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More and more of us are going to meatless Mondays and vegetarian every days, but what on earth can you do when “Turkey Day” rolls around?

The answer is, “get creative”. With so much beautiful and delicious produce available at harvest time, there is no reason to go hungry or feel deprived just because you choose to forego the bird.

Whole Roasted Stuffed Delicata Squash

from Sam Sifton for NYTimes

Ingredients:

  • 6 small delicata squash, about 1 pound each
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil, for the baking sheet
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 1 bunch red (Russian) kale (about 1 pound), trimmed and chopped
  • 6 ounces whole-grain bread, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 3 cups), from a good-quality loaf
  • ½ cup crumbled blue cheese
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup pecans, roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Cut 1 inch off the ends of each squash. Use a melon baller or small spoon to scrape out the seeds. Sprinkle the inside of the squash with salt and pepper, then stand them upright on an oiled baking sheet.
  2. Heat oven to 425 degrees. In a large saucepan set over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. When it foams, add onions to pan and sauté, stirring frequently, until they begin to soften and turn translucent, approximately 6 to 8 minutes. Add kale to pan and continue to cook, tossing, until kale begins to wilt, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and put vegetables into a large bowl.
  3. Meanwhile, place bread cubes on a sheet pan and toast in the oven until they begin to crisp on the outside, approximately 7 to 9 minutes. Add bread cubes to the bowl with the vegetables, and then add blue cheese and cranberries. Stir to combine.
  4. Put pecans in a dry sauté pan set over medium heat and toast the nuts until they begin to darken and turn fragrant, approximately 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in maple syrup and allow to cook for 1 minute. Then scrape into the bowl with the rest of the stuffing and toss to combine. Taste and season the mixture with salt and pepper.
  5. Lower oven temperature to 400 degrees. Divide the stuffing between the squash. Cut the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter into 6 pieces, and top each squash with a dot of butter. Roast squash until the flesh has softened and you can easily pierce it with a fork, approximately 45 minutes. If the squash is browning too quickly, lay a sheet of aluminum foil over the top to prevent burning.
  6. Sprinkle parsley over the squash. Serve 1 whole squash per person as a main course, or 1/2 squash or less as a side dish.

You could use any winter squash for this recipe, but the delicata, with its unique shape and color, makes a beautiful presentation as a main course.

Don’t forget to visit our recipe archive for more recipes (vegetarian or not) to be thankful for.