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Celebrate Winter Squash This Holiday Season

"The squash family brings comfort to the winter weather that we dread. Pumpkin and other squashes bring heartiness and warmth to the upcoming colder days. In the holiday season, something about the hearth that keeps burning either in one’s home or at their friend’s house, the smell and aroma of cooking and baking, the action of stirring a good meal while it is cooking, brings people together. Sharing what one cooked or enjoying the cooking of another symbolizes a season of togetherness and community. With homes becoming the gathering places for such togetherness, the holiday season perks up. For those of you that are seasoned cooks to those who would rather not look at the stove, here is a simple, go-to dish that you can make,” says plant-based chef Uma Vaiyapuri.

Warm Acorn Squash Salad

Note: This recipe is free of nuts, corn, gluten and dairy. Add roasted chestnuts to the mixture to make it holiday worthy.

Yields: 4 servings

 1 small to medium acorn squash

2-3 stalks celery

1 medium bunch of chard

1 medium onion (any kind you like)

3-4 cloves of minced garlic

2-3 Tbsp finely chopped chives

1 sprig of thyme

1 Tbsp coconut oil (or any other oil)

½ tsp salt or to taste

 Preheat oven to 400° F.

Wash the acorn squash and cut open into two halves, and remove the seeds and fibers from the center of the squash. Drizzle ¼ tsp of oil on each half and spread it over the insides of the squash. Sprinkle a little bit of salt and pepper to taste.

Fill a baking dish about ⅓ full of water and place the squash in the dish facing up. Bake for about 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, pull it out and stick in a knife to see if it is cooked. The knife should easily slide into the squash. Once it cools, chop into bite sized pieces, or reserve the squash in its shell to stuff with vegetable mixture.

While the squash is cooking, wash the veggies and herbs. Chop celery into bite-sized pieces. Remove the greens from the chard, chop the stems to small sized pieces and cut ribbons with the leaves. Dice the onions, mince garlic.

Place a heavy-bottom pan on medium heat and add oil. Once the oil is hot, add the onion, garlic, celery and the chard stems, sprinkle on about ¼ tsp of salt and sauté. Cook for about 7 to 8 minutes with a closed lid. Occasionally stir so that it doesn’t burn.

Turn the heat off and add the chard leaves and another ¼ tsp of salt and give a nice stir. The chard will cook in the heat of the pan and does not need the stove to be on.

Add the chopped squash into the mixture and gently stir. Alternately, stuff the mixture into the squash and serve.


Uma Vaiyapuri is a plant-based chef and an author of the The Lion’s Wisdom, a channeled text. She teaches cooking and creates plant-based meals that follow the Medical Medium protocol by Anthony Williams. For more information, call 312-933-1621 or visit