In the absence of all holiday parties and get togethers, you may not be feeling as motivated to cook this year. But, if you're looking to impress yourself and your immediate household, give this stuffed squash recipe a try!
This recipe makes for a festive side dish to a main protein like turkey, chicken or fish, or as an easy main for a plant-based weekday dinner. If you're making this during the week, save some time by prepping the quinoa filling and roasting the squash in advance (it could even be done the day before!). Happy cooking and eating!
Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash
2 acorn squash
2 tbsp. Extra virgin olive oil, divided
½ cup dry quinoa
1 cup water or chicken/vegetable stock
¼ cup dried cranberries or Craisins
½ cup toasted raw walnuts and/or cashews
1 tbsp. Lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
½ cup grated pecorino romano or parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast
½ cup feta or goat cheese crumbled
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
Arugula or other greens or fresh herbs like parsley or basil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Cut the acorn squash in half lengthwise or along one of the grooves (don’t attempt to cut the stem - just break apart when you reach that part). Spoon out the seeds and discard.
Place each half of the acorn squash cut-side up, and drizzle with 1 tbsp. olive oil, divided among squash. Season with salt and pepper. Flip squash over, so the cut-side is down.
Bake for 35-45 minutes (cook time depends on the size of your squash).
While squash is roasting, cook quinoa according to package instructions.*
Remove from heat, stir in cranberries, cover and let steam for 5 minutes.
Uncover and stir in nuts, lemon juice, garlic, remaining tbsp. of olive oil and ¼ tsp. salt.
When mixture has cooled, stir in the cheeses.
At this point, you can refrigerate cooked squash halves, and quinoa mixture, and stuff/bake when you're ready to eat.
Or, keep the oven heated, evenly divide quinoa mixture among squash halves, and bake at 400F, uncovered for 15-18 minutes or until mixture is slightly brown.
Scoop mixture into bowls on a bed of arugula or greens, or garnish with fresh herbs and eat directly out of the squash bowl. Enjoy!