I tend to think of squash in October when front porches are getting filled with pumpkins and gourds and comfort food permeates the desire to stay warm as the weather cools down from the summer heat. While that may be the case through the years, I’m starting to change the behavior each time I enjoy squash outside of the Fall season. Why relegate this flavorful food to only one season? Just because it is most associated with comfort food. Isn’t comfort food something relevant all year?
In my challenge to this behavior, I was presented some beautiful acorn squash at the Studio City Farmers’ Market. I picked one from the box of freshly picked squash and paid my $2.
Roasting squash gives it such a beautiful color and really makes the ‘meat’ inside come to life. For this recipe, I simply brushed some olive oil and cracked some pepper and salt over each half after cleaning out the seeds. You can follow what I did here with quinoa stuffing or you can mix it up. Feel free to use couscous or farro instead of quinoa. Also any diced dried fruit works too. Cranberries, apricots, go ahead and experiment for your own creation. Or you can just do what I did if you want to guarantee success.
Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash
1 acorn squash, halved and seeds removed
1 cup cooked quinoa
3 tablespoons dried cherries, diced
1 celery stalk, think sliced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
salt & pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place acorn squash halves on foil and drizzle olive oil and salt and pepper the inside of the squash. Face the inside up on the baking sheet. Cook for 20 minutes. Turn the squash over and cook for 10 minutes longer then remove and keep warm.
Cook your quinoa according the package directions. You’ll need only a 1/2 cup of dried quinoa. Once cooked set aside and keep warm.
When squash is ready, add the quinoa, celery and cherries a saute pan with a tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat. Let it cook for a few minutes. Spoon the mixture into the roast squash. Add a tablespoon of Greek yogurt and 1 teaspoon of chopped mint on top of each squash. (Note: in my photo above I forgot to add the mint. Mint is optional, but preferred.)