed greens, this stuffed squash is a hefty vegetarian main dish that is perfect for Thanksgiving.

And in case you need even more inspiration for your holiday menus, here are my top vegology recipe picks for a very veggie holiday weekend.

Veggie Pot Pie – all the comfort, none of the meat

Cauliflower Steaks with Chimichurri Sauce – very scalable and creative, can serve two or twenty two

Butternut Squash with Spinach and Feta – a great side dish for potluck meals

Pumpkin Chili – football anyone?

And here is a new one to add to the list:

Barley Stuffed Acorn Squash (serves 4)


  • 2 large acorn squash, halved and seeded
  • cooking spray
  • 1 cup uncooked barley
  • 2-1/2 cups vegetable broth, divided
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 carrots, sliced
  • 1 – 15 oz. can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup raisins (or dried cranberries if you wish)
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon cumin
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Prepare a rimmed cookie sheet with cooking spray. Place squash halves cut side down on cookie sheet. Bake 30-40 minutes or until tender.
  3. While the squash is baking, prepare the filling. Heat barley and 2 cups of the vegetable broth in a saucepan over medium heat until boiling, then cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Heat olive oil in a medium pan over medium heat. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add carrots and cook 4-5 minutes. Then add garbanzo beans, raisins, curry powder and cumin. Stir to combine.
  5. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of vegetable broth to the pan with the vegetables and let simmer until vegetables are tender and liquid has reduced.
  6. When the barley is finished cooking, combine with vegetable mixture in a large bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  7. When the acorn squash is done baking, flip the halves over and butter the flesh. Sprinkle the brown sugar over the insides of the squash halves. Plate and fill with barley mixture, serving one squash half per person.