- 2 medium-sized acorn squash
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cut the acorn squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. This may require some strength, so be sure to use a sturdy knife and a firm grip. Place the acorn squash halves, cut side down, on the baking sheet and roast for 30-35 minutes, until the squash is tender.
- While the squash roasts, it’s time to prepare the quinoa. Rinse the quinoa thoroughly under cold water to remove the bitter outer coating. In a medium saucepan, bring the vegetable or chicken broth to a boil. Add the quinoa, reduce the heat to low, and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed.
- In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat and sauté the chopped onion until translucent. Add the minced garlic and cook for another minute until fragrant.
- Once the quinoa is cooked, fluff it with a fork and transfer it to a large mixing bowl. Add the sautéed onion and garlic, dried cranberries, chopped pecans, and fresh parsley. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then gently fold everything together until well combined.
- Take the roasted acorn squash halves out of the oven and carefully flip them over so the cavity faces up. Divide the quinoa mixture evenly among the squash halves, pressing it down gently to ensure it fills the cavity.
- Return the stuffed acorn squash to the oven and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, until the top is golden and the stuffing is heated through.
- Once cooked, remove the squash from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes to avoid burning your eager taste buds. Serve each stuffed acorn squash half as a hearty main course or cut it into smaller portions for a delightful side dish.
Tips and Variations:
- Add a sprinkle of crumbled feta cheese or grated Parmesan on top of the stuffed squash before the final baking stage for an extra burst of flavor.
- Substitute the dried cranberries with pomegranate seeds or raisins for a different twist of sweetness.
- Experiment with different herbs like thyme or sage to provide a unique herbal note to your stuffing.
The quinoa-stuffed acorn squash is a testament to the harmony between seasonal ingredients and ancient grains. It’s a celebration of the splendid flavors nature gifts us during the autumn months. So, gather your friends and family, indulge in the captivating tale of this dish, and savor its warmth, nourishment, and the rich culture it encapsulates.