There I was in Whole Foods when I spied this mound of beautiful white Acorn Squash. Enthusiastically, I bought two. The first one I just baked with a little maple syrup and served as a side dish. But last night I wanted to make the second one the star of dinner, and rather than do a bread crumb/celery/nut stuffing, I decided to play with a Quinoa stuffing. The result was delicious!
Quinoa isn’t the first grain that comes to mind when I am preparing dinner. But every time I do remember to make it, I enjoy it’s crunchy, nutty flavor. It’s particularly excellent in a vegetarian meal since it is a relatively complete protein source. I’m always looking for interesting ways to use it.
1 acorn squash, cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed
2/3 cup of water
1/2 tsp salt (I use sea salt, kosher salt is good too)
1/3 cup quinoa
1/3 cup whatever nuts you have on hand (I used pecans), chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
4 TBS dried fruits (I prefer dried cherries or cranberries, but you can also use apricots, raisins, even a mix of dried fruits), chopped if the pieces are large
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 TBS maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Rub squash with olive oil on both cut side and skin. Place skin side down in a glass baking dish. Bake for approximately an hour.
- Combine water, salt and quinoa in a medium saucepan. Reduce temperature and simmer for about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover and set aside.
- Toast nuts in a saute pan for a few minutes (don’t let them burn). Remove and set aside.
- Add about 1 TBS of olive oil in the same pan. Saute onion and garlic until soft and translucent.
- Add dried fruits, nuts, cinnamon, chili powder, salt and cumin. Stir.
- Add the cooked quinoa. Stir and taste to adjust seasonings.
- Remove acorn squash from the oven and fill with the quinoa mixture. Drizzle with maple syrup.
- Return to the oven for about 10 minutes.
I served this with a baby greens salad with chopped pears, pignoli nuts and goat cheese, and a raspberry vinaigrette.