Acorn Squash Stuffed with Quinoa and Roasted Almonds
Some of you who have followed my blog from the beginning may recognize this recipe, as it’s one of the first ones I posted on the blog. I decided to re-post it as I made a few changes to the recipe and updated all the photos, plus I feel like it’s a wonderful recipe to share with you all this time of year as acorn squash is in season and Thanksgiving is just around the corner. This is a great meatless alternative for Thanksgiving or you can serve these up as a healthy side dish. You can even make these vegan by adding nutritional yeast in lieu of the feta.
The squash paired with the quinoa is truly a complete meal and the presentation on these is just gorgeous. Serve these up to your guests for lunch or dinner, and they will be impressed. Please don’t be intimated by this recipe, it’s seriously super easy to put together. The only difficult part is cutting the squash in half. You can even omit the squash and just make up the quinoa, as the quinoa is great on its own. Basically you have choices here peeps!
Acorn squash stuffed with quinoa and roasted almonds:
recipe adapted from Whole Living
serves 4-8 – depending on how many squashes you buy – see my notes below
Note: I used 1 large acorn squash here. I did make the full batch of quinoa though, as the leftovers are great for lunch throughout the week. If you don’t want that much leftover quinoa, then just half the quinoa portion of the recipe.
- 2-4 small acorn squashes, halved and seeds removed – If you’re serving 2 people get 1 squash, 4 people then get 2 squashes, 8 people then get 4 squashes. The quinoa makes enough to fill 8 small squash halves. You could even use 1 large butternut squash here and fill that up with the quinoa. I used one squash and had the leftover quinoa for lunch sans the squash.
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for brushing on the squash
- fine and coarse sea salt
- fresh ground pepper
- 1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed – I love this brand of quinoa from Quinoa corporation as it’s pre-rinsed.
- 1 3/4 cups filtered water
- 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/2 cup feta, crumbled
- 1/2 cup raw almonds with skins, coarsely chopped
- 2 teaspoons red-wine vinegar
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Using a sharp chef’s knife, carefully cut the acorn squash in half, from stem to tip. The squash can rock back and forth, so take care as you are cutting it.
Scoop out all the seeds and membranes, using either a spoon or a melon baller.
Brush each squash half with a bit of olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
Roast the squash cut-side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, until tender when pierced with a fork, and caramelized, about 15-25 minutes. It may take longer or shorter, depending on the size of your squash. I had a larger acorn squash, so it took mine about 25 minutes.
While the squash is cooking, place quinoa along with 1 3/4 cups filtered water and a big pinch of coarse sea salt in a pot set over high heat. Bring quinoa to a boil, lower heat to a simmer, cover pot, and cook until all of the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa’s germs look like lots of little spirals, about 12-15 minutes.
Turn off heat, place a dry clean paper towel between the pot and lid, and let quinoa sit for at least 5 minutes before giving it a fluff with a fork.
While the quinoa and squash are cooking, chop the parsley and toast up the almonds.
Note: You can also toast up the almonds ahead to time to save a step. Just store them in covered container till you’re ready to use them.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet set over medium heat. Add the chopped almonds to the skillet and stir frequently until golden brown in spots and the nuts are fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer the nuts to a paper towel lined plate to absorb some of the oil. Sprinkle the almonds with some fine sea salt. Set them aside to cool.
In a large bowl, combine together the quinoa, 1/2 cup chopped parsley, 1/2 cup feta, almonds, 2 teaspoons red-wine vinegar and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Fill up your squash halves with the quinoa and dig in.
Got leftover quinoa? Just reheat it in a skillet with a touch of coconut oil, or just eat it cold.