If we learned one thing last year, wasn’t it to be more considerate to ourselves and the world around us? One way many people try to do better for the planet is to eat more plant-based meals. It doesn’t have to be every night, and you don’t have to give up an occasional burger or steak in order to reap benefits.
These meals can be every bit as satisfying as meat-centric dinners — and for the cook, require only the same amount of effort. One of my absolute favorites is this hearty, deeply savory dish. It is lovely served with a salad, but also makes a perfectly well-balanced meal on its own. Perhaps best of all, it is also out-of-this-world delicious rewarmed for lunch the next day. Make more than one meal’s worth — this plant-forward meal is deeply satisfying.
Lentil-Stuffed Sicilian Squash Bowls
2 acorn squash, halved lengthwise and seeds removed
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 (12-ounce) zucchini, diced in 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 15-ounce can lentils, drained and rinsed
3/4 cup canned tomato sauce
1/3 cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon drained capers
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Coat a sheet pan with cooking spray.
2. Cut a tiny slice from the bottom (skin side) of each acorn squash half to help it sit flat on the sheet pan. Brush the cavities with about 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Place the squash cut side down on the sheet pan and bake until fork tender, about 45 to 50 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high. Add the onion, zucchini, 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, and the pepper and cook until softened, about 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the lentils, tomato sauce, raisins, capers, oregano, garlic powder and cumin.
4. Remove the squash from the oven, and flip them over so the cavities face up. Spoon the lentil mixture in the filling and bake until it is hot and the squash is very tender, about another 10 minutes. Just before serving, sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese. Makes 4 servings.