Red quinoa mixed with dried cranberries and crushed hazelnuts in a sweet maple balsamic sauce nestled in a roasted acorn squash topped off with honey goat cheese. Perfect to enjoy as a side or main dish.
Mmmm sweet, nutty acorn squash. Also called pepper squash or winter squash, which really showcases the irony of me making it in the heart of summer. The whole dish is actually the epitome of autumn. Which we’re closer to than winter. So let’s go with that. Regardless, this dish is too tasty to not be enjoyed year round.
It’s sweet but not overly so and has a hint of savory from the balsamic and tangy goat cheese. I am all about the squash and cheese combo. If goat cheese isn’t your jam, a creamy fontina would also be delicious. The marriage of squash, cheese and pillowy quinoa just makes for one heck of a treat.
It’s also pretty fun to eat. Think soup served in a bread bowl… it’s kind of fun to scrape the sides and scoop the filling, right? Or do I just thoroughly enjoy my meals too much..?
Roasting acorn squash is so easy, it’s essentially fool-proof. No need to be even slightly intimidated by cooking this veggie. Simply slice, season and roast. I think it’s safe to say i’m in a slight squash infatuation at the moment. On a weekly basis I have been dicing it up and tossing it in salads or slathering it with almond butter and cinnamon for all-star snackage. Though my favorite way to eat squash is drizzled with a little olive oil, sprinkled with salt and pepper, and roasted to caramelized perfection. So simple. So yum. The perfect accomplice to any meat or vegetarian dish.
Acorn squash is very nutrient-dense, containing high amounts of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, fiber and potassium. Stuffing it with protein-rich quinoa, nuts and dried fruit adds to it’s nutrient profile and makes this a very well-balanced meal or snack. Just don’t hold back on the stuffing…. Overflow is the goal!
Maple Balsamic Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash
- 2 acorn squashes, halved
- 3/4 cup red quinoa
- 3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth (for cooking)
- 3/4 cup water (for cooking)
- 2 ounces of honey goat cheese
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 2 tbsp chopped hazelnuts (or any other nut of choice – walnuts, pecans, almonds, etc)
- 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
- 2 tbsp good quality balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
- Cut acorn squash in half, lengthwise, from stem to end. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy nonsense. Place each half in a baking pan, cut side up. Add about 1/4 inch of water of the bottom of the pan so that skins don’t burn and the squash doesn’t get dried out. Spray the skin with a spritz of cooking spray and lightly season with salt and pepper.
- Bake for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes.
- In the meantime, cook quinoa according to instructions using 3/4 cup chicken broth and 3/4 cup water.
- Transfer cooked quinoa to medium sized bowl. Add hazelnuts, dried cranberries, balsamic, maple syrup and nutmeg. Toss till combined.
- Stuff roasted butternut squash with ~3/4 cup quinoa mixture. Top with honey goat cheese. Devour.
Nutrition facts per serving (1/2 acorn squash with 3/4 cup filling and .5 ounces goat cheese)
Calories: 400; Total Fat: 8 gm; Saturated Fat: 2 gm; Cholesterol: 10 mg; Sodium: 200 mg; Carbohydrates: 62 gm; Fiber: 14 gm; Sugar: 12 gm; Protein: 14 gm