Thanksgiving would hardly seem like Thanksgiving without stuffing something.
Growing up, my mom would begin Thanksgiving preparation days in advance, and would begin cooking our turkey the night before the big feast ‘low and slow’. Our home would be filled with the most incredible, comforting and warming smells and we’d run into the kitchen to glance peaks and sneak samples. I was never much of a turkey eater (I’m a pumpkin pie and sweet potato person), but when the turkey finally did emerge from the oven, battle would ensue over who got the biggest piece of crunchy, broth soaked and divine stuffing. You know, the part that never actually made its way inside the turkey, but basked in the glory of an enormous mound at its entrance. That part was gold.
That same Thanksgiving gold is still possible, sans the turkey. This simple stuffed squash recipe highlights the colors and flavors of fall and will fill your home with those coveted Thanksgiving smells of warmth and coziness. The baking process will crisp up the top of the stuffing to perfection and leave every guest at your table sneaking bites. Vegetables do not have to be a side dish at your Thanksgiving table. I present you with a glorious Stuffed Squash, this years Thanksgiving show stopper.
Acorn Squash Stuffed with Cranberry, Pecan & Kale Tricolor Quinoa [makes 6 servings]
6 small acorn squash, 1/8 inch of bottom sliced off to make flat surface, remainder left in tact
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt & Pepper, to taste
Prepared Recipe: Cranberry, Pecan & Kale Tricolor Quinoa ‘Stuffing’
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees, rack in the middle.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and lightly brush the foil with olive oil. Place the flat surface of each squash on the sheet and, once preheated, place squash in the oven and roast for 30 minutes, or until soft enough to cut through.
Remove the squash from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes. Reduce oven heat to 350 degrees and oil a rimmed baking dish big enough to accommodate all of the squash.
After cooled, cup away the top 1/3 of the squash and scrape out the seeds and insides from both sides. Paint the insides of each squash with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Fill each of the hollowed larger portions of the acorn squash with an equal amount of the tricolored quinoa (about 3/4 cup). Place the tops back on and arrange the squash on the prepared baking sheet. Place in the oven and bake for 40 minutes, or until the squash is completely tender.
Drizzle each squash with 1/2 tablespoon maple syrup and enjoy!
Nutritional Information [per serving= 1 squash + 3/4 cup Tricolor Quinoa]
430 calories, 75g Carbohydrates, 13g Fat, 10g Protein