Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut squash in half lengthwise. Remove and discard seeds. Cut the long, narrow “neck” end off each half, about an inch from the seed cup. Refrigerate neck ends for another meal. Brush the cut sides of the seed cups with 1 tablespoon of the oil and place cut side down on prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a knife.
Meanwhile, make filling: Combine rice with 2 cups water and salt in a saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until tender (all the water should be absorbed). Fluff with a fork and set aside.
Heat remaining oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and pecans and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes, or until onion is soft and pecans are toasted. Stir in lentils and heat through. Remove from heat and stir in rice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Spoon stuffing into cooked squash cups. If desired, sprinkle 2 tablespoons cheese over each squash half. Serve immediately.
You’ve Got Options
You can use 2 small acorn squash instead of butternut squash for this recipe.
Makes 4 Servings
2 small butternut squash (see options)
3 tablespoons extra-virgin avocado oil, divided
1 cup long-grain brown or white rice
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 medium onion, chopped
½ cup pecan or walnut pieces
1 (14-ounce) can cooked lentils, drained
Sea salt and pepper
½ cup vegan parmesan cheese
From “The Reducetarian Cookbook: 125 Easy, Healthy, and Delicious Plant-Based Recipes for Omnivores, Vegans, and Everyone In-Between” by Reducetarian Foundation (Center Street, $21.99). Recipe developed by Pat Crocker. Photo by Ashleigh Amoroso.