Quinoa Stuffed Squash

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My market is overflowing with different varieties of squash lately.  Yesterday, I went shopping for a boring old Butternut and came home with two Delicatas and a big, blue-green Hubbard instead.  The Hubbard is destined to become soup (I just bought my copy of Anna Thomas’s Love Soup and squash soup is first on my list) but I bought the Delicatas just for play, and I knew I wanted to stuff one.  With quinoa and chickpeas complementing the squash, this is a tasty and healthy dinner.  If you add cheese to the top, as I have noted as an option below, you will find that the melted cheese will keep the quinoa moist underneath.  If you skip the cheese, there will be a crispy quinoa crust over the top of the stuffing, which hubby really enjoyed.

This is a wonderful vegan (or vegetarian, if you add cheese) entree for fall, and I think it would be a spectacular addition to a vegetarian Thanksgiving table.  Quinoa is a wonderful ancient American grain, with more protein than most other grains.  It doesn’t hurt, either, that it’s incredibly pretty, cooking up as light and fluffy little spirals of goodness.  Red quinoa is particularly gorgeous, and that’s what I used here – you can still see the red centers and the little white swirls. 

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See how pretty?  Anyway, quinoa’s mild nutty flavor is a perfect foil for spices such as ancho chili powder and cumin, creamy beans, and sweet winter squash.  Enjoy in good health!

Quinoa Stuffed Squash

1/2 cup quinoa
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 Delicata (or other small squash)
kosher salt
extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup shredded cheddar (optional)

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Make the quinoa according to the package directions.  When the quinoa is finished cooking, add most of the chickpeas (reserving about 2 tablespoons), the chili powder, and the cumin, and stir to combine.  Stir in salt to taste and drizzle olive oil over the top.

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  • Split the squash lengthwise, carefully, with the knife blade always pointing away from you.  Clean the stringy inside (and reserve the seeds if desired; they’re great for roasting).  Lay the squash, cut sides up, on a foil-lined baking sheet or in a small roasting dish.
  • Drizzle a little olive oil over the cut sides of the squash and season with kosher salt.  Add the reserved chickpeas to the bottom of the squash wells – about 1 tablespoon each.  (If desired, sprinkle a little of the grated cheddar in as well – but not all of it.) 

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  • Spoon the quinoa stuffing over the chickpeas, until it piles up a little.  Drizzle olive oil over the top for moistness.  If desired, sprinkle the rest of the cheese over the stuffing.  (I skipped this and made these vegan, but I do think they would be delicious with a cheesy crust.)
  • Bake 1 hour, drizzling a little extra olive oil over as needed (only if you skipped the cheese).  Serve with green salad for a great, autumnal, vegetarian meal.

Source: Covered In Flour, inspired by Vegetarian Times

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