Inspired by a recipe in Meatless from Martha Stewart and company, I added some things that just seemed natural to add like lemon, garlic and a hint of onion in the form of chives for a bigger punch of flavor.
Any list of superfoods will typically contain quinoa and nuts. However, winter squash such as acorn shouldn’t be considered the shabby relative; it’s high in vitamin C which is just what a person needs during the winter months to fend off the cold virus. I like to buy acorn squash that has a “flash” of orange on it; it always seems to be the perfect ripeness.
Although I frequently cook quinoa for clients, I’ve found it challenging to get it “just right” by following the package instructions. Most have you rinse it (to remove the bitter coating known as saponin), add to boiling water, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. My result was generally undercooked quinoa with water remaining in the pot.
The method I’ve found that works better is to leave the cover off while it’s simmering so I can watch it. After about 12-15 minutes when much of the water has been absorbed or cooked out and the “germ” begins to appear, I then cover and let it stand off the heat for 10 to 12 minutes. Quinoa is cooked when the germ has been fully released and it’s fluffy and tender.
If you’d rather not go to the trouble, fully cooked quinoa is now available in the freezer section near the vegetables at many grocery stores. Couscous or orzo may be substituted for the quinoa. Serve with sauteed greens or a green salad as part of a vegetarian meal.
You can visit Carol Borchardt’s website, A Cookbook Obsession, for more of her delicious recipes and wonderful blog posts.
Here is a link to her Facebook page.
Quinoa, Feta and Pistachio-Stuffed Acorn Squash
- 2 small acorn squash, halved and seeded
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small lemon, zested and juiced
- 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 2 tbsp. chopped chives
- 1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
- 1/3 cup roasted and salted pistachios, coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Brush cut side of squash with olive oil and season with salt and black pepper. Place cut side down on prepared baking sheet.
Bake until tender and lightly browned, 25-30 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring water, garlic, lemon zest and lemon juice to a boil. Add quinoa, reduce heat to medium-low and cook 12-15 minutes or until almost the water is almost absorbed and the germ is just beginning to appear.
Cover, remove from heat and let stand 10-15 minutes or until cooked and fluffy. Fluff quinoa with a fork and transfer to a bowl.
Add parsley, chives, feta cheese, pistachios and salt and black pepper to taste. Divide filling among squash and serve immediately.