Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Stuffed Squash with Spinach and Quinoa

I made this yummy squash for dinner the other night, and thought it would be great to share the recipe for those of you hosting a vegetarian at Thanksgiving.

While there are usually enough sides at a Thanksgiving dinner to fill up even a hungry eater, it's nice to have something that looks like a centerpiece.

I used a 4-cup squash, but there's enough stuffing to fill one twice the size.

Also, I baked the squash while cooking the stuffing on the stove, then filled the cooked squash and served it. You could also stuff the raw squash and then cook it at 350°F for about an hour. Or you could use a slow cooker - a much-appreciated device when all the burners and ovens are full with other dishes. Put the raw stuffed squash in the slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours. Fashion a piece of aluminum foil or parchment paper into a sling and nestle the squash in it inside the slow cooker. This will make getting the cooked squash out of the slow cooker easier.

But don't save this recipe for Thanksgiving. It's great on any fall or winter evening. The quinoa and beans give it a high protein content, the spinach (or any other green you like) provides a nutrition boost, the rosemary and garlic boost the immune system. (Although you can omit the garlic if you don't like it.) Skip the feta if you're serving vegans.

Here's what I did.

Stuffed Squash with Spinach and Quinoa
1 winter squash
2/3 cup pinto beans (or 1 14 oz can of a bean of your choice)
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup diced onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 oz raw spinach, thick stems discarded, washed and coarsely chopped
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp smoked chile flakes
2 cups vegetable stock
1 cup quinoa, rinsed first in boiling water then in cold water a couple of times
2-4 tbsp chopped black olives
1/2 cup crumbled feta (or more to taste)
1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary (or 2 tsp dried)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Wash the squash and pierce the top with a knife a few times. Bake about 40 minutes until it feels soft and a knife slides easily in near the stem.

Pressure cook the beans for 23 minutes until tender. (Or cook them for a couple of hours in a pot of water on the stove. Or drain the canned beans.)

Cook the onion and garlic in the oil until soft. Stir in the salt, paprika and chile flakes. Cook another minute. Add the stock and quinoa, bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer until quinoa is cooked, about 15-20 minutes. Stir in the spinach and cook until wilted. Add the beans, olives, feta and rosemary. Stir to mix.

Cut the top off the squash and scoop out the seeds and any stringy guts. Spoon the stuffing into the squash, adjust the top jauntily, and serve.

Any extra stuffing can be served on the side. Sprinkle with extra feta if desired.

Serves 6

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