On the drive home from work this evening, S asked me what I was planning to make for the last day of Vegan MoFo.
“Something with that Delicata squash that’s been sitting around for a week,” I said. “Maybe stuffed squash. Any ideas?”
He barely had to think about the question before answering.
“Nuts! And dried cranberries!”
Nuts and dried cranberries it is. For the last day of September, I put together a dinner that’s pretty to look at and fun to eat. Quinoa gets an autumnal makeover as the filling for the melt-in-your-mouth Delicata squash, and the spice combo evokes all the best fall flavors. A hint of cinnamon and maple syrup adds a touch of sweetness, and the toasted nuts provide a little crunch. The filling would make an excellent gluten-free Thanksgiving stuffing alternative on its own! As written, though, this recipe is a surprisingly satisfying and filling dinner.
Nutty Quinoa-Stuffed Delicata Squash
- 1/2-1 tablespoon Earth Balance
- 1/4 cup red onion, diced
- 1/4 cup celery, diced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
- 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- A couple grinds of fresh pepper
- Dash cinnamon
- 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1/2 cup chopped toasted nuts (I used a mix of hazelnuts and walnuts)
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened dried cranberries
- 1 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
- 1 Delicata squash, split lengthwise, with the seeds and stringy bits scooped out
- A little extra Earth Balance or coconut oil
Preheat the oven to 425˚ and fill an 8″ x 8″ (or 9″ x 9″, depending on the size of your squash) baking pan with a thin layer of water.
Melt the Earth Balance in a small pan over medium-low heat. Add the onion and celery and cook for about 5 minutes until they start to soften. Add the spices and maple syrup and stir so that the onion and celery are coated. Cook for another 3 minutes or so, then remove from heat.
In a large bowl, mix together the quinoa, toasted nuts, dried cranberries, and the onion and celery mixture. Scoop into the cored Delicata squash and pack tightly. The filling can come up over the edge a little bit, but not too far. You’ll have extra, but that’s okay. Dot the filling with a little coconut oil or Earth Balance. Place the squash halves in the prepared pan, add the remaining filling to a small baking dish, and place on the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 30 minutes or until the Delicata squash is browned on top and is pierced easily with a fork. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes before eating. Drizzle with a little extra maple syrup if you’re feeling indulgent!
Besides being my favorite squash for its ease of preparation (you can eat the skin, so no need to remove it!) and its creamy texture, Delicata is rich in vitamin A and vitamin C. Quinoa, of course, is a phenomenally healthy little seed, and it’s really what gives this dish its nutritional punch. One serving (one filled half squash) provides 24 grams of protein, 41% of your RDV of iron, and 11% of your RDV of calcium. That’s a pretty darn strong finish to my “Where do you get your protein?!” month, wouldn’t you say?
And what a month it’s been! I’ve really enjoyed myself. Sure, I had a few lazy days, but overall I’m proud of the recipes I created and the consistency with which I was able to put them together. And, for the first time in a while, I’m feeling inspired to keep creating recipes and to continue blogging. Hold me to it if I don’t!
And with that, I bid this year’s Vegan Month of Food a truly fond farewell.
What’s your favorite squash? If you participated in Vegan MoFo, how did it go?