quinoa stuffed acorn squash

acorn

Ok people. Let’s talk about squash. Those big, chunky, vegetables that, let’s be honest, are somewhat unapproachable at the grocery store. They’re sitting there in a heap with all their  other squashy friends and yes, they look beautiful. But not to eat. More like, put on your porch at Halloween and let them just sit there. Doing what they do best…

But every once in awhile, I get enough courage to actually put one of these guys in my grocery cart with the intentions of eating it. I know, so brave.

I’ve made butternut squash before, but I’ve never dared to try one of these bad boys…

squashy

…Until last night. Turns out, they have a purpose besides sitting on my front porch! They actually tasted pretty darn good, and it was a simple and healthy dinner to throw together. That’s what I’m talking about.

closeup

quinoa stuffed acorn squash *serves 2

ingredients: 

  • 1 small acorn squash
  • 1/4 yellow onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/4 cup black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 cup frozen or fresh corn
  • 1/2 t chili powder
  • 1/2 t ground cumin
  • dash of salt and pepper
  • cilantro, feta cheese, sour cream (I used plain Greek yogurt) for garnishing

for the chicken: (this can be omitted if you’re going vegetarian-style, but I knew that wouldn’t fly with the hubby, so I threw some chicken in.)

  • 1 small chicken breast, cubed
  • 1/2 T coconut or olive oil
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t pepper
  • 1/2 t garlic powder
  • 1/2 t onion powder
  • 1/2 t ground paprika

directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the acorn squash down the middle and scoop out all the seeds and goopiness. Place squash cut-side down in a baking pan, cover halfway with water, and put foil over the pan. Bake in the oven for 50 minutes, until soft.
  2. While the squash is baking, cook the quinoa according to the directions. (I recommend cooking it in chicken broth to give it some flavor.)
  3. Combine the salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and ground paprika in a bowl, and mix well. Add the cubed chicken and roll it around until it is all covered in the seasoning.
  4. Heat some oil in a saucepan and cook the chicken on low-medium heat until white in the middle. (Not too long or it will be tough. Usually about 5-7 minutes.) Place the chicken on a plate and leave excess oil in the pan.
  5. Saute the diced onions until soft, about 4 minutes, then add the corn and allow to brown slightly. Add the quinoa, beans, cumin, chili powder, and a dash of salt and pepper. When warm, add the chicken back to the pan and stir.
  6. When the squash is soft, remove from the oven and use a large slotted spoon to remove from the water. Place cut-side up on a plate and fill each squash with the quinoa mixture. Top with sour cream, feta cheese and cilantro.

cut

quinoa

cropped squash

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