I’ve now informed two mostly vegetarian friends of mine that I plan on being vegetarian for a week each month. You know what happens when you start to tell people something? You need to make good on your actions or you look like you have no follow-through.
I purchased a delicata squash the other day at Trader Joe’s because I’d never had one before. I figure if I’m going to be vegetarian for a week each month (let’s face it, probably next month – I’m flying home this week and there’s nothing vegetarian friendly about being home), I should probably try to introduce a new fruit or vegetable into my diet as often as possible. Squash seemed safe. I’ve never really had a squash I didn’t like. So I set out to find an easy but tasty recipe to use. My recipe was inspired by recipes found at edible perspective, sunset and chow.
- 1 tsp butter
- 1 bunch green onions, mostly white parts, sliced
- 1/4 c. pine nuts, chopped
- 1/4 c. walnuts, chopped
- 1 1/2 c. water
- 1/2 c. raw cashews
- 1 1/2 tsp. olive oil
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more as needed
- 1/4 tsp. plus 1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
- 1/2 c. quinoa
- 1 delicata squash, halved lengthwise, seeded
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 diced tomato from your garden, optional
- freshly grated parmesan cheese, for garnish, optional
- Soak cashews in water for two hours. About 40 minutes before your cashews are done soaking, roast your squash.
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Slice squash lengthwise in half, scoop out seeds and guts with a spoon, and lightly rub the inside and cut edge with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on the pan cut side down and roast for about 30 minutes. The edges will be golden brown and the flesh will be just soft.
- While the squash is roasting, start your quinoa mixture. Add the oil, garlic, measured salt, cumin, and cayenne to the water and cashews. Blend in a mixture or food processor until smooth. Transfer to a medium saucepan.
- Rinse the quinoa in a strainer under cold water until the water runs clear. Transfer to the saucepan with the cashew mixture and stir to combine.
- Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon and making sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the pan, until the white outer casings on the quinoa have popped, about 15 to 20 minutes. If necessary, add additional water while cooking. Remove from the heat. The texture will be oatmeal-like. Taste and add more salt or pepper, if desired.
- Over medium-low heat, saute green onion slices with butter until softened. Stir into quinoa mixture
- Once the squash is done roasting, flip over and fill your squash halves with the quinoa stuffing. Top with tomato, chopped pine nuts and walnuts and cheese (optional) and bake for about 10 minutes. If you want the top a little crunchy you can place it under the broiler on high for 1 to 2 minutes. Watch closely to ensure it doesn’t burn. Let cool about 5 minutes before serving.
Every time I eat quinoa I’m amazed at how much I love it. This time was no exception. The stuffing makes way more than what you need for one squash. I think you could probably use the stuffing very easy for two squash. My stuffing was piled very high. Although I loved the stuffing, I felt like it almost took away from the delicious flavor of the squash because it was just that good. I made sure to spear some solo squash bites so I could enjoy the pure flavor of the squash – which would be delicious on its own, I discovered.
You can easily make this dish vegan by omitting the cheese. I found it really didn’t even need the cheese as there was just so much flavor going on.