Thursday, November 5, 2015

Thanksgiving: Acorn Squash with Cranberry Apple Quinoa

This genuinely delightful replacement for an animal-based entree will be the highlight of your holiday table. This rustic beauty is colorful, tasty, and filling. Trust me. You won't miss the meat.

1/2 cup white quinoa, rinsed
1/2 cup red quinoa, rinsed
1 cup orange juice
2 cups apple juice or cider
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
2 acorn squash
1 medium onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 celery rib, diced
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup dried apples, diced
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Rinse quinoa well in a fine-guage strainer with cool water. Then, toast quinoa in a dry, heavy-bottomed pot for about 3 minutes. Add orange juice, apple juice, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Simmer, covered, for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375°F. Cut each acorn squash in half and place cut-side UP in a baking dish. Bake 1 hour or until tender. While squash bakes, steamfry onion (without oil or butter!), carrot, and celery over medium heat for 8 to 10 minutes. Add vegetables to the simmering quinoa, along with the dried cranberries, apples and maple syrup.

Simmer the aromatic mixture for 10-20 more minutes, at which point the quinoa should be fully cooked and hold together like sticky rice. If there is extra fluid remaining, remove lid and slowly cook out the fluid on low. Remove from heat and stir in sliced almonds.

Turn the squash cut-side up and fill each half with 1/4 of the quinoa mixture and return to the oven for 10 minutes, or until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork.

Serves 4.

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