Basmati rice is simmered in spicy Thai red curry paste and coconut milk and piled into roasted acorn squash halves with pan-fried tempeh and peanuts to make these exotic and flavorful stuffed acorn squash boats.
Does Thanksgiving sneak up on you? It always sneaks up on me, and being that it’s a food holiday, Thanksgiving is a big deal to me. The absolute worst was when I was in Law School, because Thanksgiving coincided with that late portion of the semester, and in turn the time when the work was piled on. (Don’t even get me started on Christmas.) Year after year I’d psych myself up over all the meatless veggie food I was going to contribute to my family’s celebration, only to find myself empty handed and having to force my way through the jam-packed Whole Foods on my way home from school in an effort to grab the last bag of cranberries.
Things are different now that I devote a good deal of time to food blogging, but not as different as one might think. See, while I’ve always got food on the brain, I’ve got to plan even further in advance. Nobody wants a killer recipe for cranberry sauce the day before Thanksgiving (except maybe overworked law students), so I’ve got to get moving before everyone else does!
So far I’ve made a dent this year, but that’s about it. A dent. Don’t worry though! I’ve got a bunch more recipes planned and should be cranking out the vegan holiday posts shortly.
Now, as for this this, while it’s not intended to be a Thanksgiving recipe, my secret wish is that somebody super cool will go and use it as one. That would be great. On the one hand, it’s squash, so totally appropriate. On the other hand, who has a Thai-inspired Thanksgiving? You probably should, if for no other reason than the fact that acorn squash is a super pretty holiday centerpiece, and between it’s cute little boat shape and tender nutty flesh, it’s pretty much begging for some red curry filing.
Normally I use jasmine rice when cooking up coconut rice, but this time I opted to go with basmati for it’s grainy texture. The coconut gives it a rich, plant-based buttery taste and feel, and when you mix it up with the tempeh you end up with something of a super exotic flavorful pilaf that works just as well for a weeknight as for a holiday celebration.
Red Curry Basmati Rice and Tempeh Stuffed Acorn Squash
For the Roasted Acorn Squash
- 2 medium acorn squashes, halved and seeded
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tbsp. maple syrup
For the Red Curry Basmati Rice
- 1 cup full fat coconut milk
- 1 cup water
- 2 tbsp. red curry paste, or to taste, make sure it's vegan
- 1/2 tbsp. lime juice
- 1/2 tbsp. maple syrup
- 1 cup basmati rice
For the Pan-Fried Tempeh
- 2 tbsp. soy sauce or tamari
- 2 tbsp. maple syrup
- 2 tsp. lime juice
- 1 tsp. fresh grated ginger
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1-8 oz. package tempeh, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
- 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 2 scallions, chopped
- 1/4 cup roasted peanuts
Roast the Acorn Squash
- Preheat oven to 400°. Mix maple syrup and olive oil in a small bowl. Rub squash lightly with mixture and arrange on parchment lined baking sheet, seam side down. Bake 25-30 minutes, until tender.
Cook the Red Curry Basmati Rice
- While squash roasts, stir coconut milk, water, curry paste, lime juice, and maple syrup together in a medium saucepan. Stir in rice and place over high heat. Bring to a simmer, lower heat and cover. Allow to simmer until rice is tender, about 20 minutes. The mixture will be moist. Allow to sit for 5 minutes before uncovering.
Pan-Fry the Tempeh
- Stir soy sauce or tamari, maple syrup, lime juice, ginger and garlic together in a medium bowl. Add tempeh cubes and toss a few times to coat. Optionally, allow to marinate for up to 30 minutes (totally not necessary!).
- Coat the bottom of a large skillet with oil and place over medium heat. Add tempeh cubes in a single layer. Cook until lightly browned on bottoms, about 4 minutes. Flip and cook another 4 minutes. Add red bell pepper and stir-fry just until tender-crisp, about 2 minutes.
- Add rice, scallions and peanuts to skillet and flip a few times to mix. Remove from heat. Season with salt to taste.
- Stuff squash halves with rice and tempeh mixture. Serve.