Butternut Squash, roasted and stuffed with quinoa, kale, pecans and dried cherries. A delicious and nutritious Gluten-Free Side Dish or Vegan Main Course.
I belong to a CSA that has a Thanksgiving option for the extended season. It’s awesome to pick up local, organic produce in season, especially late fall/early winter. Last week, when I picked up my share, and I saw the lovely butternut squash, I was reminded of a nutritious and delicious recipe I taught a couple years ago in a Thanksgiving cooking workshop for Stuffed Butternut Squash.
What’s in Stuffed Butternut Squash?
- Butternut Squash
- Dried Cherries
Butternut squash is one of my favorite varieties. I sometimes peel, cut and roast with veggies or to add to a salad, But, when I’m not in the mood to deal with peeling it, I’ll just halve it and roast. Still, there are options!
If you’re interested in making a simple squash soup, this is exactly how you begin. This method of prep is so easy and so tasty, I may have (once or possibly twice) grabbed a spoon and eaten half a squash directly from the baking tray. This is also how you begin the recipe for stuffed butternut squash.
Stuffed Squash: 1-2-3 and done!
One of the things I really like about this recipe is how easy it is to make. If you’re making this as part of your Thanksgiving feast, that is super important since you have so many other things to make. Simplicity is also important if you want to make this for an everyday weeknight dinner. You can totally meal prep this in advance and then just throw it in the oven for 15 minutes to heat through.
Prepping the ingredients before you begin makes for a smooth and quick process. While the squash is roasting, get the quinoa cooking in a saucepan. It’s then easy to saute the veggies, and then add both the cooked quinoa and cooked squash. BAM…done!
I have served this in a bowl as a side dish. If you’re looking for an awesome lunch idea…THIS IS IT! You can eat it cold, room temp or warmed up. It’s so delicious and with enough protein and fiber you’ll stay satisfied all afternoon.
If you can find mini butternut squash–sometimes call honeynut squash, grab them! They’re sweet and awesome for individual serving sized stuffed squash. I also think that a large, full sized stuffed squash makes for a beautiful presentation on a platter for a side dish that everyone scoops themselves.
- 4 Mini Butternut Squash or 1 Large one
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- Pinch Sea Salt
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- 1 Tablespoon fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried).
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup dry quinoa
- 2 cups water
- 2 large leeks
- 3 stalks celery
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
- 2 cups curly green kale*
- 2 Tablespoons dried cherries, unsweetened and unsulfered
- 1/2 cup pecans, chopped.
- Preheat oven to 425 and line rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper.
- Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Drizzle wit oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and oregano.
- Roast for 35-45 minutes, depending on size of squash, until tender when pierced with a fork. While oven iIs on, place pecans on a separate baking sheet and toast for 5 minutes. When cool enough to handle, chop and set aside.
- While squash is roasting, make the quinoa: In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups water to a boil. Stir in quinoa and then turn down to a low simmer. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes, until liquid iIs absorbed.
- Make the stuffing: Dice leeks and celery, mince garlic. In a large heavy skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Stir iIn leeks, salt and pepper and let them sweat for about 3 minutes. Stir in celery and continue to cook for 5 minutes, until veggies are soft. Add iIn garlic, stirring constantly so itI doesn't burn. Cook for about 30 seconds and then turn off the heat. Stir iIn the greens, letting them wilt and then add the quinoa, mixing well.
- When squash is cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh and add it to quinoa mixture. Mix until well incorporated, then stir iIn the cherries and pecans. Taste for seasoning, adding more S+P as desired.
- Spoon stuffing into the squash halves until full. Serve warm** or at room temp.
* any greens or a combo of kale, spinach, chard, collards.
** Ok to make stuffing/squash in advance. Cover tightly and store in the fridge for up to 5 days, or freezer for up to 3 months. Bring to room temperature before gently reheating in a preheated 350 oven for 15-20 minutes, until heated through.
** decorate with additional fresh oregano sprigs.
Amount Per Serving Calories 221Total Fat 10gSaturated Fat 1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 8gCholesterol 0mgSodium 180mgCarbohydrates 31gFiber 7gSugar 4gProtein 6g