Monday, November 23, 2009

Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

I wanted to create a vegetarian Thanksgiving dish that the meat-eaters at the table would enjoy as well.  This dish uses quinoa (keen-wah) which actually is a complete protein, so you are not missing out on anything, nutritionally speaking, when you eat this without the bird.  Also, we should all consider having at least one meatless dinner per week (good for you AND the environment), and this is a great main dish that satisfies your protein needs and provides a great hearty, meaty texture.  I used red quinoa for this dish, but any quinoa will work.

  • 1 Acorn Squash
  • ground cinnamon (just a pinch or two)
  • 1/4 cup quinoa, cooked
  • olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons minced onion
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons walnuts, chopped and toasted (can be easily toasted by heating in a pan on the stove top until they begin to lightly brown)
  • 1 Tablespoon UNSWEETENED dried cranberries (or any other dried fruit you have on hand)
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • salt & pepper
  • Halve squash, remove seeds, and coat with a little bit of olive oil & cinnamon.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for 1 hour
  • Meanwhile prepare filling by combining cooked quinoa and toasted walnuts in mixing bowl
  • Saute onion, celery and garlic in a little olive oil on stovetop until slightly transparent
  • Add herbs, salt & pepper to onion mixture and allow to saute for another minute or two, then add to mixing bowl with quinoa and walnuts.  Add cranberries to this, as well.
  • When squash is baked, remove from oven and scoop out flesh, leaving enough to allow skin to maintain its shape
  • Coarsely chop the squash you have scooped out of the skin and add to mixing bowl (I actually do this with a spoon, in the bowl).  Stir to combine mixture.
  • Fill each squash half with the quinoa mixture.  Bake in 375 degree oven for about 15 minutes.

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