Ok, I know, squash should be a no brainer. Cut ‘em in half, stick ‘em in the oven with butter and sugar and roast ‘em ’til they’re done. But I want something different! I bought two beautiful Heart of Gold squash on my trip to the farm. It’s a variety I’d never heard of before but a little bird told me that they were sweet and delicious, so how could I resist? Then today I was faced with the dinner dilemma. I don’t have much in my cupboards and my kids don’t like squash (harrumph) so I had two choices, I could cook them the usual way and the kids won’t touch them, or I could cook them in a way that would disguise them. Now, please understand that my kids are pretty good at eating most things. Normally I don’t have to disguise anything BUT if I can disguise and cook something new and interesting, why not?
So what does one do when one needs to find a recipe using specific foods? GOOGLE!
My search put me on track of stuffed squash…one recipe calling for stuffing with bulgar…which made me think of quinoa…and low and behold I found a recipe I could work with (I even had almost all the ingredients)! And OH! WOW! is it ever tasty! (the little bird agreed) Below, I have shamelessly copied the recipe from the site I found for your convenience. Believe when I say that the cooking experience is almost as delicious as the eating. The scent of the spices and apples is to die for. Enjoy!
Gingery Quinoa-Stuffed (Acorn) Squash
2 acorn (or heart of gold) squash, halved and seeded
1-1/3 cups quinoa
2-2/3 cups water
1 tablespoon butter
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
4 stalks celery, chopped
2 apple, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced (tragically I had no fresh garlic so I used 2 teaspoons of garlic salt)
2 (2 inch) pieces fresh ginger, minced (I never have fresh ginger unless I shop for a recipe so I used 2 teaspoons of ground ginger)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 dashes crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Place the squash halves, cut-side up into a small baking dish, and bake until tender, about 45 minutes.
- Bring the quinoa and water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender, 20 to 25 minutes. When done, stir in the butter until melted, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion, green pepper, and celery; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 10 minutes. Stir in the apple, and continue cooking until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes more. Add the garlic and ginger, cook 2 minutes more, then stir in the vinegar, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, and red pepper flakes; season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Although the original recipe doesn’t say this, I believe the quinoa and the apple mixture should be combined.
- When the squash is tender, scoop out some of the flesh, leaving the halves 1/2 inch thick. Roughly chop the acorn squash, and combine with the quinoa and apple mixture. Spoon the mixture back into the squash shells, and sprinkle with the mozzarella cheese. Return to the oven, and bake until the cheese has melted and is bubbly, about 5 minutes.
Let me know if you try it! Bon Appetit!