A few winters ago I was revisiting this childhood favorite squash preparing it as my mom always had. My husband devoured it, but I knew I could make it more nutritious. I wanted to turn it into a complete meal making it more filling and requiring nothing else on the side. I had the idea of stuffing it with some of my favorite fall ingredients and I've never looked back. This is such an amazing way to enjoy acorn squash.
Most times when I make this recipe I'm cooking for just my husband and myself (plus one small tot) so I only use one acorn squash. This means we end up with tons of stuffing leftovers to use throughout the week in salads, etc. and I'm not complaining about that! You can easily swap sweet potatoes (peeled, cubed and steamed or roasted) for the carrots if you'd prefer that flavor. You can shorten your prep time in the kitchen by making the stuffing mixture ahead of time too.
Get this squash on your grocery list for next week! Trust me, you'll be glad you did.
2 acorn squash
1 cup quinoa, uncooked (or grain of choice)
1 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable stock
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 cup dried unsweetened cranberries
2/3 cup carrots, shredded
2/3 cup green apple, diced
1/4 cup pepitas, toasted
1 tsp dried sage
2 Tbs parsley, roughly chopped
Salt + pepper to taste
1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice acorn squash in half and scoop out seeds. Place face down in a large casserole dish filled with 1/2 inch water (or vegetable stock). Bake for 15-20 minutes.
2) While squash is roasting cook quinoa. Place vegetable stock, quinoa and cranberries in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to low. Let simmer for 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove lid and let sit for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork.
3) Once quinoa is almost finished cooking place 2 Tbs olive oil in a saute pan. Add onion and cook 3-5 minutes or until soft and translucent. Toss in carrots, green apples, toasted pepitas, sage, parsley and quinoa/cranberry mixture. Cook an additional 2-3 minutes to warm all ingredients. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
4) Place squash face up in casserole pan. Fill each cavity 1/2 to 2/3 full with stuffing mixture. Drizzle tops of each squash with olive oil and cover with foil. Bake in oven for 20-30 minutes (or until you can easily pierce skin with fork); remove foil for last 5 minutes.