The fall is an incredible time of year. As Halloween and the Thanksgiving holiday nears, seasonal produce is in abundance. Pumpkins, gourds, and squashes are everywhere but the same question comes up: “How do I cook this thing?” Squashes like green or yellow zucchini or butternut squash are easy to prepare, but the less common squashes like spaghetti or acorn can be a little more daunting. Both are edible, versatile, and delicious. However, acorn squash has a unique flavor on its own and an easy way to magnify and accent that flavor is to cook it then stuff it.
Acorn squash has virtually no fat or sodium, but is high in potassium, B vitamins, magnesium and fiber. The yellow or orange pulp inside the squash is also high in anti-oxidants, beta-carotene and vitamin C. Add in a healthy stuffing, and squash can become a meal on its own. Several flavor combinations including meats, beans, other vegetables or grains pair well with the subtle, earthy taste acorn squash. The possibilities are limitless!
My recipe combines protein-packed beans, avocado and quinoa into a delicious, savory stuffing for roasted acorn squash. The addition of finely diced zucchini takes the place of bread crumbs and works to bind all the ingredients together, including the subtle spices. This recipe can make a perfect lunch, or an option for a meatless dinner. Use smaller squashes and serve these as a side dish during a holiday or special event meal. Try experimenting with different combinations of flavors – anything works with squash!
Quinoa and Black Bean Stuffed Acorn Squash
- 1 acorn squash halved with seeds removed
- vegetable cooking spray
- ½ cup uncooked quinoa
- 1 cup vegetable or chicken broth
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro or parsley, plus extra for garnish
- 1 medium green zucchini, finely diced
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/8 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/8 teaspoon cumin
- 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
- ½ avocado, diced
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Lightly grease a baking sheet.
- Spray the prepared squash with vegetable oil spray. Place skin side down on baking sheet and cook until tender and skin separates easily from the flesh of the squash, about 35-40 minutes.
- While the squash is baking, cook quinoa by combining broth and quinoa in a medium saucepan. Cook per package directions.
- When quinoa is cooked, remove from heat and stir in cilantro or parsley. Set aside to cool.
- In a medium skillet, heat extra virgin olive oil over medium heat. Add in the diced zucchini and cook until slightly tender, 3-4 minutes.
- Add in garlic, onion powder and cumin. Cook 3 minutes until zucchini is soft. Remove from heat.
- In a large bowl, stir together the cooked quinoa, black beans, and zucchini mixture until combined.
- Stuff each half of acorn squash with the quinoa, black bean and vegetable mixture. Top with pieces of diced avocado and garnish with additional cilantro or parsley. Serve warm.