Acorn Squash with Red Quinoa, Cranberries and Pecans

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Acorn Squash stuffed with Red Quinoa, Cranberries and Pecans.

Acorn Squash stuffed with Red Quinoa, Cranberries and Pecans.

Prep 10 mins   Bake 30 mins   Eat  40 mins

We made this Acorn Squash stuffed with Quinoa, Cranberries and Pecans in our Autumn Table class and everyone loved it.  In fact, I had to fend off everyone sampling the quinoa stuffing before it made it into the beautiful roasted acorn squashes.  What makes this dish so awesome is that it is quick and easy, wholesome, healthy AND filling.  It’s a one-dish meal that you can continue to make all winter as long as winter squashes are available.

From my earliest memories growing up in Minneapolis, as soon as the weather would turn crisp and cool and before the first snowfall that often came at Halloween, that’s when the acorn squash would appear on our table.  Baked with butter and brown sugar in the center, it was earthy and warm and well, a sign that autumn was here to stay.  I love the simplicity of this dish, but the Acorn Squash stuffed with Quinoa, Cranberries and Pecans takes it to a whole new level.

Acorn squashes roasted in the oven.  Butter and brown sugar melted in the center.

Acorn squashes roasted in the oven. Butter and brown sugar melted in the center.

The hardest part of making this dish is cutting open the squash, but one good slice lengthwise through the middle and you are done.  Place cut side down on a baking sheet and into the oven.  After roasting, spoon some butter and brown sugar in the center when it is still hot. Mix the melted mixture into the squash flesh.

Mixing up the quinoa stuffing ingredients.

Mixing up the quinoa stuffing ingredients. Melissa’s Red Quinoa is used here or combine with white quinoa.

Cook a combination of red and white quinoa in some vegetable stock and orange juice.  Mix in the dried cranberries half-way through. Saute some onions and combine with the quinoa.

Quinoa mixture stuffed into the Acorn Squashes.

Red and White Quinoa mixture stuffed into the Acorn Squashes.

Mix it all together and stuff it into the acorn squashes.

Acorn Squash Rings slice up more easily after roasting the whole squash for 10 minutes.

Acorn Squash Rings slice up more easily after roasting the whole squash for 10 minutes.

Here’s another way to make it. Cut the acorn squash crosswise into rings and roast them in the oven on an oiled baking sheet covered in foil. When I made the rings, I put the whole acorn squash in the oven for 10 minutes to soften it up first. It was much easier to slice through the acorn squash to cut the rings.  Return to the oven for another 20 minutes or until squash is tender.

Acorn Squash Rings stuffed with Quinoa, Cranberries and Pecans

Acorn Squash Rings stuffed with Quinoa, Cranberries and Pecans

The ring method will give you more servings per squash. Either way, you end up with a beautiful dish and a healthy meal. Fresh Food in a Flash.

*I used Melissa’s Red Quinoa which was provided for recipe testing.

If you love squash, try these recipes also: Moroccan Butternut Squash with Caramelized Onions and Pumpkin Salad with Fresh Mozzarella and Pistachio Pesto

Print this Recipe

Acorn Squash stuffed with Red Quinoa, Cranberries and Pecans

2 acorn squashes
1 cup red quinoa or combine with white quinoa
1 cup vegetable stock
1 cup fresh orange juice
1 sprig thyme
1/4 cup dried cranberries
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion
1 1/2 Tablespoons butter
4 teaspoons brown sugar
1 pinch salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped

1. While oven is heating up to 425°, cut the acorn squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds.  Place on a baking sheet cut side down. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the flesh is soft when pierced with a meat fork.

2. While squashes are roasting, rinse quinoa under cold water in a fine mesh strainer (Do not miss this step!) and place in a saucepan with the vegetable stock, orange juice and thyme sprig. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cover the pot. After 10 minutes, add cranberries and recover pot. Continue to simmer for about 10 more minutes, making sure pan does not run dry.

3. Meanwhile, in a skillet over low heat, add 2 Tablespoons olive oil and the onion. Cover the skillet and let cook in its steam for about 8 minutes or until translucent and soft.  Remove from heat and keep covered.  When quinoa is done, add it to the onion mixture and mix. Remove cover to prevent quinoa from getting mushy. Just before serving, add pecan pieces.

4. Once the squash is tender, turn it over and add a pat of butter, a rounded teaspoon of brown sugar, salt and pepper to each center.  Let it melt.  With a fork mash the butter mixture into the squash flesh. Create a well in the center. Top with the quinoa mixture, garnish with pecan pieces and serve immediately.

Servings: 4 or 8    607 or 303 calories per serving

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Oven Temperature: 425°F

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