These stuffed acorn squash are hearty, filling, and naturally vegan and gluten-free. Plus, they have one of my favorite flavor combinations: roasted hazelnuts and dried cranberries! Read on, or jump straight to the recipe HERE.
I like to think of myself as an equal-opportunity squash lover. I like pretty much every winter squash I’ve tried, from kabocha to spaghetti, from butterNUT to butterCUP. They’re all good, in my book.
Or should I say, they’re all guard? Ha! I think I’m so funny.
Of all the different kinds of winter squash, acorn has to be my favorite for stuffing. They’re just the right size and shape, and offer the perfect filling-to-squash ratio. (I’ve been very scientific about this, if you couldn’t tell.)
This particular recipe combines some of my favorite things. Squash (duh), quinoa (tons of protein), hazelnuts (somebody stop me, I think I’ve roasted five pounds this month already!) and dried cranberries (because a bit of sweetness goes a long way in savory dishes).
Oh, and kale! Even if you aren’t a fan of kale, don’t run away — the flavor is barely there with everything else going on, and it adds great pop of color and of course nutrition.
Speaking of nutrition, we’re a few days into these 31 Days Of Healthy Recipes now, and I realized I should probably talk about what “healthy” means to me.
Everyone has their own definition of what healthy food is. Healthy could mean low calorie, or high protein, or no carb. It could mean no grains or no dairy, or vegan or paleo… or anything in between.
I don’t fall into any of these dietary “niches.” (Although, I can certainly find common ground with many of the definitions I mentioned above.)
To me, healthy food means real food. And that’s about it.
It means fresh, and from the Earth (as in, minimal processed). My definition includes fats (olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, nuts, etc.), whole grains, and meats that have been raised with care.
It includes local eggs, full fat dairy, and — very occasionally — honey, maple syrup, or sugar in moderation.
I tend to like variety, so some meals are very light, while others are more hearty. They both have a place in my definition of healthy.
So that’s what you can expect to see this month. Whole food recipes, sometimes low in carbs, or gluten-free, or vegan (like this one!)… but always made from real, honest ingredients.
If you have a similar idea of what healthy means, than stick around. I’ve got a lot more tasty recipes coming your way!
- 2 large acorn squash
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- ½ small yellow onion, diced
- ¾ cup quinoa
- 1½ cups water (or low sodium vegetable broth)
- ¼ tsp. kosher salt
- ⅛th tsp. black pepper, to taste
- 3 cups loosely packed chopped kale leaves (or chard, or beet greens)
- ¾ cup roasted and skinned hazelnuts, roughly chopped*
- ¼-1/2 cup dried cranberries, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F., and halve the acorn squashes lengthwise down the middle. Scoop out the seeds. Place the squash cut-side up on a rimmed baking sheet (line with foil or parchment for easier clean-up) and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, and roast for about 45 minutes, or until the squash are fork tender.
- While the squash is roasting, prepare the filling. In a large skillet, heat 1 TBSP olive oil. Add the onion, and cook for about five minutes, or until softened and translucent. Add the kale (or chard, or beet greens) and let cook for another minute or two, or until slightly wilted.
- Add the quinoa, salt and pepper, and water. Bring to a simmer, then cover and reduce the heat to low. Let cook for about 15-20 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed and the quinoa is tender. Remove the lid and fluff with a fork. Taste, and adjust seasoning with more salt and pepper if necessary.
- When the squash have finished roasting, stir the hazelnuts and cranberries into the filling and spoon into the center of each squash. (If you have any extra filling, it can be stored in a small container and is great as is, or over a salad.)
- Return the squash to the oven for another 5-10 minutes. Serve hot.