Butternut Squash with

Cranberry Quinoa Stuffing 




2 small butternut squash
4 cups cooked white quinoa
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped parsley
2 tablespoons minced fresh sage
2-3 teaspoons dried cumin
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 yellow onion
4 stalks celery
4 cloves garlic
1/2+ cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
Salt & pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400º F. Slice the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Then, fill a large baking dish with an inch of water and place the squash face down in the water. Pop these in the oven for about 25-35 minutes, or until the skins start to brown. This is technically braising and the combo of dry heat + water will tenderize the squash while retaining all its moisture. It’s the only way to cook butternut squash in my book.

Meanwhile, cook some white quinoa until fluffy. To get the 4 cups, start with about 1.5 cups of dry quinoa and 3 cups of water. Simmer for about 20 minutes until the water is absorbed, then fluff with a fork and allow to cool. Chop a yellow onion. Mince some garlic. Chop some celery. Add all of these into a pan over medium heat with a splash of olive oil. Allow them to soften for 5-8 minutes until the onions turn translucent.

Back to the quinoa, transfer to a large bowl and throw in the lemon juice, parsley, sage, cumin, onion celery garlic mixture, cranberries, toasted pine nuts, and some salt & pepper to taste. Then toss until well 20  mixed. Voila: quinoa stuffing! Give it a taste and feel free to adjust any ingredients or spices as needed.

The squash should be coming along nicely at this point. Remove from the oven and carefully take the squash out of the water, taking care not to splash any of the boiling water. Then, turn them right side up and fill the center with a mound of the stuffing. Transfer them to a baking sheet and return to the oven for about 10-15 minutes, until the quinoa just starts to brown on top. Allow to cool slightly, then plate by adding the squash halves on a bed of the quinoa stuffing.