Delicata Squash Stuffed with Quinoa

Delicata Squash Stuffed with Quinoa

Delicata Squash Stuffed with Quinoa

 

Whoa, talk about power foods —this recipe for Delicata Squash Stuffed with Quinoa has got it all: squash, quinoa, carrots, onion, garlic, anti-inflammatory spices, pomegranate, and micro greens. I’m feeling healthier just talking about it.

Last year I was involved in a group called the 38 Power Foods blog group. Each week we came up with a recipe for one of the power foods that was listed in the book Power Foods: 150 Delicious recipes with the 38 healthiest ingredients; it’s from the editors at Whole Living magazine. I think everyone in the group enjoyed the weekly posts, learning about the health benefits of these nutritious foods we eat, and then developing recipes starring the power food. But I realized this morning that there were some flaws with this book: olive oil is not listed, nor are spices, or garlic. Many spices are highly anti-inflammatory, as are garlic and olive oil. How could these be forgotten?

Let me get back to the point of power foods. You don’t have to think too much to know that foods that come from the garden are good for us. Green vegetables are filled with chlorophyll which cleans and oxygenates the blood. Squash is packed with vitamin A which supports our vision and immune system. Garlic protects our bodies from oxidative stress and inflammation. And quinoa has two flavonoids, quercetin and kaempferol, that are said to be anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antiviral and also to have antidepressant effects. The list goes on and on about the benefits from minimally processed power foods. Adulterating food by frying, adding preservatives and other chemicals, degrades their wonderful benefits. Doesn’t it make sense to respect the foods that nature offers so they can do their job of keeping us healthy and strong, or return us to a state of health? To that end, I offer you today my recipe for Delicata Squash Stuffed with Quinoa.

If you are interested in learning more about the properties of quinoa, check out this very informative article at Well-beingsecrets.com.

Delicata Squash Stuffed with Quinoa

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Delicata Squash Stuffed with Quinoa

Ingredients:

    Ingredients for the Vegetables:
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 Delicata squash, each about 7 inches long
  • 1 medium large carrot
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • ½ cup onion, finely chopped
  • ¼ teaspoon onion powder
  • Ingredients for the quinoa:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup onion, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • ¾ cup quinoa
  • 1-1/2 cup chicken stock, or vegetable stock
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne
  • ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Ingredients for the Garnish:
  • 1-1/2 cups micro greens
  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • Ingredients for the Dressing:
  • ¼ cup virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Procedure:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400°
  2. Prepare the Squash and the Vegetables:
  3. Line a cookie sheet with tin foil and grease it with 1-1/2 teaspoons of olive oil.
  4. Use a chef knife and slice the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seed and discard them (unless you prefer to save them to roast later on).
  5. Lightly pepper the inside of the squash and then lay them cut side down on the cookie sheet.
  6. Next, wash and dry the carrot and the zucchini. Peel the carrot, and then slice both vegetable into thin coins no thicker than a nickel. You should have about 1 cup of each.
  7. Pour 1 tablespoon of oil into a small pan about 9x1/2 by 7-1/2, and spread it to cover the bottom of the pan. Place the sliced carrots and zucchini in the pan along with the ½ cup chopped onion and ¼ teaspoon onion. Stir it well and place the pan in the oven. Place the cookie sheet with the squash on it in the oven, too. Bake 33 to 40 minutes, and stir the vegetables every 10 minutes. (Check the squash after 30 minutes. When it is ready, you should easily be able it pierce through it with a sharp paring knife). Prepare the quinoa while the vegetables are baking.
  8. Prepare the Quinoa:
  9. Place the spices together in a small bowl and set it aside.
  10. Sauté the ½ cup onion in a 2-quart sauce pan. Add the minced garlic when the onion starts to look translucent.
  11. Add the spices to the onion and stir it around for 7 seconds and then add the vegetable stock, raisins and the bay leaf.
  12. Place the quinoa in a sieve, rinse it with cold water and then add it to the stock. Allow it to simmer on medium low until all the water has evaporated; this will be approximately 13 minutes. When all the water has evaporated, remove the pot from the heat. Fluff the quinoa with a fork and allow it to rest until the squash and vegetables are ready.
  13. When the squash is cooked and the vegetables are tender, mix the carrot mixture with the quinoa.
  14. To Assemble:
  15. lace the squash facing up on a serving plate. Fill each squash half with the quinoa filling, and top each one with the micro greens, followed with the feta cheese and the pomegranate seeds, and then stir and drizzle 1 to 1-1/2 teaspoons of the lemon/olive oil dressing over the top.

Note for vegans - Omit the cheese and use vegetable Stock Heart Healthy Option – Omit the salt

http://www.myhealthyeatinghabits.com/2013/11/08/delicata-squash-stuffed-with-quinoa/

References:

Well-Being Secrets

Sacred Source Nutrition

World’s Healthiest Foods

Below is a list of the participants in the 38 Power Foods blog group:

Alyce – More Time at the Table, Ansh – Spice Roots,  Casey –SweetSav  Jeanette – Jeanette’s Healthy Living,  Martha – Simple-Nourished-Living, Minnie – The Lady 8 Home, Mireya – My Healthy Eating Habits

This post is also listed at Tuesday Talent Show, Slightly Indulgent Tuesday, Pinceptive Blog Hop, and Full Plate Thursday.

 

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Holiday Stuffed Squash

Holiday Stuffed Squash

Holiday Stuffed Squash

 

Carnival Squash

Carnival Squash

As the holidays approach, I’m taking time off from the 38 Power Foods blog group, as are the other girls. Even though it is a bit early, I’m finding myself more in the mood for holiday foods. On Thanksgiving Day, I particularly enjoy eating the stuffing and I realized that there are rarely leftovers. This got me to thinking that I wanted it now, without delay. I didn’t want to bake a turkey because then I wouldn’t enjoy it next week when the relatives are in town to share in that special, once a year meal. But I wanted stuffing and it struck me that I’d never made stuffed squash. So, there I was with the problem resolved; this was a good reason to make it. Honestly, I’ve never been much a winter squash lover, but even Costco has gotten into the stuffed squash game. I figured it was time for me to give a try and share it here if it ended in a good result.

Stuffed squash recipes abound on the Internet. I took a look at three of them (1, 2, 3) to get a general idea of cooking times, seasonings, and oven temp, and then I was off and going. I drew heavily on my mother’s stuffing recipe, and as usual, I wanted to make the dish healthy, so I used turkey sausage instead of pork, and I omitted the butter from her recipe. You may gasp when you see the list of ingredients, but it’s really just basic spices, sautéed vegetables, dried fruit, cashews, and chestnuts. I found pre-peeled chestnuts at Trader Joes and they really add a lot of flavor. This dish can easily be made vegan or vegetarian by using vegetarian sausage and vegetable stock instead. My husband was wowed with the flavor, and I think you will be too. It’s a special recipe for my healthy eating habits.

 

Servings: 4         Prep Time: 30 minutes        Baking Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

2 carnival or acorn squash, 2 pounds each

2 to 4 oz sausage, vegan, chicken, or turkey

3 cups white whole wheat dried breadcrumbs

1/3  plus 1 tablespoon vegetable stock, or chicken stock

½ cup onion, chopped

½ cup celery, chopped

½ cup mushrooms, sliced

2 teaspoons garlic, minced

1-½ tablespoons dried cranberries

1 tablespoon raisins

½ cup chestnuts, chopped

1/3 cup pecans, or cashews

1-½ teaspoons mixed herbs, like herbs de Provence, or oregano/basil

1 teaspoon thyme

½ teaspoon sage

¼ teaspoon black pepper

¼ teaspoon salt

 

Procedure:

Place face down in roasting pan

Place face down in roasting pan

Preheat the oven to 400°. Line a large casserole pan, or cookie sheet pan with tin foil; this will make clean up easy. Wash the squash and dry them, and then spilt them open along the length. Use a large spoon to remove the seeds. Season the squash halves well with salt and pepper; place them face down in the pan, and bake for 30 minutes.

Sauté the sausage in a couple teaspoons of olive oil. Break it up with a fork as it cooks. When it is done place it in a small bowl and set it aside.

Add 1-½ tablespoons olive oil to the pan and sauté the celery, the onions, and the mushrooms. Add the garlic when the onions turn to translucent white. Cook until the vegetables are tender, and then add the sausage back to the pan mixing it in.

Place the breadcrumbs in a 4-quart pan; add the cooked vegetables, the herbs, chestnuts, nuts, cranberries, raisins, and the stock.

After the squash has cooked 30 minutes, remove the pan from the oven, turn the squash over so the cavities faces up. Fill each cavity with ¼ of the stuffing. Cover with tin foil and bake for 25 minutes. After 25 minutes check for tenderness. Continue to bake if it isn’t tender yet. If the squash is tender, take off the top layer of foil and continue to bake 5 more minutes.

 

References:

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/stuffed-squash-recipe/index.html

http://www.chooseveg.com/stuffed-acorn-squash.asp

http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/southwestern_stuffed_acorn_squash.html

Spaghetti Squash with Garlic and Olive Oil

 

Spaghetti Squash with Garlic and Olive Oil

Spaghetti Squash with Garlic and Olive Oil

 

The initial pleasure that I get from squash comes from looking at their shapes, sizes, colors, and to traveling to farmlands (real or imagined) to see an abundance of yellow and orange-toned field crops ready for the picking. If you’re looking for fiber, winter squash is an excellent source. The starch components in winter squash are what make it a super veggie by providing antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and insulin-regulating properties. Oh, it also has 214.1% of your daily nutritional needs of vitamin A and 38% of your needs for vitamin C.

I’ve always wanted to make spaghetti squash. It’s an absolutely perfect looking and healthier “spaghetti”, but without all the unwanted carbs. Don’t get me wrong, carbs are fine, but if it comes to a choice between flour based or vegetable based carbs, I sometimes prefer to go with the veggie for the nutrients and antioxidants it provides—especially when that vegetable is considered a power food. Oh, and it’s gluten-free, which is perfect for anyone with gluten intolerance.

It’s had to believe but I’ve never made spaghetti squash before. Because it was new for me, I looked around at several recipes on the internet. There was a Moroccan Spiced Squash on SmittenKitchen, and another good one on AllRecipes, but I settled on modifying a simple recipe for spaghetti squash with garlic and olive oil that I found on Steamy Kitchen. It is similar to my recipe for whole wheat pasta with garlic and olive oil, and judging from the feedback on that one, it was a hit. This one looks like another hit and another recipe for my healthy eating habits.

 

Servings:  4         Prep Time: 5 minutes      Total Time: 1 hour and 10 minutes

 

Ingredients:

1 spaghetti squash (3-4 pounds)

2 tablespoons olive oil

4-5 cloves garlic, finely minces

¼ cup minced parsley

½ teaspoon salt

2 to 3 tablespoons minced parsley, or basil

2 tablespoons parmesan cheese

¼ teaspoon black pepper

Cracked black pepper to taste

 

Procedure:

Pre-heat the oven to 375°

1. Line a large pan with tin foil. Cut a slit about 3 to 4 inches long in the squash, deep enough to reach the center. Place the squash in the pan and bake it for 60 to 70 minutes, or until you can easily insert a paring knife through the skin. Let it cool 8 to 10 minutes.

Cut a slit into the squash and place the squash on a foil lined pan.

Cut a slit into the squash and place the squash on a foil lined pan.

2. Slice the squash in half from top to bottom. Scrape out the seeds and discard them, or save them to toast for snacking. Use a fork and scrape the squash meat along the length; it will easily shred out in long strands that look like pasta! You should be able to scrape easily down to the inner shell.

Use a fork to pull out the strands from top to bottom.

Use a fork to pull out the strands from top to bottom.

3. Heat the oil and the garlic in a 10-inch skillet over medium heat. Being careful not to burn it, cook until the garlic turns a whitish color— about 2 minutes. Add the salt and parsley, swirl it around and then add the spaghetti squash threads and toss together well.

To Serve: Place in a bowl and sprinkle with the parmesan cheese and give it a few cracks of black pepper. Spaghetti Squash makes a nice side to Roasted or grilled chicken.

 

References:

Power Foods: 150 delicious recipes with the 38 healthiest ingredients

http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=63

 

If you are a blogger and would like to take part in our group blogging about Power Foods: 150 Recipes with the 38 Healthiest Ingredients, (from the editors at Martha Stewart’s Living Magazine) we’d love to have your company. Contact: Mireya(at)myhealthyeatinghabits.com for details.

 

Check out what these other bloggers have cooked up!

Alanna – Kitchen Parade Veggie Adventure – Alyce – More Time at the Table, Ansh – Spice Roots,  Casey –SweetSav  Jeanette – Jeanette’s Healthy Living, Jill – Saucy Cooks Martha – Simple-Nourished-Living, Minnie – The Lady 8 Home, Mireya – My Healthy Eating Habits

This recipe is also posted at Pennywise PlatterFull Plate Thursday, and Whole Foods Wednesday, and Slightly Indulgent Tuesday