Monday, November 21, 2011

The Recipe: Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash

adapted from

1 acorn squash*
Salt, pepper, and onion powder (to taste)
1 T butter or margarine
1 cup quinoa
2 cups chicken/veggie stock or broth (reduced sodium)
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped finely
4 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 jalapeno peppers, chopped finely (remove seeds for less heat)
1/2 cup mushrooms, chopped (optional)
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
2 T fresh lemon juice
2 cups fresh spinach, uncooked and torn into bite-size pieces
1/2 cup feta, crumbled (regular or reduced-fat)
1 T parsley, chopped

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Start by slicing your acorn squash in half. (Use a very sharp knife, and be careful!)  Scoop out all the seeds.  Sprinkle each half with a little bit of salt, pepper, and onion powder (optional) and put 1/2 T butter in each squash half.

Place squash halves on a baking tray and roast at 425 degrees for 40 - 45 minutes.  (Keep an eye on them to make sure that they don’t get too dark.)  The squash is done once it is tender when poked with a fork.

While the squash is cooking, cook your quinoa, according to the package directions, but substitute chicken or vegetable broth for the water. (You can use water, but broth is a bit more flavorful.)

While the quinoa is cooking and the squash is roasting, pour your extra virgin olive oil into a skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onion, garlic, jalapenos, and mushrooms (if using) for 7-10 minutes or until they are slightly browned.  Add the sun-dried tomatoes and heat through. 

Squeeze the lemon juice over the onion mixture and season it with salt and pepper to taste.

Now, turn the heat to low and add the cooked quinoa to the veggie mixture. Throw in the 2 cups of spinach; stir to combine and allow the spinach to wilt a bit.

Add in the feta cheese and parsley next. Save a little of each for topping, if you want.

Your acorn squash should be looking beautiful by now.  Remove it from the oven.  If you find that there are puddles of melted butter in the squash halves, use a pastry brush to spread the butter over the cut surface of the squash.

Spoon the quinoa mixture into the cooked acorn squash halves and top with a little extra feta and parsley, if desired.

Serves 2 (with extra quinoa stuffing leftover)

*This recipe actually makes enough quinoa stuffing for 2 acorn squashes (4 filled halves).  We made up the stuffing on night #1 and used it to fill the first acorn squash (2 halves).  Then, we had an easy second dinner on night #2.  A second acorn squash was roasted, and the filling was reheated and added to the new squash halves.  However, you could also just eat the leftover stuffing as is.  Whatever suits your fancy.

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