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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Stuffed Summer Squash
(Ground Beef, Lentil & Brown Rice Stuffing)

One of the greatest things about summer are the farmer's markets. Today I walked down to one and as always, found an amazing selection of seasonal and local summer fruits and vegetables. blueberries, raspberries, cherries, beets, potatoes... but what really caught my eye were the beautiful round summer squash.

I have lots of squash bursting out of my garden these days, but none that are this shape. So of course, I had to get some!! 

The moment I picked these beautiful squash up, I saw them immediately as the perfect vessel for stuffing. The size resulted in one or two stuffed squash per person and they plated perfectly! Of course, you could stuff all other shapes and sizes of squash, peppers, or tomatoes with the same filling as I used and have the same yummy result. Oh, and don't forget to plan some space in next year's garden for these round beauties! I know I will!

Stuffed Summer Squash
Serves 4

8 Round Summer Squash (they don't have to be round- cut bottoms if unstable)
1 cup Brown Rice, uncooked
1/2 cup Split Red Lentils, uncooked
3 1/2 cups Water
Olive Oil
500 grams Lean or Extra Lean Ground Beef (optional if you want to make this dish vegetarian)
1 tbsp Cumin
 2 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 Onion, chopped
1 Red Pepper, chopped
Salt and Pepper

Cut off the top of the squash and hollow out. Reserve the tops, but cut the insides into cubes for use in the stuffing. Drizzle the squash with olive oil and salt and pepper (if your squash do not stand up by themselves, cut a bit off the bottom of the squash so it stands alone).

Place the brown rice, lentils and water into a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a summer and cook for about 20 minutes, until the rice is tender and the water has been absorbed.

In a separate pan, heat about 1 tbsp of olive oil. Add the ground beef and cook for 3-4 minutes until it starts to brown. Add the cumin, garlic, onion, red pepper, cubes of squash that was cut up and cook, stirring until the vegetables start to soften, another 5 minutes or so. Season with salt and pepper.

Stuff the hollowed out squash with the meat and rice stuffing. Place the squash lid on top of each filled squash and place on a lined sheet tray. Roast at 375 degrees for about 30-40 minutes, until squash is tender.

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