This recipe for Roasted Acorn Squash Stuffed with Quinoa Mushroom Pilaf is a great meatless option when entertaining. It’s elegant and colorful and will make any guest feel special.
This is a big week for Americans celebrating Thanksgiving. Although turkey is traditionally served as the main course, it’s likely that many of you will have at least one guest who is vegetarian, vegan, or gluten-free. When I entertain, I like everyone to feel included and to have plenty of food to eat. I want everyone to feel special.
A number of years ago, we had house guests, one of whom was vegetarian. At the time, I was completely new to vegetarian cooking. Fortunately, I knew how to make some Chinese dishes using tofu, but it made me realize there was a whole world of cooking out there that I knew little about, that went way beyond tofu. You see, vegetarians hate it when they ask if there’s anything vegetarian on a menu and they are pointed to the roasted vegetables or a salad. Yes, vegetarians and vegans eat vegetables, but they need protein too.
So, in honor of Thanksgiving this year, I came up with this Roasted Acorn Squash Stuffed with Quinoa Mushroom Pilaf (featured on One Green Planet) as a vegetarian or vegan main course. Quinoa is a complete protein, so this elegantly presented dish would easily take the place of turkey for any vegetarian or vegan guests. Of course, once your non-vegan friends see this beautiful dish, they will want some too. After all, isn’t that the best part of a Thanksgiving dinner? Tasting a little bit of everything.
I am adding this to my collection of Healthy Gluten-free Thanksgiving Recipes. Hope you will pop in and take a look for some last minute ideas to fill out your Thanksgiving menu.
And now, I am off to start shopping for our family’s Thanksgiving dinner, our very first gluten-free and dairy-free Thanksgiving.
Here’s wishing you all a wonderful Thanksgiving, and may we all take some time to reflect on all the blessings that we have received over the past year. Although we all experience tough times at different points in in our lives, all of us have something to be thankful for. I know I have so much to be grateful for – my beloved husband, my four rambunctious boys, my gift of cooking for others, and my health. I am looking forward to spending some much needed downtime with my family, including some time catching up with my oldest son who will be visiting from college ;).
- 3 medium acorn squash, halved lengthwise, seeds removed
- olive oil for brushing acorn squash
- 2 tablespooons olive oil, divided
- 1 onion, finely chopped, divided
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed well and drained
- 1½ cups vegetable broth
- ½ cup water
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1½ cups mushrooms, finely chopped
- 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 4 sage leaves, minced
- ½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Brush tops and inside of squash cavity lightly with olive oil. Season lightly with salt.
- Roast in oven until fork tender, about 45 minutes to an hour. Roasting time will depend on the size of your squash.
- Remove from oven and set aside.
- While acorn squash is roasting, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a saucepan. Add half the onion and cook until softened, about 2-3 minutes. Add the quinoa, broth, water and thyme, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and cook, covered, until liquid has been absorbed, about 15-20 minutes.
- In a skillet, heat remaining tablespoon of oil, and add rest of onion, mushrooms, celery and sage. Saute until vegetables are soft and no more liquid from mushrooms remains.
- Toss mushroom mixture with cooked quinoa, along with pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Stuff acorn squash halves with Quinoa Pilaf.