Hearty and filling, this easy, gluten-free recipe is perfect for a festive winter dinner. Acorn squash is rich in heart-healthy nutrients, including fiber; vitamins A, B1, B6 and C; potassium; magnesium; iron: folate; and antioxidants. Studies suggest that acorn squash may protect against heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers. Both savory and sweet, this beautiful winter fruit is low in calories and high in vitamins and minerals that boost eye, skin and bone health. To increase the protein in the recipe, add a 15-ounce can of chickpeas (drained) to the quinoa stuffing mixture. Leftover stuffing can be used for a tasty lunchtime salad.
2 medium acorn squash, halved and seeded
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 cups vegetable broth
¼ cup dried cranberries
½ cup chopped walnuts, pumpkin seeds, pecans, almonds, pistachios or sunflower seeds
¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus 2 tablespoons for garnish
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon dried sage
¼ teaspoon black pepper
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 400F. Brush the acorn squash flesh with one tablespoon of olive oil. Bake squash cut side down on a baking pan for 30 minutes, until fork tender. Meanwhile, heat the other tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan. Add onion and garlic and sauté until the onions are translucent and fragrant (about 5 minutes). Add quinoa and broth. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover pan, reduce heat and simmer until broth is absorbed (10 to 15 minutes). Turn off heat and stir in all remaining ingredients. Using a large spoon, divide mixture evenly between the four squash halves, packing it firmly into the wells of the squash. Transfer stuffed squash to a serving dish and garnish with remaining two tablespoons of minced parsley. Serve hot and enjoy!