My plant based version of one of the dishes I miss the most since I left Brazil. Shrimp Stew with Squash has always been a family classic, and a mandatory dish at the "welcome feast" mom throws me every time I visit.
At home, portobello mushrooms replaces the shrimp, and homemade cashew milk the cream. You can also try other types of milk: coconut, oat, and macadamia are great options for this recipe.
As for the squash, mom would usually use the "cinderella" variation, but a regular field pumpkin worked just fine. Small pumpkins are typically used for sweet treats, but can also work in savory recipes like any other winter squash. Use what's available to you and experiment -- recipes are just guidelines that can be bent and played around with. (Except for baking recipes. That stuff is serious!)
For the recipe below I used a small pumpkin which gave me about two servings.
1 small cinderella squash
9oz of sliced portobello mushrooms
1/2 cup of thin sliced leeks (the white part)⠀⠀
1 small diced tomato
1 cup of cashew milk* or other plant-based milk (coconut, oat and macadamia are good, creamy options) Learn how to make your homemade cashew milk below.
Extra virgin olive oil (you can also try Nutiva's Butter Flavored Coconut Oil)
Parsley and/or basil
1 Tbsp. Nutritional Yeast or more to taste (optional)⠀⠀
1 Tbsp. of homemade vegan "parmesan" (optional, but recommended)
*Directions for Cashew Milk, if homemade:
First, soak 1/8 cup of raw, unsalted cashews for about 10 minutes. Next, drain the soaking water and blend it with another 1 cup of filtered water. Typically when making homemade plant-based milk the next step would be to strain this mixture using a nut milk bag. With cashew milk you can ignore this step. Cashews blend well with water and turn into a thick cream that's perfect for this recipe.
Carefully cut the top of you squash. Remove the seeds and fiber from the inside. Tip: You can save the top of your squash and use it as lid if you're looking to wow your friends at that dinner party.
Place the squash on a baking sheet, open side facing down. Bake it at 375 F for aproximately 25 minutes, or until the inside is tender.
Meanwhile wash and prep all of the remaining ingredients.
In a large pot, add a drizzle of olive oil, the sliced mushrooms, and the salt. Sauté it for about 1 minute in medium heat.
Cover the pot and let it cook for about 5 minutes in medium-low. Your mushrooms will release water and shrink considerably.
Turn off the burner and discard some of the extra water if needed. Reserve.
In another pot, add a drizzle of olive oil and sauté the sliced leeks until fragrant. Next, incorporate the diced tomatoes and sauté a bit more.
Add the milk, the parsley/basil, a tsp. of fine sea salt, a large pinch of black pepper, and 1 tbsp. of nutritional yeast if you're using it. Adjust to taste.
Bring to a rapid boil, cover the pot, turn heat to low, and let it simmer for about 15 minutes.
Carefully incorporate the sautéd mushrooms in the milk. Try and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Pour the mixture inside your already cooked squash.
Finalize it with sprinkling some vegan "parmesan" on top.
When serving, make sure to scoop as much of the squash as possible.