I’m sure there are a million different ways to stuff acorn squash, but quinoa is my favorite way. Quinoa is one of my favorite gluten-free grains (Well, actually quinoa is considered a relative of leafy green vegetables, like spinach). Why is this powerful grain a favorite of mine? Because it is literally packed with amino acids, and it is versatile. Recently, for my graduate program, we were asked to pick a book related to food and write a book report about it. First of all, I can’t remember the last time I had to write a book report. Second, I chose Michael Pollan’s book, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto. I have read it before, but reading it again did not hurt one bit. If you have not read this book, I highly recommend it. The book is full of advice, facts and quotes that will change the way you look at food forever. After all, the motto of the book is “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” If you have read the book, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below. In the mean time, enjoy this flavor-packed recipe.
Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash with Toasted Pine Nuts
Serves 2, with leftover quinoa.
1 acorn squash
1 cup quinoa, mixed 1/2 cup red and 1/2 cup white quinoa
2 cups chicken stock
1 lb. small sliced mushrooms
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 small white onion, minced
1/8 teaspoon salt for squash, 1/2 teaspoon salt for quinoa mixture
1/8 teaspoon black pepper for squash, 1/8 teaspoon black pepper for quinoa mixture
pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter divided, for squash
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
large handful of fresh Italian parsley, rough chop
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup fresh feta
Preheat oven to 375. Slice squash in half and scoop out seeds. Sprinkle salt, pepper, cayenne pepper over squash. Place butter in each squash. Roast for 45 minutes or until fork tender, set aside. Toast pine nuts, set aside. Cook quinoa according to directions, with chicken stock instead of water. In separate skillet, saute mushrooms and onions in extra virgin olive oil at medium/medium-high heat. Wait until mushrooms and onions are tender and slightly brown to season them with salt and pepper, about 15 minutes. Add in garlic, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, lemon zest, along with salt and pepper. Simmer on low for 2-3 minutes. Add cooked quinoa to vegetable mixture. Stir in fresh parsley and feta cheese. Place quinoa mixture inside cooked acorn squash. Top with toasted pine nuts.