Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash
I enjoy this recipe during two seasons. First, in the fall, when squash is plentiful. Second, during the winter, when I have enough of the cold weather, I want a reminder of the beautiful fall weather.
As a small tip, I typically make more stuffing to put on the table for anyone who wants extra. And yes, trust me, it will go quickly. We end up eating more of the quinoa stuffing; that’s how delicious it is!
The second tip is that the quinoa stuffing is much better on the second day. The quinoa absorbs the flavours in the sauce. It is a great quick meal to grab the following day.
Now enough talking, and let’s get cooking, shall we?
- 2 acorn squash
- I cup uncooked quinoa (3 cups cooked)
- 1 cup celery, cubed
- 1/2 cup onion, cubed (red or white)
- 1/3+1/4 cup pumpkin seeds???
- 1/3 cup dried apricot, cubed
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 6 tbsp freshly squished orange juice
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp grapeseed oil
- 1/4 tsp caraway seeds
- Salt and pepper to taste
Cooking the Quinoa
Rinse the 1 cup of quinoa until the water is clear and drain. Set the stovetop to medium heat, heat the pot and add 1/2 a tsp of grapeseed oil. Once hot, add the drained quinoa, salt and pepper to your liking. Mix and cook for at least 1 to 2 minutes to get that flavour out. Add 1 cup of water and bring it to simmer.
Once simmering, cover the pot and cook for 15 minutes at low heat temperature. Once done, remove the pot from the stovetop. Fluff the quinoa using a fork and set it aside.
Cooking the Squash and Pumpkin Seeds
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Cut the acorn squash in half and scrape the seeds out, leaving only squash meat. Rinse, dry it with a paper towel and set it aside. In a small bowl, mix 6 tbsp freshly squished orange juice, 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar (I use Aged balsamic) and 1 tbsp olive oil. Using a barbecue brush, brush some of the mixtures to the inside part of the clean squash, then sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Put aside the leftover sauce for the pumpkin seeds topping and quinoa mixture.
In a cookie tray lined with parchment paper, arrange the squash upside down. In a small bowl, put 1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds and add at least 1/2 tsp of the sauce. Mix until seeds are properly mixed with the sauce. Spread the seeds evenly in another small cookie tray lined with parchment paper.
Now bake the squash for 40 minutes together with the pumpkin seeds. After 6 minutes, check the doneness of the pumpkin seeds. You’re looking for a light brown toasty colour of the seeds. If it’s not ready, mix the seeds and put them back to continue baking for another 2 minutes. After two minutes, it should be toasty enough. Put it aside on the countertop until ready for use. Keep the squash to continue baking for another 32 minutes undisturbed.
Point to remember in baking the squash. The duration of baking the squash by itself is 40 minutes, but if you’re baking it together with the seeds because you open the oven several times, it disrupts the temperature of the range, which means you might need to extend the baking time the squash. If you prefer, thoroughly cook the squash first for 40 minutes, then cook the pumpkin seeds for 6-8 minutes. You’ll know the squash is finished if you poke it with a bbq stick and will go right through easy. You want your squash to be well cooked for easy scooping.
Cooking the Quinoa Stuffing
First, cook the quinoa. See above.
Heat the pan and add 1/2 tsp of grapeseed oil on the stovetop. When oil is hot enough, add the onion and celery, cook for 4 minutes and occasionally mix to avoid burning. After 4 minutes, add the uncooked pumpkin seeds and cook for 3 minutes. Then add the cooked quinoa, chop cranberry and apricot, grounded caraway seeds, salt and pepper to your liking. Mix and cook for 1 minute. Add the remaining orange juice and balsamic sauce mixture, chop parsley, mix and cook for 2-3 minutes. Taste it and see if you want to add more salt and pepper. Other than that, quinoa stuffing is now ready.
Put one cooked squash on a serving dish, add quinoa stuffing, and sprinkle it with the roasted pumpkin seeds. You can also lightly drizzle it with aged balsamic vinegar like my husband if you prefer. The kids and I prefer it without the balsamic vinegar.
Happy cooking, and enjoy that delicious quinoa stuffed acorn squash!