Monday, September 19, 2011

Sweet Dumpling Squash Stuffed with Quinoa

There are two main ways that I prepare squash -- the quick and easy way (microwave), or the slow and tastier way (oven). Microwaving it cooks the insides faster and makes the vegetable easier to cut with a knife. But baking it in the oven gives it the tasty caramelized flavor and brings out the natural sweetness of the squash. For this recipe, I do half and half (5-8 minutes of microwaving, and 20-30 minutes of baking) to save time and maintain flavor.

1 cup quinoa
3 sweet dumpling squashes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 diced onion
1/4 cup chopped walnuts (or nut of choice)
1/4 cup raisins (currants or chopped dates work as well)
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
Salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
1 tablespoon Grade B pure maple syrup (optional, depending on if you like sweet)
1 tsp butter or Smart Balance

1.) Preheat oven to 400 F.
2.) Place 3 whole sweet dumpling squashes on a large microwave-safe plate and nuke for 5-8 minutes (depending on the strength of your microwave).
3.) Rinse and cook quinoa in 1 and 1/2 cups of boiling water then let it simmer in pot covered with lid for about 15 minutes.
4.) Saute chopped onions in olive oil until transluscent and then add nuts, spices and raisins and sauté an additional minute (be careful not to burn the nuts). Mix in the cooked quinoa and salt/pepper when done. At this point you can add a teaspoon of butter or Smart Balance for some heavenly buttery flavor :-)
5.) Take the squash out of the microwave and carefully cut squash in half and scoop out seeds.
6.) Spray a baking dish with cooking spray and place squash halves upright on it and stuff it with quinoa/onion/nut/raisin/spice mixture. If you like your squash sweet like me, drizzle some maple syrup on top before putting it in the oven for 20 minutes.
7.) Serve immediately

Note: Organic sweet dumpling squash, unlike acorn, pumpkin or other types of squash, has a thin edible peel therefore less waste! So go ahead and eat the whole thing (except the stem of course)

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