New Years parties are just a few days away and I have just the recipe for your celebration. This recipe is almost confetti-like with tiny quinoa grains, colorful strands of carrots, luscious dried fruits, and toasty nuts. Add a little spice and maple syrup and you have the perfect side dish or vegetarian main. What will you be doing for your New Years Celebration?
This time of year we roast acorn squash about once a week. You can simply split the squash down the middle, remove the seeds, add a tsp of butter and/or maple syrup and roast for about 1 hr on 400 degrees. Or if you’d like to spice things up a bit you can make some delicious quinoa (one of my favorite grains) and stuff the beautiful squash with a sweet and nutty filling.
Acorn Squash Stuffed with Fruit and Nut Quinoa
3 acorn squash, cut down the middle and seeds removed
6 tsp butter or coconut oil
6 Tb maple syrup
1 cup quinoa
1 large carrots, grated
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup chopped dried cherries (or cranberries)
1/4 cup chopped shallot
1/4 cup olive oil, or more as needed
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon, or more juice as needed
1 teaspoon coriander
Pinch of cayenne, or to taste
Pinch of cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
Preheat oven to 400 degrees then cut in half and remove seeds from the acorn squash. Place squash cut side on a baking sheet. Pour about 1/2 cup of water on the baking sheet. Inside each squash half, put 1 tsp of butter and 1 Tb of maple syrup. Bake for about 1 hour or until squash is soft (test with a fork).
Meanwhile, put the quinoa in a small pot and add 2 cups water and a pinch of salt. Bring the water to a boil, then cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.
Put the cooked quinoa in a large salad bowl along with the carrots, pecans, cranberries, scallions, oil and lemon zest and juice, and sprinkle with the spices and salt and pepper. Use 2 big forks to combine, fluffing the couscous and tossing gently to separate the grains. (The salad can be made up to this point and refrigerated for up to a day; bring to room temperature before proceeding.)
Stir in the parsley and sage. Taste and adjust the seasoning, moisten with a little more oil and lemon juice as you like, and serve.