Earlier this week I impulsively bought an acorn squash at Trader Joe’s. It looked so much like fall, and the price was right. I must have had this recipe I read a week or so ago in the back of my mind when I bought it.
It made a pretty fall decoration on my dining table for a few days, but made an even more delightful meal this evening. One of those times when everything just comes together. Another foodie friend was looking for something to do, and I had the afternoon off, so we ended up getting together for dinner.
I used the recipe below from The Kitchn, but made some substitutions based on what was in my pantry.
Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Dumpling Squash
3 sweet dumpling squashes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped
8 dates, coarsely chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup cooked quinoa
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 375 F.
Cut squash in half and scoop out seeds. (The seeds can be roasted like pumpkin seeds.)
Place squash face-down in an oiled baking dish. Bake until tender when pierced with a knife, about 30 minutes. Remove squash from oven but keep oven on.
Prepare the stuffing while the squash is baking. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until onion is translucent. Add pistachios, dates, lemon zest, and cinnamon and sauté for another minute. Stir in the cooked quinoa and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Turn the squash upright in the baking dish and stuff with the quinoa mixture.
Cover dish with aluminum foil and bake for another 20 minutes.
Serve warm, garnished with extra pistachios or lemon zest, if desired. The peel of sweet dumpling squash is generally tender enough to be eaten.
I substituted a shallot for onion, raisins for dates, and slivered almonds for pistachios. I also added a grate of parmesan cheese on top, with 2 min broiling time at the end to crisp it up. Next time I’d like to add a bit of sage and/or rosemary.
An absolutely delicious meal, it also made me feel amazing. I have to admit, I have been craving sweets this week (and unfortunately they have been readily available). After dinner, I went to my Flamenco class and I had more energy than I have had in a month. My teacher was impressed and commented on my dancing “con ganas.”
This one is definitely a winner. Easy to make, ready for multiple variations on nuts and dried fruit, healthy, and full of energy!