As I sit typing up this post, I can see what remains of our garden...the flower beds...beautiful bright fuchsia and white cosmos dominate the scene, with warm toned zinnias and orange calendula dotted here and there. I love this colorful transition from summer into fall every October. The pumpkins are in at the farms and the cranberries are ready for harvesting in the bogs. Those first baked squashes and pies and pies and more pies are a welcome tradition in the kitchen.
The local farm had these beautiful bosc pears from a farm in MA, and I couldn't resist them. When I saw the sweet dumpling squashes I knew right away I wanted to pair those flavors together. If you can find sweet dumpling or carnival squash from your local farms or farmers markets, give them a try over acorn squash. The flavor of these heirloom varieties surpasses that of acorn squash by far in my humble opinion.
Walnuts and sage seemed to be the perfect fall flavor additions to the stuffing. I wanted a little creaminess to balance out the flavors and a dollop of our homemade soy labneh (yogurt cheese) with more sage was the perfect compliment to this dish. You can find out how to make your own vegan yogurt and labneh in our tutorial here (it's not difficult!). A spoonful of coconut cream would be a great alternative if you don't have any labneh made up.
These squashes make a beautiful presentation for a dinner party or for a Thanksgiving table...it's coming! My favorite holiday! I'll be sharing more Thanksgiving recipes over the coming weeks so be sure to subscribe to our mailing list (in the right column -->) if you don't want to miss a post.
Recipe after the jump...
Maple Walnut Pear Sage Stuffed Squashes with Sage Labneh
2 sweet dumpling, carnival or acorn type winter squashes
2 pears such as bosc or bartlett
1 medium onion
1 large clove garlic
1/4 cup walnuts
4 tablespoons maple syrup
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon good quality mustard
4-6 sage leaves
sea salt and ground pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425˚F. Halve squash horizontally and scoop out seeds. Break off the stems if any. Use 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to rub over the inside of the squashes. Then lightly sprinkle them with salt and pepper. If any halves are thicker, prick insides with a fork. Bake squashes flesh side up/skin side down on a parchment lined sheet pan for 25 minutes.
Meanwhile, dice onion and mince garlic. Heat cast iron or stainless steel skillet on medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil to the heated skillet then add onion and caramelize on low heat until nicely browned, about 15-20 minutes. Add garlic 5 minutes into cooking time so it does not burn.
Core and chop pear into about 1/3" sized pieces. Finely chop walnuts. Mince sage leaves.
Mix together pear, walnuts, caramelized onion and garlic, sage, mustard, maple syrup and remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, plus salt and pepper to taste.
When squashes have finished pre-baking, remove them from oven, and fill them equally with the pear filling. Return them to oven to bake for another 20 minutes, until squashes are fork tender and filling is nicely browned on top.
To make sage labneh, simply mince a couple of sage leaves, and stir into labneh with a glug of olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. To make soy labneh from scratch follow my tutorial here.
Serve squashes hot from the oven with a dollop of sage labneh on each and garnish with tiny sage leaves.