Day 23: Acorn Squash Stuffed with Quinoa & Cherries ♥

~ recipe updated & photo added in 2006 ~

Veggie Venture Lesson: Try new foods more than once, even if you don't like them so much the first time. Here's why: Acorn squash is one of my favorite foods, reliably delicious. But tonight, it turned out bland and watery.

Was it a problem with the recipe? No. Then why? I don't know though it's possible that it was old, given that squash is harvested in fall not spring. But if I'd never had squash before, based only on tonight, I'd never try it again.

I don't often cook foods 'out of season'. But today felt more like winter than spring AND my good-cook, good-cousin recommended the recipe, so I did. And I'm glad! For even though the squash itself wasn't so great tonight, it re-introduced me to quinoa, a favorite from my vegetarian days.

Note 4/25: The quinoa is also great on its own, heated and served in individual ramekins.

2006: With subsequent attempts, I liked this recipe so much that the recipe is featured (along with a funny story about quinoa) in a 2006 Kitchen Parade column.

Prep time: 15 minutes hands-on + another 15 for quinoa to cook without attention
Oven time: 45 - 50 minutes
Time to table: 75 - 90 minutes
Serves 4

1/2 cup quinoa
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dried cherries (see ALANNA's TIPS)
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (see TIPs)
2 tablespoon maple syrup (see TIPs)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 acorn squash
Olive oil

Quinoa: Cook quinoa according to directions, including 1 teaspoon salt if not specified. Mix cherries, walnuts and cinnamon in small bowl. Combine with cooked quinoa.
Assembly: Wash squash well, cut in half cross-ways and remove seeds. Cut tips cross-ways so squash will sit flat. Rub flesh with olive oil. Place in baking dish (with cover) lined with foil. Stuff squash with quinoa, tuck anything leftover between the squash.
Bake: Cover and bake at 350F for 40 minutes. Remove cover, bake another 5 - 10 minutes to brown filling.

Nutrition estimate, as specified, Per Serving: 368 Cal (20% from Fat, 8% from Protein, 72% from Carb); 8 g Protein; 9 g Tot Fat; 1 g Sat Fat; 69 g Carb; 12 g Fiber; 109 mg Calcium; 3 mg Iron; 13 mg Sodium; 0 mg Cholesterol, Weight Watchers 7 points

Nutrition estimate with 1/4 cup cherries, 1/4 cup walnuts and 1 tablespoon maple syrup, Per Servings: 285 Cal (16% from Fat); 6 g Protein; 5 g Tot Fat; 1 g Sat Fat; 57 g Carb; 11 g Fiber; 103 mg Calcium; 3 mg Iron; 12 mg Sodium; 0 mg Cholesterol, Weight Watchers 5 points

  • If time/inclination allow, chop cherries in half so there's "more" to spread throughout the quinoa. My cousin also uses dried cranberries, I think dried apricot would be great, too.
  • For calorie-reduction, next time I'll halve the quantity of cherries, nuts and maple syrup .
Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.