Saturday, November 20, 2010

Cranberry Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash

Want to receive a delicious holiday treat from a fellow blogger?  Check out the Blogger Baked Goods Exchange over at Itzy's Kitchen.  The deadline to sign up is Wed., Nov. 24th, so do it quick! :)

Squash rocks.  It is super healthy, deliciously filling, and easy to cook.  I've been intrigued by different kinds of squashes since I began reading about the various kinds available during the fall.  Sprouts had all their squash on sale a few weeks ago, so I picked up an acorn squash and started working on something tasty for dinner on a chilly fall night.

Enter Mollie Katzen's Get Cooking.  I won this cookbook in a Kashi giveaway last year (it was one of those things where you enter and forget about it until the package shows up on your doorstep).  Needless to say, it's been a great resource and is packed full of easy and simple recipes to help you sharpen (pun intended, har har) your culinary skills.

Let's get started, shall we?

Pick a lovely squash for your meal.  Isn't it purty? :)

Get a big, sharp knife.  You'll need it to halve your squash down the middle.  Use force if necessary.

With a big spoon, scoop out all the pulp and seeds.  Be patient - it takes a while!  When you're done, bake it for 35-40 minutes until the flesh has softened.

Meanwhile, get your quinoa going.  I subbed quinoa for rice in this recipe because I hadn't cooked any in a while, and I thought the nutty texture of the quinoa would pair well with the sweet and nutty flavor of the squash.  I was right :)

In your saucepan, sauté some onions.

Add in your chopped nuts to toast them a bit and bring out the flavors of the natural oils.  Yum!

Please try not to burn your onions like I did.  Oops.

Once your quinoa is finished cooking (about 20 minutes), it will be nice and fluffy like this.  Sample a bit just to make sure :)

For the topping on your quinoa, toast the leftover squash seeds in the oven for 10-15 minutes at 300 degrees with olive oil, S&P, and cumin.  Make sure to stir them halfway through so they don't burn.

Mix all your other ingredients in with the quinoa...

...and add a splash of this to bring out the lovely fall flavors and give it a little extra kick.  I probably used 2-3 tablespoons.  Don't be shy!

Here's what your squash will look like after roasting.  Yum yum!

Fill each squash half with your quinoa mixture, and top with some toasted squash seeds.

Doesn't that look good? :)

Cranberry Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash - serves 2
Adapted from Mollie Katzen's Get Cooking


  • 8 oz. quinoa
  • 3/4 cup water (or however much you need to cook your quinoa)
  • 3/4 tbsp. EVOO
  • 1 medium acorn squash
  • 1/2 tsp. butter
  • 2-3 green onions, minced
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/8 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 medium apple, chopped
  • 1/8 cup dried cranberries
  • Apple cider vinegar to taste
  • Cook your quinoa according to package directions, and set aside.
  • Adjust your oven rack to the center position and preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Line a baking tray with foil, and pour half the olive oil on it.  Using your fingers, distribute the oil so it coats the area where you'll put the squash.  
  • Place the squash, cut side down, on the olive oil.  Roast for 35-40 minutes or until flesh is tender.
  • Meanwhile, heat a small skillet over medium heat.  Add the remaining olive oil and swirl to coat the pan.  Add the butter and swirl until it melts into the oil.
  • Add onion, and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often, or until it becomes very soft.
  • Add the walnuts and cook with the onions, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes (they will begin to toast and give off an aroma).
  • Stir in the garlic and salt, and cook for a few minutes longer.  Remove pan from heat.
  • Check on your quinoa and add a splash of apple cider vinegar to taste, if you like.
  • Transfer quinoa to a medium mixing bowl.  Add the onion-walnut mixture and toss until combined.  Add the apples and cranberries and toss until combined.
  • Turn the squash halves over so their cavities are facing up.  Divide the quinoa mixture among the squash, using a spoon to fill the cavities and pack down the mixture. (You'll have plenty of quinoa left over!)
  • Sprinkle the squash with the toasted seeds, and serve.


  1. Oh, I am definitely going to making this! Great presentation.

  2. Looks good! I've never cooked w/acorn squash because I'm afraid to cut it. I have a good Wusthoff knife so maybe I'm worrying for nothing! Love the flavor profile here!! Happy Thanksgiving to you...

  3. Oh man, that looks delicious! What a fun savory thing to do with acorn squash. We totally went the sweet route the other day, but now I want to try this!

  4. I love stuffing squash! Must remember to get acorn squash seeds for my garden next year.

  5. This sounds awesome! I love meals stuffed squash!

  6. Nice touch toasting the seeds! Yum!

  7. Yum. Quinoa and cranberries in squash sounds so Autumny!

  8. Thanks so much for the shout out! We so appreciate it :) Stuffed squash is one of my favorite fall/winter dinners. I love your combo too- I bet the cranberries & apple add just the right amount of sweet.

  9. I have never made a squash before, but I'm always on the hunt for delicious quinoa recipes, so I need to try this one! Thanks :)

  10. That recipe looks fantastic. I'll have to check out that cookbook too!


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