Some of you who have followed my blog from the beginning may recognize this recipe, as it’s one of the first ones I posted on the blog. I decided to re-post it as I made a few changes to the recipe and updated all the photos, plus I feel like it’s a wonderful recipe to share with you all this time of year as acorn squash is in season and Thanksgiving is just around the corner. This is a great meatless alternative for Thanksgiving or you can serve these up as a healthy side dish. You can even make these vegan by adding nutritional yeast in lieu of the feta.
I love this recipe and make it up quite often for lunch in the fall. I say lunch because my kids are not fans of quinoa and squash, so I really can’t make this up for dinner as my kids would not be happy campers. This is more of a “mommy and daddy” meal in my house.
The squash paired with the quinoa is truly a complete meal and the presentation on these is just gorgeous. Serve these up to your guests for lunch or dinner and they will be impressed. Please don’t be intimated by this recipe, it’s seriously super easy to put together. The only difficult part is cutting the squash in half. You can even omit the squash and just make up the quinoa, as the quinoa is great on its own. Basically you have choices here!
acorn squash stuffed with quinoa and roasted almonds:
recipe adapted from Whole Living
serves 4-8 - depending on how many squashes you buy – see my notes below
Note: I used 1 large acorn squash here, because it was just John and I eating it. I did make the full batch of quinoa though, as the leftovers are great for lunch throughout the week. If you don’t want that much leftover quinoa, then just half the quinoa portion of the recipe.
- 2-4 small acorn squashes, halved and seeds removed – if you’re serving 2 people get 1 squash, 4 people then get 2 squashes, 8 people then get 4 squashes. The quinoa makes enough to fill 8 small squash halves. You could even use 1 large butternut squash here and fill that up with the quinoa.
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for brushing on the squash
- fine sea salt and fresh ground pepper
- 1 cup dry, quinoa, rinsed – I love this brand of quinoa from Quinoa corporation as it’s pre-rinsed.
- 2 cups filtered water
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1/2 cup feta, crumbled
- 1/2 cup raw almonds with skins, coarsely chopped
- 2 teaspoons red-wine vinegar
Cut your squash in half as shown below. I’m going to warn you, cutting an acorn squash in half is HARD work. I felt like I was cutting through a log or something. I really had to dig in with my knife and rotate the squash around.
After you cut your squash in half, scoop out all the seeds and membranes, using either a spoon or a melon baller.
Next, brush each squash half with a bit of olive oil, and season with some salt and pepper.
Roast the squash cut-side down on a baking sheet until tender when pierced with a fork, and caramelized, about 15-25 minutes. It may take longer or shorter, depending on the size of your squash. I had a larger acorn squash, so it took mine about 25 minutes.
While the squash is cooking, bring the 1 cup well rinsed quinoa and 2 cups water to a boil in a small sauce pan. Once the quinoa has come to a boil, give it a stir, cover it and reduce the heat to simmer. Cook the quinoa until all the water is absorbed, about 10-15 minutes. Note: If you’re using another brand of quinoa, please check the package for cooking instructions as they all vary.
The quinoa is done when its tender and you can see the little quinoa curlicues.
Let the quinoa cool just a bit and then fluff with a fork.
While the quinoa and squash are cooking, was and chop your parsley and toast up the almonds. You can also toast up the almonds ahead to time to save a step. Just store them in covered container till you’re ready to use them.
Coarsely chop the almonds.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chopped almonds to the skillet and stir frequently until golden brown in spots, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer the nuts to a paper towel lined plate to get the grease off. Sprinkle the almonds with some fine sea salt. Set them aside.