Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Best Stuffed Acorn Squash

Well, I'm sure it's not The Best, but it is definitely the best you can do if you want it ready in less than a half hour. It's vegan, low fat, and has tons of fiber and protein. Basically the perfect winter meal.

Have fun with it. All you really need is the squash, a fabulous grain, and a legume of some sort; quinoa and black beans just happen to be particularly delicious. And then some assorted veggies, of course.

Easy Stuffed Acorn Squash
-1 acorn squash
-1/2 c. dry quinoa (or: millet, couscous, bulgar, brown rice. Those are listed in order of my preference for this recipe. Do not fear quinoa, though – it is the only grain that is a complete protein and it’s crazy easy to make!)
-1 c. black beans
-1 c. broccoli florets, steamed, and chopped up a bit
-1 c. steamed kale (sub spinach if you’d like, or just leave out the greens, but kale is tasty and good for you – available in the fall/winter)

1. Start by getting the quinoa ready. I just throw mine in my $20 Target rice cooker with double the amount of water (1 cup) – if you don’t have a rice cooker you really need to get on that. Luckily, the conventional preparation method is really easy. Put the quinoa in a saucepan with double the water and bring to a boil. Cover, and simmer on low for about 15 minutes, or until the water is absorbed and the quinoa’s translucent cover is visible.
2. To prepare the acorn squash, prick a bunch of holes in it with a knife or fork and microwave it for 10 minutes. You could do it in the oven, too, but that takes forever; if you really want to do that, Google directions. Once the squash is done, cut it in half and scoop out the seeds and guts.
3. Mix the cooked quinoa and all the other ingredients together and fill the squash with it (it will overflow, that’s ok.)
4. For seasoning, I like to whisk together a quick maple balsamic drizzle. Mix together some maple syrup, brown sugar, splash of balsamic vinegar, a little oil, and some water, then nuke it for about 30 seconds to warm it up so you can dissolve the sugar. The sweet, tangy taste compliments the ingredients nicely. Sometimes I add some mustard to that, sometimes a little BBQ sauce. Any store-bought dressing would work, too, like a sesame ginger or sweet lemon poppy seed. You get the idea.

Pictured here is the stuffed squash (though I didn't add any broccoli this time) along with some BBQ tempeh. Tasty!

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