2 medium butternut squash, halved, seeds removed
4 teaspoons avocado oil
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup tri-colored quinoa (any other quinoa is fine too)
1 ⅓ cups vegetable broth, homemade or low sodium
1 bunch curly kale, stems removed, leaves rough chopped
2 fresh thyme sprigs
½ teaspoon pink Himalayan salt or sea salt, to taste
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, to taste
¼ teaspoon fresh ground white pepper, to taste (optional)
15 oz. cooked chickpeas (if using canned or bottled, rinse and drain)
1 medium orange, zested
½ juice of half of the zested orange above
⅓ cup fresh pomegranate seeds
¼ cup pine nuts (raw or toasted, optional)
- Pre-heat oven to 425F, place rack in the middle of the oven
- Arrange the butternut squash halves, cut side up on an unlined sheet pan
- Drizzle and spread 1 tsp of avocado oil on each of the 4 cut halves of butternut squash, lightly salt and pepper each half
- Bake uncovered for 55-60minutes, or until fork-tender.
- While the butternut squash is baking, use a fine-mesh sieve to thoroughly rinse the quinoa under cold water until the water runs clear.
- Place the quinoa in a medium saucepan with the broth and bring to fast simmer.
- Cover the saucepan with the quinoa with a tight-fitting lid and reduce heat to maintain a low simmer. Cook for 15 minutes.
- Removed the quinoa from heat (keeping covered with the lid) and allow to sit and steam for another 3 minutes. Remove lid and fluff with a fork.
- Using a large skillet, 1 tsp of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat.
- Add to the skillet the torn kale leaves and cook until just slightly wilted, about 2-3 minutes and reduce heat to medium-low.
- Add to the kale the thyme sprigs, salt and pepper, to taste. Heat until slightly fragrant. Remove thyme stems.
- Add to the skillet the chickpeas, the cooked quinoa, squeeze juice from the half orange, and add the orange zest. Remove from heat.
- Once butternut squash is fork-tender and slightly caramelized on the edges, remove from the oven and allow to cool (while still on the pan).
- Using heat-protective gloves, scoop out the flesh of the butternut squash, leaving about a 1/2-inch border around the sides. Reserve this for later use.
- Add the pomegranate seeds and pine nuts to the kale and quinoa mixture and toss to combine. Ready for filling!
- Stuff the butternut squash halves with a heaping amount of the kale and quinoa mixture. Ready to serve! (Reserve any extra stuffing for later use for a buddha bowl)
- Can use acorn squash instead of butternut squash
- Can use cranberries instead of pomegranate seeds. In this case, add cranberries to the stuffing when adding the quinoa to the kale.
- Can use other nuts instead of pine nuts: chopping toasted hazelnuts, chopped pecans, toasted almond slivers.
- Can add vegan parmesan to the top of the stuffing and warm in the oven for 5 minutes before serving.