There’s something extra special about being served a meal that’s sized perfectly to enjoy all by yourself. A stuffed squash is a savory treat that happily serves just one — or you can scale up the recipe to feed a larger crowd. Here, small winter squash is filled with hearty wild mushrooms, kale and fragrant herbs. It’s a dish that’s perfectly suited for the vegetarians in your life but also hearty enough that it might just win over your meat-loving friends, too.
What’s particularly great about this recipe is it can be partially made up to three days in advance. To do so, parbake the squash as directed and let cool. As the squash bakes, sauté the mushrooms and kale and combine the vegetables with the nuts, herbs, salt and pepper. Refrigerate the squash and vegetable mixture separately in airtight containers until you need them. When it’s time for dinner, let both sit at room temperature while the oven is heating. Add the egg, half and half and bread cubes to the vegetable mixture, fill the squash and bake for a half hour.
While this recipe serves six, you can easily double it to serve a crowd, which is especially nice if you plan to prepare these for Thanksgiving. Only a party of one or two? No sweat. Simply make the full recipe but only bake the number of squash you need. Transfer any extra filling to a casserole dish and toss it into the oven while the squash bakes. Rewarm scoops of the extra filling the next day and top it with a fried egg for a satisfying breakfast, lunch or even dinner.
- 6 small carnival squash
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/2 pound mixed wild mushrooms such as shiitake, oyster, and maitake, cleaned and thickly sliced
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 1 bunch lacinato (dinosaur) kale, stemmed and chopped into bite-size pieces (about 3 loosely packed cups or about half a 6-ounce bag)
- 1/2 cup chopped steamed chestnuts or toasted pecans
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh sage
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 loaf crusty Italian bread, cut into rough 1-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup half and half
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone liner.2.
Cut a thin slice off the bottom of each squash so it sits upright. Slice about 1 inch off the top of each squash. Scoop out the seeds and innards.3.
Place the squash scooped side-down on the baking sheet. Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes, until the squash is just tender and the orange flesh begins to turn translucent.4.
While the squash bakes, make the filling: Melt the butter in a large, wide skillet or saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, stirring just to coat evenly with the butter, then spread in a single layer. Cook without stirring for about 3 minutes to let the mushrooms brown.5.
Add 1/4 teaspoon salt, then let the mushrooms cook undisturbed for about 5 minutes more. Stir in the kale and cook just until the leaves start to wilt and soften.6.
Transfer the mushrooms and kale to a large bowl, and stir in the nuts, rosemary, sage, pepper, and remaining salt.7.
Whisk the egg and half and half together in a small bowl, then pour into the vegetables.8.
Toss the bread cubes with the vegetables, making sure each cube is moistened.9.
Reduce the oven heat to 375 F.10.
Fill each pre-baked squash with the filling, fully packing the scooped-out hollow. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes. Serve warm.
Make it ahead:
The squash can be pre-baked and the filling can be partially made up to 3 days in advance. Cook the mushrooms and kale and toss with the nuts, herbs, and spices, then refrigerate. Bring the filling mixture to room temperature before continuing and finishing the recipe.
Make it gluten-free:
Substitute a double batch of the cooked quinoa and lentil blend from our Make-Ahead Power Bowls for the cubed bread in the recipe.