This stuffed squash isn't trying to trick you into thinking it's stuffed with meat. And it doesn't have to! The quinoa filling is satisfying enough on its own, full of spiced warmth and salty sweetness.
2 small acorn squashes
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 cup red quinoa, rinsed well
2 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 cup fresh cranberries
1 cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves, chopped
1/2 cup roasted, salted and shelled pistachios, coarsely chopped
Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven; preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut each squash in half lengthwise and scoop out and discard the seeds. Arrange the halves in a large baking dish, flesh-side up.
Whisk together the vinegar, 2 tablespoons of the oil and the maple syrup in a cup. Brush the flesh side of the squash halves with some of the maple mixture and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. Put the squash flesh-side down in the baking dish, then brush the skin side with maple mixture and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper. Roast until the squash is fork-tender, 50 to 60 minutes. Poke the inside of the squash halves with a fork and brush generously with more of the maple mixture.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and garlic, stirring occasionally, until soft and golden brown, about 6 minutes. Add the quinoa, spices, and 1 teaspoon salt and stir until the spices are toasted, about 1 minute. Add broth and bring to a simmer. Add fresh cranberries. Lower the heat, cover the pan and simmer, until the quinoa is tender and liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Uncover and stir remaining maple mixture, half of the parsley and half of the pistachios.
Stuff the squash halves with the quinoa and sprinkle with the remaining parsley and pistachios. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Total: 1 hr 45 min (Prep: 15 min/Cook: 1 hr 25 min)
Yield: 4 servings