The weather up here in Michigan is just starting to get cooler. We had temperatures dipping into the 60’s during the day and dropping into the 50’s at night. Summer is saying farewell and Fall weather is just starting to catch up with us. Roasted and Stuffed Vegetables seemed like the perfect meal to welcome these cooler temps. Try it out and savor the delicious aromas wafting through your boat (or home) as we did. Enjoy!!

Any of the following hard-skin vegetables can be used in this recipe: Acorn squash, Butternut squash, Pumpkin etc., as well as any of the soft skin vegetables such as eggplant, peppers or zucchini. The only difference is the cooking time. Hard skinned veggies require anywhere from 25 – 35 minutes of roasting in a 400 F oven prior to stuffing, whereas the soft skin veggies are stuffed and roasted at the same time.

If you start with some of the hard skinned veggies like I did, cut the top off or split in half length-wise to scoop out the seeds (reserve). Drizzle some olive oil on the flesh inside the shell and roast, cut side down, for 25-35 minutes in a hot oven. I added some olive oil and water to the pan to make sure the juices didn’t burn in the cooking process. You’ll know its ready if the insides are easily pierced by a fork (but the outside remains firm) and you can scoop out the flesh with a spoon within a 1/2 inch of the shell.

Don’t throw out those seeds you scooped out earlier. Wash and pat dry the seeds, toss with a teaspoon of olive oil, then lay them out on a lightly oiled cookie tray. Sprinkle with salt and spices and roast in a hot oven till browned but not burned. They are crunchy and delicious!

Ingredients for the filling:
The ingredients listed below are not really given with exact measurements b/c it really depends on how many items you will be stuffing. I made enough to stuff one acorn squash, 2 small red peppers and 2 jalapeno peppers.

– 2-4 Tbls. of coconut, olive, or grapeseed oil for the saute pan
– 2 cups of cooked Quinoa and/or wild or brown rice
– 1 onion, diced
– 2 carrots, diced
– 2 cloves of garlic diced
– 1 cup of dried fruit chopped into small pieces (any will do including cranberries, dates, blueberries, cherries, figs or apricots)
– 1 cup of chopped nuts (my favorites are walnuts, almonds, sunflower seeds, brazil nuts, and sesame seeds)
– any spices to season the mix such as cinnamon, allspice, cardamon, cloves, ginger or coriander
– salt and pepper to taste
– scooped flesh of any of the hard-skinned vegetables after the first roasting.

– Saute in a large skillet the oil, onions, garlic and carrots till they are soft and starting to caramelize. Add more oil and/or water if needed during the saute process. Do this on low to medium heat and it should take a good 20 minutes or so.
– push the onion mixture to one side of the pan and saute the chopped nuts on the other side of the pan until they become somewhat toasted and fragrant (not burned).
– Add the dried fruit and spices to the pan mixing together all the ingredients and saute for a few more minutes to soften the fruit and until the spices are fragrant. You may need to add a little more oil to the pan during this process. Make sure the contents have some moisture so the spices do not burn.
– Add in the cooked quinoa or rice (and the scooped flesh of any roasted veggie you may have used) and mix till well blended. Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper, cover the pan and cook over low heat for a few more minutes.
– When the filling is cooked, cut the tops off, wash and de-seed the vegetables that will be stuffed. Rub a little oil on the outside skin of each vegetables to be stuffed.
– Fill each veggie with the stuffing and place in a shallow baking dish with a drizzle of oil and a few tablespoons of water in the pan.
– Cover and roast for 25-30 minutes in a hot oven (maybe 350-400 F) until the skins of the stuffed vegetables are easily pierced with a fork.
– Uncover the veggies, drizzle with some of the pan juices and roast for a few more minutes to brown the skins and caramelize the juices.

Remove from the oven, serve and enjoy your first flavors of the fall!!!