Barley Stuffed Butternut Squash
2 1/4 cups apple juice, unsweetened
1 cup pearl barley, uncooked
1 medium to large butternut squash, halved lengthwise and deseeded
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1/4 to 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1 1/4 teaspoons dried tarragon
1 1/4 teaspoons sage
dash garlic powder
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup apple sauce, unsweetened
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium saucepan, bring apple juice to boil; add barley; cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer until liquid is absorbed and barley is cooked, stirring occasionally.
2. Spray cut sides of squash, and a 9x13" baking dish with cooking spray, and put squash cut side down into baking dish. Roast for approximately 1 hour, or until they feel soft when pushed down with finger. Let squash sit until able to handle comfortably. Increase oven to 400 degrees F.
3. While squash is cooling, put olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onion and saute for 2-3 minutes; add celery and saute for about 2 minutes. Add walnuts and saute until onion is translucent and walnuts are a bit toasted. Reduce heat to low.
4. Scoop out pulp from squash halves, leaving shells intact. Add squash to onion mixture and mix well; add spices and mix well. Add applesauce and brown sugar, stirring until well mixed (over low heat). Stir in cooked barley until mixed.
5. Put mixture in squash shells. Sprinkle with additional brown sugar, if desired. Put in oven and bake until heated through.
This recipe can be used as a main dish for 2 people. Round out with a salad and some vegan bread. Or, use as a side dish for 4 to 6 people, where the squash shells are used as a serving dish. The spices used mix together surprisingly well. A flavor that needs to be tasted to fully appreciate. Enjoy!