Ingredients:

  • 1 med to large butternut squash
  • 1 cup pearl barley, uncooked
  • 2 1/4 cups apple juice, unsweetened
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (extra virgin, light)
  • 1 small yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks Celery, chopped
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons each – dried tarragon & sage
  • dash of garlic powder, as desired
  • dash of salt, as desired
  • black pepper, as desired
  • 1/2 cup brown vegan sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce, unsweetened
  • additional brown vegan sugar, to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 deg.

2. 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.

3. Meanwhile, cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Spray cut sides and a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with cooking spray; put squash cut side down into baking dish. Roast for approx. 1 hour, or until they feel soft when pushed down with finger. Let squash sit until able to handle comfortably. Increase oven temp to 400 degrees.

4. While squash if 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 walnut are a bit toasted. Reduce heat to low.

5. 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 till mixed.

6. Put mixture in squash shells. Sprinkle with additional brown sugar, if desired; put in oven and cook 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!