I love this dish. It’s simultaneously elegant enough for company dinners but comforting and easy. Funny thing, I’m not a huge fan of squash, but by this time of the year, I’m craving it. There must be something in it that does a body good.
This makes 4 servings (1/2 squash per person).
2 acorn squash
1 cup uncooked quinoa
½ cup chopped pecans
½ cup chopped dried apricots
½ cup chestnuts (already cooked and peeled) – optional
1 cup kale washed and torn into bite-sized pieces
1 onion – diced
4 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp coconut oil
A pinch of chili seeds
¼ tsp nutmeg
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 – 2 Tbsp maple syrup
Salt and pepper to taste
Set the oven to 350. Wash the acorn squash and cut in half around the equator (i.e. not lengthwise). Scoop out the seeds and place the squash cut side up on a cookie sheet. You may want to cut off a bit of the bottom of each squash half so they sit upright. Drizzle each half with 1 Tbsp olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes. When they’re done, the squash will be soft when pierced with a fork.
Rinse the quinoa and put it in a pot with 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Once it’s boiling, reduce to a simmer and let simmer for about 15 minutes, until all the liquid is absorbed. If you want to be super fancy, you could boil the quinoa in vegetable broth or half broth and half water.
When the quinoa is cooked and still hot, place in a large bowl with the kale, chestnuts (if using) and apricots. The hot quinoa is enough to “cook” the kale.
In a medium-sized, non-stick skillet sauté the onion in the remaining olive oil and the coconut oil, until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the chopped pecans, the chili seeds, nutmeg, mustard and maple syrup. Stir together and heat through and then add to the bowl with the quinoa and fruit and kale. Stir together.
Spoon ¼ of the quinoa into each of the squash halves and enjoy!!
If you want to make something much simpler and more casserole-like, cube the cooked squash and toss it with the quinoa mix.
TIP: This dish is also excellent with dried cherries and walnuts instead of apricots and pecans. Replace the nutmeg, mustard and chili seeds with ¼ tsp cumin and 1 tsp dried crumbled sage. Omit the maple syrup.