STUFFED Turban Squash Shell

A great way to “dazzle” thanksgiving guests is by making a turban squash recipe. I like to stuff mine, because it just looks so beautiful when finished.

The recipe below has a few different components to it which makes it ideal for a family to make.  Each person can make a different part of the recipe and then add it all together at the end.  It is a little more complicated than some of the recipes we recommend, so is most suited for those who love to cook!

The Turban Squash is an heirloom winter squash (means its seeds originate from the originals).  It was first mentioned in a publication back in the early 1800’s in France.

The top of the squash is shaped like a “turban”, hence the name.  It comes in a variety of different colors and shapes and has a mild, nutty-like taste.

You can make so many recipes with this squash.  You can stuff it, serve in chunks, make a dip with it or puree to make a creamy soup.

The flesh is an “orange” color which means its high in Vitamin A. It also is an excellent source of Vitamin C and contains calcium and iron.

Stuffed Turban Squash Shell Recipe

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

Turban Squash

  • 1 medium-sized turban squash
  • Organic Extra-Virgin Olive oil
  • Maple syrup
  • Cinnamon, whole and unrefined

Toasted Sourdough Bread Cubes

  • ½ cup homemade sourdough bread – I used the garlic sourdough bread from Great Harvest Bread Company in Denver, CO – such a hearty and pure tasting bread! https://www.facebook.com/greatharvestdenver/
  • Organic Extra-Virgin Olive oil
  • Granulated garlic
  • Coarse ground sea salt

Candied Pecans

  • 1 cup organic American native pecans
  • Maple syrup
  • Coarse ground sea salt

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

  • 1 cup Brussels sprouts
  • Organic Extra-Virgin Olive oil
  • Coarse ground sea salt                     

Cranberries sweetened with apple juice

Directions:

Turban Squash

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
  3. Carve out the turban part of the squash using a really sharp knife. Pop the top off and save it.
  4. Discard seeds and pulp from the top and bottom portions.
  5. Brush the flesh with olive oil. Place on baking pan, cut side down and bake for 50-60 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and cool for at least ½ hour.
  7. Scoop out flesh onto a cutting board using a spoon. IMPORTANT: Be sure to keep the shell!
  8. Cut into “pseudo” bite size pieces. Squash will be a little mushy.
  9. Place in medium-sized bowl. Drizzle with maple syrup and sprinkle with cinnamon. Mix together.
  10. Set aside.

Toasted Sourdough Bread Cubes

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
  3. Cut sourdough bread into cubes.
  4. Place in a medium-sized bowl. Drizzle a line of olive oil around and just above the cubes (not on them).
  5. Sprinkle with granulated garlic and sea salt and mix together.
  6. Spread on baking sheet and bake for 7-10 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool. Set aside.

Candied Pecans

  1. Heat sauté pan on medium-high heat.
  2. Add pecans to pan.
  3. Lightly coat with maple syrup and sprinkle salt on it.
  4. Heat pecans until liquid is dissolved and pecans start to stick together.
  5. Remove from heat and let cool. Set aside.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Line a baking pan with parchment paper.
  3. Rinse and then cut off ends of Brussels sprouts.
  4. Add to bowl and mix together with olive oil and sea salt.
  5. Place on a cookie sheet, cut side down.
  6. Put in oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. Check after 10 minutes if you have baby sprouts.

Assembly

  1. Add a big scoop of squash flesh to the shell.
  2. Top with a scoop of Brussels sprouts, candied pecans and a few cranberries.
  3. Continue this process until squash shell is overfilled.
  4. Dab in pieces of the sourdough cubes on top of the mixture. Serve warm.
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Cauliflower, the New Comfort Food

In 1621 the pilgrims celebrated their first fall harvest. They held a ceremony to show gratitude for their good fortune and to give thanks. Over time this tradition became known as “Thanksgiving”. What you might imagine this to look like is quite a bit different than the stereotypical “Turkey Day” image of grandpa napping on a couch with a full belly, pumpkin pies, apple pies, pecan pies, stuffing, cranberry sauce, biscuits and a large juicy bird on the table and a football game.

While the original Thanksgiving was a gathering of family and community, their dining table looked a little different than what we are now accustomed to. The table they feasted at in 1621 had less overindulgence, less refined carbohydrates and saturated fat, and a wider variety of local and seasonal fruits and vegetables. I want to zoom in on one particular item on their Thanksgiving table, cauliflower.

Mark Twain said “a cauliflower is nothing but a cabbage with a college education”. That’s because the cauliflower plant actually is in the same family as cabbage, along with kale, collard greens, brussels sprouts and broccoli. These are cruciferous or brassica vegetables. One of the most significant characteristic of vegetables in the Brassica family is that they contain glucosinolates, a phytochemical in some plants that releases a pungent taste when chewed.  

Cauliflower can be found in white, green, purple and orange varieties, each one offering different nutrients, dependent on their color.  In general cauliflower contains:

  • Glucosinolates
  • High amount of vitamin C
    • A powerful antioxidant that protects the immune system
  • Potassium
    • Keeps your heart beating and muscles from cramping
  • Manganese
    • Important for metabolism, bone development and wound healing
  • Vitamin K
    • Needed for bone development and helps stop bleeding when you have a cut
  • Fiber
    • Aids in healthy digestion and makes you feel full
  • Omega-3
    • Cauliflower is one of the best vegetable sources of omega-3. It’s important to fight of inflammation, regulate cholesterol levels and have been shown to help with helps keep our minds sharp.

Fun Fact: Romanesco Cauliflower is a great example of sacred geometry in food. Sacred geometry is a term used to describe patterns we see repeating themselves over and over in nature. They are the building blocks or seeds of nature. Pinecones or nautilus shells are other good examples of this. This has got to get your students excited about cauliflower because. . . well, it’s really cool!

romanesco-cauliflower

How To Cook It:

The recipes below provide a twist on traditional Thanksgiving recipes. Imagine Thanksgiving without mashed potatoes or stuffing… no thank you. But what if instead of the heavy bread and eggs for the stuffing or the potatoes for the mash, we lightened it up with cauliflower? Changing an unhealthy habit into healthy choices is made easier when we just tweak what we already know and love. This is a way to help your students add more vegetables in their diet and get excited about what they are eating.

Here are some other ideas on how to use cauliflower:

  • Cauliflower pizza crust
  • Cauliflower buffalo wings
  • Cauliflower hash
  • Cauliflower tots
  • Cauliflower tacos (see recipe in previous beet article here)
  • Cauliflower fried “rice”

You can also throw it into an omelet, drizzle some oil on it and roast it, puree it into soup, toss it in a stew or curry, or make a sauce and to dip it in and eat it raw.

Mashed Cauliflower

mashed-cauliflower

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 heads cauliflower, florets, rough chop
  • 1 cup of vegetable stock per every cup of cauliflower
  • 3 tbs plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

(Optional) chives, rosemary or parsley for garnish or 2 tbs chopped and mixed in

Directions:

  1. Bring vegetable stock to a boil in a saucepan, add the cauliflower and bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer until cauliflower is tender.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a small amount of the oil on a pan and lightly sauté garlic on low heat until it begins to brown. Set aside.
  3. Reserve cooking liquid and transfer cauliflower to a food processor. Add yogurt, garlic and seasonings and blend until smooth. Slowly add in the oil and then the cooking liquid until you reach desired creaminess.
  4. (Optional) Mix in fresh parsley or chives.
  5. Serve and eat.

Cauliflower Stuffing

Cauliflower Stuffing.jpg

Ingredients:

  • 1 head cauliflower, florets rough chopped
  • 1 cup mushrooms, dice
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/3 cup polenta, dried
  • 1 tbs vegetable oil
  • 2 tbs rosemary, chopped
  • 2 tbs parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp sage powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

Directions:

  1. Put cauliflower florets into food processor and pulse until it is small and rice-like.
  2. Bring vegetable stock to a boil. Add the cauliflower, salt, pepper and sage and bring to a low simmer. Allow to simmer until it becomes tender and reaches a porridge like consistency, stirring occasionally.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, add the vegetable oil. Over medium heat, add the onions, carrots and celery. Once these have softened, add the mushrooms, garlic, rosemary and parsley for an additional minute or two.
  4. Once the cauliflower has finished cooking, add the polenta and stir for about 3 minutes. Then, combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  5. Serve and eat.