Based on my rustic quinoa stuffed squash recipe, with a few tweaks and twists to lighten it up and make it meatless.
- 1 large or 2 small acorn squash, halved lengthwise, seeds removed
- 2 T olive oil or melted butter
- Ground black pepper
- ½ C dry quinoa, any color, rinsed
- 1 C vegetable stock or water
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 T pine nuts
- 1 T vegetable or olive oil
- 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
- 1 leek, white and light green part, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cans (15 oz. each) artichoke hearts in water, drained and chopped
- ½ t dried thyme
- ¼ t dried oregano
- 1 T apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup soft grated cheese, such as fontina or mozzarella (optional)
- 2 T finely grated parmesan (see notes)
- Preheat oven to 450. Brush cavity and cut surface of squash generously with butter or oil, then sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Place cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet, add 1 tablespoon water to the tray, and bake about 30 minutes until easily pierced with a paring knife and skin is slightly wrinkled. Flip cut side up to cool.
- Bring a scant 1 cup vegetable stock (or water) to a boil in a small saucepan. Add quinoa and bay leaf, cover, and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer 15 to 20 minutes until done. Remove bay leaf and strain in a fine mesh strainer to remove excess liquid. Place in a medium mixing bowl, season with salt and pepper, and set aside to cool.
- In a dry skillet, toast pine nuts over medium until golden, stirring often, then cool on a paper towel.
- In the same pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil. Add carrot and leek and cook until softened, then add garlic and cook another minute. Stir in artichokes, thyme, oregano, 1 tablespoon water, and apple cider vinegar. Simmer about 10 minutes, until liquid is nearly evaporated.
- Add artichoke mixture, pine nuts, soft cheese, and parmesan to bowl with quinoa. Season to taste with more salt and pepper. Transfer roasted squash to a baking dish with higher sides to keep them from tipping over. Use a spoon to scrape 1/8 to 1/4 inch of flesh from the squash cavity, creating a larger “cup”. Chop extra squash and add to the filling. Scoop a cup or more of filling into each roasted squash cavity, packing it firmly and mounding it on top. Bake at 375 for 10 to 15 minutes, until filling is settled and cheese is melted. If making ahead, refrigerate before baking and extend cook time until squash and filling are heated through, about 20 to 25 minutes total.
To keep it strictly vegetarian, omit parmesan and confirm that the soft cheese, if using, is free of animal rennet.
Depending on the size squash you use, there may be leftover filling. It’s great warmed up as leftovers, alone or as a side dish.
- Prep Time: 40 mins
- Cook Time: 20 mins
- Category: Main Dish
- Cuisine: Vegetarian