Stuffed acorn squash with quinoa

We felt very vegetarian when eating this meal. I felt inspired by a local restaurant that uses acorn squash in one of their dishes. I was ready to give it a try when I came across this recipe. The quinoa was definitely just as good if not better as leftovers because the flavors had a chance to set in. I would definitely recommend this as a light, healthful choice.

  • 2 large acorn squash (about 2 1/2 pounds each) or 4 small acorn squash
  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa (white, red, or mixed)
  • 1 pound leeks (we used 2 medium leeks, about 1/2 pound each)
  • 1/4 cup fresh sage
  • 1/4 cup fresh thyme
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Cut each squash in half, and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Drizzle 1/2 tablespoon olive oil over the cut side (or 1/4 tablespoon over each if you use 4 smaller squash) and season with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper. Place the halves cut side down on a baking sheet, and roast for about 20 to 35 minutes, until slightly browned and easily pierced with a fork. (The time will be less for smaller squashes; test with a fork after 20 minutes; if the fork doesn’t go all the way through, cook a bit longer.)

Next, you’ll prepare the quinoa. Cook the quinoa following the instructions found, using 1 1/2 cups quinoa and 2 1/4 cups water. While the quinoa cooks, complete the next steps.

Chop off the dark green stems of the leeks, then slice them in half length-wise. Place each leek half cut-side down on the cutting board, then chop it into thin slices (resulting in half-moon shapes). There will be dirt in between each layer of the leeks, so when you’ve finished chopping them, rinse them thoroughly in a colander. I can still hear my cooking teacher from my senior year telling us how dirty leeks are and to make sure we washed them very well!

Then remove the leaves of the thyme, and chop the sage leaves.

In a skillet, heat 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the leeks, and saute about 4 minutes, just before they begin to brown.

When the quinoa is done, stir in the sauteed leeks. Then add the fresh sage, thyme, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and fresh ground pepper. Taste, and add more salt or pepper to taste, as well as a drizzle of olive oil if desired.

When the squash are done, spoon quinoa generously into each half.

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