Acorn Squash Stuffed Nut Loaf

Nut loaf will always remind me of Paris. Not because they serve nut loaf in Paris; I am not sure that any Parisian has even heard of it.  But because that was where I was when I first heard of it, and tasted it. I had no idea what to expect, I was fearful that it would be very dry and leave a funky after taste like so many meat dishes reinvented into vegetarian soy dishes tend to be (even though I did have confidence in the cooks.)

And with such an unappetizing name as nut loaf, I was doubtful. But despite it's bad fortune, nut loaf is awesome.
It's hearty, cheesy, and nutty of course. And to be honest, it's so much better than any kind of meat loaf. It just needs a new name so that it will not be considered a meat loaf substitute, it needs a name that will make even meat eaters mouth's water, because it can certainly satisfy. I, unfortunately, have no ideas.

The family that feed me the nut loaf made it as a substitution to turkey on Thanksgiving, being that they were vegetarian. I think this is a great idea. It is certainly substantial enough to replace the bird, and the flavors work well with all the loved thanksgiving side dishes. And, it just might be a better option than a tofurkey.

Being that I am still exploring the different varieties of winter squash, I decided to try using this nut loaf as a stuffing, and it works amazingly. The sweet addition of the squash blends so nicely with the nutty flavors of the loaf.

Acorn Squash Stuffed Nut Loaf
Serves 4

2 acorn squash
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 Tbs olive oil, and more for drizzling
2 garlic clove, grated
6 oz mushrooms
3 oz cashews, chopped
3 oz grams almonds, ground
3 oz gruyere, grated
1 egg
1 small bunch chives, chopped
1 small bunch parsley, chopped
2 slices whole wheat bread, toasted and ground

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Split the acorn squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Place in an oven safe dish, drizzle with olive oil and roast until soft, about 25-35 minutes.

Chop half of the mushrooms very finely. Slice the remaining mushrooms, and cut in half. Set aside. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet and add the onions, cook until fragrant and then add the garlic. Once the onions are soft, add the mushrooms, and cook for 6 more minutes, stirring occasionally.

Allow the mushroom mixture to cool. In a large bowl, add the nuts, mushroom mixture, cheese, egg, herbs, and fresh bread crumbs. Mix together well. Scrap a thin layer of the interior of the acorn squash and add to the mixture. Generously stuff the squash with the nut loaf, and bake for 35-40 minutes, until the top is golden brown.