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Roasted Stuffed Butternut Squash with Tri-Colored Quinoa, Kale, Chickpeas, Toasted Pine Nuts and Pomegranate Seeds

Butternut Squash is one of my favorite foods because of its health benefits, its sweet & nutty taste, and its versatility in the kitchen. I include it in my breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and even dessert sometimes!

This recipe is absolutely delicious! It is more time consuming than some, but worth every minute! I recommend making this the next time you have friends or family over - they will be so impressed with the aesthetic and taste of the dish!

DETAILS

Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 75 min
Total: 85 min
Servings: 4
 

INGREDIENTS

(please use organic ingredients whenever possible)

  • 2 ea medium butternut squash, halved, seeds removed
  • 4 tsp avocado oil
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1 C tri-colored quinoa (any other quinoa is fine too)
  • 1 1/3 C vegetable broth, homemade or low sodium
  • 1 bunch curly kale, stems removed, leaves rough chopped
  • 2 ea fresh thyme sprigs
  • ½ tsp pink Himalayan salt or sea salt, to taste
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ tsp fresh ground white pepper, to taste (optional)
  • 15 oz cooked chickpeas (if using canned or bottled, rinse and drain)
  • 1 ea medium orange, zested
  • ½ each juice of half of the zested orange above
  • 1/3 C fresh pomegranate seeds
  • ¼ C pine nuts (raw or toasted, optional)

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  • 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, light 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 slight 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 a 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)

 

ALTERNATIVES

  • 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 service.

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