A friend of mine works at a pretty sweet job doing important things which I know nothing about. What I do know is that the cafeteria food is borderline gourmet and when he tells me what he eats for lunch I get very jealous. Then I steal the idea and try to make my own version. Keep in mind, I don’t actually get to sample this food he’s enjoying. I just get to imagine what it must taste like. It’s quite likely my version doesn’t even come close to looking/tasting the same as the original.
But, as long as it tastes good who really cares, right?
And trust me, it tastes good.
Why didn’t I just call this Stuffed Squash? Why did I have to give this such a stupid long name? Good question. I have no clue. But maybe because what if the next stuffed squash dish I make is different? Then what? Stuffed Squash II sounds lame.
I’d also like to discuss a bit more in depth about squashes and which squashes would work the best to stuff. (Because I’m obviously a nerd.)
I think the best squashes to stuff are round(ish) shaped winter squashes. You don’t want the squash to be too big because then it would throw off the squash-to-stuffing ratio. If you’ve got a giant garden zucchini that would work too with the seedy part scooped out and made into a ‘boat’. (Yes, I know zucchini is a summer squash.)
So, in summary, use acorn or kabocha squash. Or use whatever you have on hand and hope for the best. I wrote this recipe using kabocha squash.
- 2 kabocha squash
- 1 cup organic quinoa
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion, diced finely
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ lb fresh mushrooms, chopped
- 1-2 sprigs fresh thyme (or ½ teaspoon dried)
- 3 -4 cups fresh baby spinach
- ½ cup toasted pine nuts
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Cut each squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds.
- Place squash on a parchment lined baking sheet, cut side down.
- Bake for 20 minutes until just barely fork tender. Do not overbake.
- In a medium saucepan bring vegetable broth to a boil. Add quinoa and reduce heat to low, cover and let simmer for 15 minutes until all liquid is absorbed.
- Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic in oil until softened.
- Add mushrooms to the skillet and allow to cook until mushrooms are browned, about 5-7 minutes.
- Add fresh spinach and cook until wilted.
- Season with thyme, salt and pepper.
- Toast pine nuts in a dry skillet until just browned. Add to the spinach-mushroom mixture.
- Fold in cooked quinoa and check for seasonings.
- Stuff into squash halves and return to oven for 5-10 more minutes to finish cooking the squash.