Dinner Friday: Quinoa-Stuffed Squash

Winter squash is one of my favorite fall foods.  I especially like the small “single-serve” versions because they require little cleaning and prep — no peeling or chopping, and not a lot of de-seeding.  Stuffing these mini-squash with a mixture of quinoa, onions, vegetables and cheese makes for an easy, hearty, healthy vegetarian meal.

You can use almost anything in your stuffing — it’s a great way of using up leftovers.  Some additions I’ve made: vegetarian or meat hot dogs, beans, dried fruit, peas, apples, cauliflower and broccoli.  Using quinoa as a base is nice because it cooks quickly and is a high protein grain, nutritionally taking the place of meat.  (More info in cooking quinoa and its nutritional value is here.)  That said, any quick-cooking or leftover grain will do.  Regular or whole wheat couscous is another good option is you are pressed for time.

Quinoa-Stuffed Squash
4 small winter squash, like sweet dumpling, buttercup, delicata or acorn
3 tbsps olive oil
1 onion, sliced (chopped if you wish)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pinenuts
1-2 cups spinach, kale or chard
1 cup cooked quinoa or other grain
1 cup grated gruyere cheese

Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.  Cut the tops off the squash and clean out seeds to make empty shells.  Brush the squash with 1 tbsp olive oil, and place face-down in a baking dish.  Roast for 20 minutes, or until the squash is just tender.

While the squash is roasting, saute the onion in the remaining olive oil until soft and brown, about 10 minutes.  Add the nuts and roast for 2-3 minutes, then add greens and cook until they are wilted, but still bright green.  Turn off the heat, add the cooked quinoa and stir through.

Take the squash out of the oven, turn over the shells and stuff with 1/4-1/2 cup of the filling, depending on how big your squash is.  Sprinkle cheese over each serving.  Return to the oven for another 20 minutes, until top is crisp and browned.

Easy Stuffed Squash Recipes from Around the Web:

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