Lentil & Herb Stuffed Carnival Squash

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Look how festive these carnival squash are!!  I love them!  Very similar to an acorn squash or butternut squash, this winter veggie is pale yellow on the inside with a very subtle sweet flavor.  I actually think they are slightly less sweet than a sweet potato or acorn squash – which is good for me.  I’m surprised at how sweet some winter squash can actually be!  In addition, you can roast the seeds of the carnival squash (use this recipe here) and they are crunchy, salty little bites that are perfect for a salad topper!

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carnival squash, stuffed squash, winter squash, stuffed winter squash, healthy recipes, vegetarian recipes When these squash arrived from Melissa’s Produce (now one of my favorite online sites!) I couldn’t wait to come up with a recipe.  I immediately thought of stuffing them – it seems like the obvious way to go.  I like the idea that you can serve a whole half of squash and it looks beautiful presented.  The skin stays nice and firm and acts like a little bowl for the stuffing.

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carnival squash, stuffed squash, winter squash, stuffed winter squash, healthy recipes, vegetarian recipes Since the flesh is slightly sweet, I wanted to stuff it full of a savory somewhat salty mixture.  Parmesan cheese plus green and black olives really provided a nice contrast to the squash itself.  And of course I needed some fall herb flavor – thyme and sage – my favorites this time of year.  Lentils were the main component for the stuffing, but you could use wild rice, quinoa, beans or even sausage for the meat lovers out there!

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carnival squash, stuffed squash, winter squash, stuffed winter squash, healthy recipes, vegetarian recipes The best part of this dish was getting a bite of squash and filling all at once.  It tasted just like Fall – all in one mouthful.  And a close second was obviously how great these little squash halves look plated.  Almost like a little Fall flower stuffed with delicious goodness!  Perfect for a weeknight meal, but can easily double as a beautiful main course or appetizer for a dinner party!

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carnival squash, stuffed squash, winter squash, stuffed winter squash, healthy recipes, vegetarian recipes Lentil & Herb Stuffed Carnival Squash:
Ingredients:

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.  Slice each squash in half horizontally – you may need to slice off a bit of the bottoms to ensure they sit flat in the pan.  Drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil and bake for 25 minutes.
  2. While squash bakes, prepare the filling.  Heat remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add onion, carrots, green pepper and garlic.  Saute for about 10 minutes or until vegetables have softened.  Add in lentils, thyme leaves and sage and saute another 1-2 minutes.
  3. Deglaze the pan with the white wine.  Stir to scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Allow to reduce for another 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add in grated cheese and bread crumbs (add these bit by bit to make sure you don’t end up with a dry filling).  Filling should be moist and sticky, but not overly wet or dry.
  5. Remove squash from oven.  Carefully fill each half with an equal amount of filling.  Top with extra grated parmesan cheese if desired.  Bake for another 50-60 minutes or until squash flesh is fork tender.
  6. Serve one half per person – top with extra cheese or toasted squash seeds!

The ingredients in this post were provided free of charge from Melissa’s Produce.  Recipe created and developed by BeanAFoodie.  I did not receive any kickbacks or payments from featuring Melissa’s Produce in this post – just got to cook with delicious produce!

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