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Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

November 15, 2011

For probably a month now, I’ve been wanting to make a stuffed acorn squash with quinoa – thinking often of potential flavors and ingredients to include.  A couple acorn squash have even come and gone, making it only to the microwave with the usual butter and brown sugar filling.

Perfect opportunity came Sunday when I mistakenly started cooking quinoa instead of my intended steel cut oats.  Not really sure where I left my brain during that episode.  But hey it ended up I had some cooked quinoa and a pretty little acorn squash ready for a stuffing.  🙂

Quinoa stuffed acorn squash

I now think that my screw up was fate leading me to this dish.  If you haven’t jumped on the quinoa (keen-wah) bandwagon yet, I’m telling you JUMP ON!  Every time I eat it, I wonder why I don’t cook more often with these little fluffy grains.

So since the quinoa fairy smacked me in the face, it was time to figure out exactly how I wanted to make my stuffed squash.  I love sweet flavors with squash, so I figured to keep it easy and stay along the lines of a sweeter dish.  Good choice, Lis.

Lot’s of good flavor in these guys….sweet, caramel-y, nutty and a touch tangy and savory.  The extra sweetness from a maple vinaigrette would make this a great side for a salty dish featuring ham, bacon or sausage.

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash with Maple Vinaigrette

1 small acorn squash

1 1/2 C cooked quinoa

1 T butter

1 small/medium onion, sliced

1/4 C toasted pecans

1/4 C dried cherries (or cranberries, raisins, etc)

2 T olive oil

1 T balsamic vinegar

1 T maple syrup

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cut squash in half and remove seeds and membrane, then brush flesh with olive oil and sprinkle with a little bit of salt.  Roast for around 30 minutes or until easily pierced by fork.

Meanwhile melt butter in skillet over low heat and then add onions to caramelize, letting cook over low to medium low heat until very golden brown.

When onions are caramelized, toss together quinoa, onions, toasted pecans and dried cherries in a medium-sized bowl.

In small bowl whisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar and maple syrup until completely combined.  Drizzle half the maple vinaigrette over the quinoa and stir well.  Keep adding more vinaigrette until it suits your taste.

Spoon quinoa mixture into roasted squash and serve warm.

Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

Honestly, seriously…swear to God, I LOVED it.   One half of squash was mighty filling too.  I was pretty much full 3/4 the way through, but of course plowed my way through and finished it all.

Definitely found myself a new fall season staple.

Back to my cooking confusion: Have you ever used the wrong ingredient but actually have your recipe turn out fantastic?  Or maybe worse than you could even imagine?  

Spill it. 🙂

Someone I know recently put chili powder instead of cinnamon in a raspberry pie – I’m not naming names though *coughmomcough*.

Sharing this post with GNOWFGLINS. 🙂

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. November 15, 2011 9:12 pm

    Love quinoa- a great way to have salads for lunch! Welcome to the bandwagon, you’ll never want to get off! =)

    • November 16, 2011 10:40 am

      I’ve done a quinoa salad for lunch before…it was great! My fav was a greek quinoa salad with lots of salty feta…too good!

  2. November 16, 2011 5:48 pm

    This looks so good! I love quinoa and am always looking for ways to use it. Squash is great too!

  3. November 17, 2011 12:02 pm

    Looks lovely! I need to buy an acorn squash now.

  4. Claudia permalink
    November 21, 2011 5:51 pm

    made this for supper tonight…had the idea to stuff with quinoa and apples but was looking for some ideas…this turned out fantastic! I did add a few diced apples, but stuck with the recipe. Will be a staple in my house!!!!

    • November 21, 2011 6:24 pm

      I bet the apples made it even better…you could probably just sub those for the dried fruit too!

      Going to be a fall staple in my house too! I was actually quite shocked at how good it turned out. Ha.

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