Stuffed Squash – Healthy Veggie & Gluten-free Meal & Delish Thanksgiving Side Dish

If you are looking to have more “meatless” meals in your household, you’ll flip over these beautiful Stuffed Mini Squashes; they are both vegetarian and gluten-free!  This popular recipe lends itself to many variations. Not only is it delicious, but it’s quite handsome looking as well. While they can take a bit of preparation, this recipe can double as a Thanksgiving Day side dish and will look stunning on your holiday table!

You’ll want to choose a mini squash for this recipe – the squash serves as its own colorful harvest serving dish! I chose the Gold Nugget squash this time, but I’ve also used the acorn, carnival, and sweet dumpling varieties as well. Since the squash are hard shelled, you’ll need to bake them ahead of time before stuffing. Wash them well and then put them upright in a pan with about an inch of water. Bake in an oven at 350 degrees for about an hour.

Meanwhile, prepare the stuffing – this can be done ahead of time. I’ve used quinoa as the base for this stuffing, but you can substitute any whole grain that you wish. Quinoa is a gluten-free grain that is also a complete protein, which is unusual for a plant food. It’s also a great source of fiber! I’ve used the red quinoa for my recipe.

I like to add a variety of chopped vegetables to the quinoa stuffing to amp up the flavor and nutritional value. In this recipe, I’ve used chopped zucchini, green onions, and spinach; but you can easily substitute or add in whatever you prefer. Saute the veggies and garlic in a bit of extra virgin olive oil for about 3 to 5 minutes before adding to the quinoa.

Raisins and crumbled goat cheese round out the flavor of this stuffing; I prefer golden raisins for both their taste and color contrast to the red quinoa. Mix everything together in a bowl.

Slice the tops of each mini-squash carefully and remove the seeds and guts; keeping the tops on the side for later. Some squashes are meatier than others; if so, you may want to remove some of the squash and mix it in the prepared stuffing. The Gold Nugget variety I used in this recipe isn’t very dense, so I left it alone.

Drizzle a bit of olive oil along the inside of each squash; then stuff each with the quinoa. I like to sprinkle some grated parmagiano reggiano on the top. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until stuffing is warm throughout.

For a beautiful presentation, put the tops back on the top of each squash and serve on its own plate. Imagine your Thanksgiving table set with these autumnal beauties!

Ingredients List:

Mini-squashes

Quinoa

zucchini, chopped into small chunks

green onions, chopped

baby spinach, chopped

2 cloves of garlic

Golden raisins

Crumbled goat cheese

Spices used: Cumin, sea salt, coriander, black pepper.

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