Monday, November 12, 2012

Wild Rice And Aduki Bean Stuffed Acorn Squash Topped With Low Sugar Orange-Cranberry Sauce, A Great Vegan And Gluten Free Entrée For The Holidays!

Stuffed acorn squash makes an attractive holiday entrée.

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Satisfying your Thanksgiving Guests 
Entertaining is far more complicated than it used to be. Besides people avoiding meat because of ethical or health reasons, far more people are passing on wheat, dairy, nuts, soy, etc. because of food allergies. If you are having a large holiday dinner for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah or Christmas, I can almost guarantee you that one of your guests will have some kind of eating restriction or preference. 
Always ask your guests ahead of time if they have food preferences or allergies so that it doesn't come as a big surprise when they arrive at your house and say, "oh by the way, I don't eat .....". It's best to know beforehand so that you can prepare something special or even ask them to bring a dish to share. 
Here's a recipe that avoids meat and most allergens and is elegant enough for your holiday menu.

Aduki Beans
The aduki (also called azuki or adzuki) is the same bean used in red bean ice cream, commonly served in Japanese restaurants. It's a small and delicate red bean that is easier to digest than other beans with strengthening and balancing qualities. They are traditionally served at festive celebrations and are said to bring good fortune. 
I like buying them from Eden since they are organic and packed in BSP (bisphenol) free lined cans.

1/2 cup serving of Aduki beans provides:
110 calories
7 g protein
19 g carbohydrates
5 g fiber
Only 10 mg sodium
High in Iron, phosphorus, magnesium & folate
Aduki beans are small, delicate red beans.

Here's a low sugar cranberry sauce flavored with orange juice and orange zest that is a great topping for this stuffed acorn squash recipe. But it will complement any Thanksgiving meal. Make it earlier in the day so it has time to cool and thicken. Or, make it the day before and refrigerate after it cools at room temperature.

Low sugar orange-cranberry sauce
Vegan, gluten free
[makes 8 (1/4-cup) servings]

12 oz package of fresh cranberries, washed
1 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon grated orange zest
1/3 cup Sucanat or other organic cane sugar
Liquid stevia to taste for added sweetness

Heat the orange juice, zest and sugar in a small saucepan stirring until the sugar dissolves. 

Add the cranberries and bring to a boil. Reduce to medium heat and cook until all the cranberries pop and the sauce thickens (8 to 10 minutes).

Remove from the heat and add stevia a few drops at a time until it reaches the desired sweetness.  Don't add too much or it can become bitter. I usually add about 8 drops.

Let the cranberry sauce cool at room temperature. It will thicken as it cools. Store in the refrigerator.

Per serving: 66 calories, 0 g fat, 0 g cholesterol, 0 g protein, 16 g carbohydrates and 1.5 g dietary fiber and 1 mg sodium.

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Wild Rice and Aduki Bean Stuffed Acorn Squash
Vegan, gluten and lactose free
[makes 4 servings]

2 cups cooked brown and wild rice mixture
2 acorn squash, vertically cut in half, seeds removed
2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
1 can no salt added aduki beans, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons gluten free, low sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons agave nectar
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 cup low sugar cranberry sauce (see recipe above)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Cook a mixture of wild and brown rice, according to manufacturers directions, enough to yield 2 cups of cooked rice. Meanwhile, cook acorn squash.

Cut acorn squash in half and place on a cookie sheet or shallow roasting pan. Cover with foil and bake until a fork easily pierces the flesh, about 1 hour.

Cut acorn squash in half vertically
Cover with foil

While the squash is baking, heat the oil in a large sauté pan and cook the onions on medium heat until soft and slightly brown, about 5 to 8 minutes.

Add the beans, soy sauce, agave nectar and black pepper and cook for several minutes. Turn off the heat and set aside.

When the squash halves are cooked, remove them from the oven. Scoop out about half of the squash leaving the shell and about 1/2 inch of squash. Chop the removed squash into small pieces.

Add chopped squash to the pan of beans. 

Mixture of beans, onions, squash and seasoning

Stir in the wild rice mixture. 

Stir in the cooked wild and brown rice

Stuff the squash with the bean and rice mixture and cover with foil. Place in the oven and bake until warm, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Cover with foil and bake until heated

Serve with a tablespoon or more of low sugar cranberry sauce. 

Serve with cranberry sauce

Per serving: 369 calories, 3 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 12 g protein, 76 g carbohydrates, 10.3 g fiber and 374 g sodium.

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