Fall’s pumpkins and squash make handy containers for dinner. Baked or roasted, they offer space inside for delicious fillings. Meat, cheese, vegetables, or grains can all make their home inside the belly of a squash.
Seeing those pumpkins or squash neatly arranged on a sheet pan is a joy. An hour later, the kitchen cozy-warm from your oven, dinner is done! The house smells heavenly. Your hungry family is fed and there are few dishes to clean up.
Play with any fillings you like. Abundant Home’s simple recipe (below) features quinoa—a protein-rich grain—paired with roasted shallots, pecans, and cranberries. Spoiler alert: the roasted shallots are sweet, nutty, and addictive.
Roasted Acorn Squash with Quinoa
- 4 acorn squash or jack-be-little pumpkins (1/2 to 1 lb. each)
- 16 shallots (about 1 pound)
- 1 c. quinoa
- 1 c. dried cranberries
- 1 c. pecans
- 1 T. fresh herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, or sage
- ¼ c. olive oil
- Salt, pepper
- ¼ c. maple syrup
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wash squash (or pumpkins) and pat dry. Cut a half-inch horizontal slice from the bottom of each squash, so that squash will be stable on a baking tray. Cut a second horizontal slice to remove the stem end and open up cavity of squash enough to get filling inside. Set aside stem end for garnish.
Scoop seeds and fibers out from each squash. Rub squash inside and out with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and place on baking tray–open side face down. Do not roast stem ends.
Remove any loose skins or debris from shallots, but leave unpeeled. Coat shallots in olive oil and add to the tray with squash. Roast vegetables for 30 to 40 minutes, until squash is fork-tender and shallots are soft and caramelized.
Meanwhile, place quinoa along with two cups water and 1 t. salt into small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cover, turn off heat, and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Roughly chop pecans. Add pecans, cranberries, chopped herbs, and olive oil to the cooked quinoa. Add salt and pepper, if needed.
To serve, place roasted squash on a serving plate. Fill with quinoa mixture. Add a drizzle of pure maple syrup, if desired. Place stem end atop or beside each squash for garnish. Slit shallots with sharp knife, revealing caramelized layers. Serve alongside squash.