I avoid all processed foods, which means that fake meats, tempeh, and other processed proteins are off the menu. I am also generally opposed to 'substitutes' that are intended to taste like the real thing (vegan bacon anyone?) but leave me feeling a little deflated. I'd rather forgo the fake stuff and just focus on vegetables, grains, and legumes that taste really, really good.
Here's a different spin on traditional stuffed squash which I made for my family and they killed it. White miso holds the stuffing together along with low-sodium soy sauce, and I pack in even more vegetables for flavor, crunch, and nutrition. This dish makes a great main course or a hearty side to fish or chicken.
2 cups cornbread crumbs
2 green zucchini
2 yellow zucchini or yellow crookneck squash
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1 cup finely chopped Napa cabbage
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh Shitake mushrooms
1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger root
2 tablespoons raw white miso paste
2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
Pinch crushed red pepper
2 teaspoons light brown sugar
1 large egg, slightly beaten
3 tablespoons neutral oil, like Canola
1/4 chopped green onions and cilantro
1. Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly oil a large casserole dish and set aside.
2. Trim the stems and ends from each zucchini/squash and split lengthwise. Using a teaspoon, carefully scoop out the insides of each zucchini/squash so you make a nice boat, being careful not to scoop out too much or break the bottom. Slice off a very thin sliver down the length of the bottom of each 'boat' so they will not roll over in the casserole. Set aside.
3. In a small bowl, dissolve the brown sugar in the soy sauce. Stir in the crushed red pepper, garlic and ginger. Then stir in the sesame oil. Finally mix in the miso paste, adding 1 tablespoon of water to loosen the paste. Set aside.
4. Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium high heat. Add the red bell pepper, cabbage, mushrooms, and carrot and saute until soft, about 2 minutes. Lower the heat to medium low, then stir in the miso mixture, stirring just until all of the vegetables are coated. Turn off the heat and set aside.
5. Add the cornbread to a large bowl. Scrape all of the vegetables and their liquid into the bowl with the cornbread. Using your hands or a large wooden spoon, mix all of the ingredients together. Then add the egg and mix well to incorporate.
5. Stuff each boat with a generous amount of stuffing and place side-by-side in the casserole dish. Do not be worried if bits of stuffing fall into bottom of the dish as they will crisp up and can be sprinkled on top of the finished dish.
6. Bake uncovered for 30-35 minutes, checking after 25 minutes to make sure they are not overcooking. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the chopped green onion and cilantro. Best hot but also delicious at room temperature.