Whole stuffed squash are not only nutritious, they are a gorgeous meal-in-a-bowl, right from nature. Full of flavor, they can easily be adapted to what is in your pantry. You can use any mixture of grains, any combination of herbs and switch up the fruit and nuts. The addition of diced sausage or pancetta will satisfy any carnivore eaters. My version features a herbed quinoa- cranberry stuffing with chopped pecans. Get creative with your own combination and bring fall to your table.
CRANBERRY-QUINOA WHOLE STUFFED ACORN SQUASH
2 acorn squash
1/4 c celery, diced
3 shallots, finely diced (about 1/2 c)
1/2 c chopped pecans
1/2 c dried cranberries
2 T olive oil
1/4 c chopped fresh herbs ( I used sage, parsley and thyme)
1 t ground cumin
2 T maple syrup
1 and 1/2 c cooked tricolored quinoa
salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 425F
1- Cut the tops off your squash and reserve. Cut a thin slice off the bottom so the squash can sit flat. Clean out the seeds and remove membranes. Salt and pepper the inside of squashes. Rub cavity and edges with a bit of olive oil. Place the top back on the squash and roast on a rimmed baking sheet for 30 minutes.
2- In the meantime, sauté the celery and shallots in the oil until soft. Add the cranberries, pecans, herbs, and cumin and cook for 2 minutes, to plump up the cranberries and meld flavors. Combine this mixture with the cooked quinoa. Add the maple syrup and mix well to distribute.
3- Remove suqash from oven and reduce heat to 350F. Place squash back on the baking sheet and fill with the stuffing, mounding it above the edges. Cover the stuffing loosely with foil. Add about an inch of water to the pan and bake for an additional hour, until the squash is soft.
4- To serve, plate with the squash tops on the side for presentation panache. The whole squash can be served for an entrée portion or the squash can be cut in half to served as appetizer or side portions.
“Autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile.” William Cullen Bryant