Friday, November 16, 2012

Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash

Since I just wrote a blip about the wonders of quinoa, I thought a new quinoa recipe was in order!  How about something that oozes of fall?  Warming to the body, hearty and filling, something with both the sweetness and spice of the season.  Combine quinoa with apples, sausage and squash, and there you have a one-dish dinner that is the epitome of fall! 

(Psssst! Holiday Hint: Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash would also make a novel addition to a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, served right alongside the turkey, mashed potatoes and green beans.  Just look for small acorn squashes, or quarter them after baking.)

Savory Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squashes
6 servings: $2.09 per stuffed half (using organic ingredients)

3 large acorn squashes (or a similar variety)
1 lb ground sausage
2-3 cups leftover or pre-cooked quinoa*
2 apples
1 small onion, or half a large
2 stalks celery
1-4 T butter (depends on type of sausage used)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 t sage
2 pinches dried mustard powder
Pinch salt & pepper

Halve acorn squashes vertically from top to bottom. Scoop out seeds. In a large glass baking dish, add just enough water to coat the bottom of the dish. Lay the squash halves cut side down and roast at 350 for about 30min, until tender.

Meanwhile add sausage to a skillet over medium heat and begin to cook. While the sausage is cooking, mince the onion, celery and apples. When most of the pink is gone from the sausage, turn the heat up to medium high and add the onion and celery and cook, stirring occasionally for 2-3 minutes until the onions are just beginning to turn translucent. (If you are using a lean sausage--such as the turkey sausage I used--you will want to add 1T of butter to the skillet along with the onion and celery so you have enough fat to saute with.)  Then add the apples and seasonings, stirring occasionally while the apples soften. Once the apples are soft, add the quinoa and toss to combine and heat the quinoa through. Turn the heat off.

When you remove the squashes from the oven, the water should be gone from the baking dish. Up the oven temperature to 400.  Flip the squash halves over and fill with the sausage-quinoa mixture.  As you scoop the mixture into the squashes, press down gently to pack the filling in.  Press down as you mound so that the mound of filling stays put. Top each mound of filling with a small pat of butter, about 1/2 tablespoon's worth. (If you've used a fatty sausage, you can skip this part, as your filling likely has enough moisture.)  Place the filled squashes back into the oven for about 20 minutes, or until the edges of the squash and filling are just beginning to brown. 

*This is a great way to use up any leftover quinoa (or brown rice for that matter).  However, if you need to pre-cook some quinoa for this recipe, here's a simple method: 
Bring 2 cups water (or chicken broth) to boil in a pot. 
Thoroughly rinse 1 cup dry quinoa in a strainer.
Add the quinoa to the boiling water. 
Cover with a lid, turn the heat off, and let sit for 15-20 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed.
Fluff with a fork.
There are other methods to cooking quinoa, here is one, where you toast the quinoa first which is supposed to make it more flavorful.  And here is a version with a pre-soak for better mineral absorption. 

* If you enjoyed this post, you may want to view:

Whole Foods for the Everyday Cook - a whole foods cookbook
Autumn Quinoa - with butternut squash, feta and walnuts
Barley-Radish Salad with Cucumbers, Pecans & Cranberries
Sweet Quinoa Salad with Avocado, Papaya & Tomato
Veggie-Stuffed Portobellos
Breakfast Quinoa with Pumpkin, Cranberries & Walnuts

Linked to Real Food Holiday Link-Up.

1 comment:

  1. This looks really tasty! Thanks for all the recipes you share.