This time of year, acorn squash is plentiful; pureed, roasted, or stuffed and baked whole, it’s an autumn staple, and an extremely good-for-you one at that! Like its winter squash counterparts (think: buttercup, butternut, delicata, kabocha, pumpkin, etc.), the acorn variety is rich in anti-inflammatory nutrients, such as beta-carotene and omega 3s.

The preparation here is packed to the brim with fruit and herbed quinoa. If you prefer brown rice or another whole grain to quinoa, feel free to sub that in its place. The recipe calls for both dried and fresh herbs to pack an extra flavor punch. Once baked, the whole squash can be cut and divided into pieces and served as a side or plated up as a substantial vegetarian Thanksgiving (or any time) dinner.

Cranberry And Herb Stuffed Acorn Squash (Serves 4)

INGREDIENTS

  • 2-½ cups vegetable stock
  • 1 teaspoon ground sage
  • ½ teaspoon ground thyme
  • ½ teaspoon ground rosemary
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 4 fresh sage leaves, chopped
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme, with leaves removed from stem and chopped
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, with leaves removed from stem and chopped
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 4 acorn squash
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar OR maple syrup

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Place the stock, dried herbs, salt and pepper in a large pot, and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, add the quinoa, and cover, reducing the heat to a simmer. Cook according to package directions (approximately 15-20 minutes), until tender. Once cooked, remove from the heat, and stir in the fresh herbs and cranberries. Set aside.
  3. While the quinoa is cooking, slice the tops off of the squash. Save the tops to bake with. Remove the seeds and pulp from the inside of the squash, and stand upright on a sheet pan. If necessary, slice a tiny piece off of the bottom of the squash to help it stand.
  4. Stuff each squash to the brim with the quinoa filling once it’s done. Loosely place the tops back on each squash, and bake for approximately one hour, until completely cooked through.
  5. Meanwhile, combine the cheese, walnuts, and sugar (or maple syrup) in a small bowl.
  6. Take the cooked squash out of the oven, and remove the tops. Evenly distribute the cheese mixture over each squash. Return to the oven and bake for an additional ten minutes, just until browned. You could also place the squash under the broiler to speed up the process.
  7. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Have you ever tried to make a stuffed acorn squash?

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