I was meandering through Trader Joe’s the other day in search of coconut water, when this cute little acorn squash caught my eye. It wasn’t a solid dark green like all the other acorn squashes in the pile; this one was special. Its skin had a big odd shaped patch of bright pumpkin~looking orange on it! I thought “what a cool lookin’ squash!”, and bought it!
And so it sat on my kitchen table looking pretty for a week. I had no idea what to do with it; I had never cooked an acorn squash before. But with the holidays approaching, I thought I should just give it a go, and try to create something festive. And so I did!
First, I had to have my husband cut the squash in half (boy, that skin was tough!), then I scooped out the seeds, wrapped up the 2 halves individually in foil (an oven-safe baking dish works well, too!) and popped them into the oven at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.
Some people like to add a bit of vegan butter and brown sugar to the squash before baking, but I had so many cups of my “romantic hot cocoa” that I wasn’t in the mood for anything else sugary sweet. Shocking, I know.
Then I boiled 1/4 cup organic red quinoa (super pretty!) with 1/4 cup organic white quinoa in 1 cup of water. As it was cooking I chopped 1/2 of a red bell pepper, a few mushrooms, 1 zucchini, 1/4th of a purple onion and about 5 fresh cloves of garlic.
Just before the quinoa was done (about 10 minutes), I added all of the chopped vegetables, a tablespoon of olive oil and about a 1/2 cup of additional water to the pot and stirred occasionally until everything was cooked, yet still vibrant and colorful.
I also added a small dash of salt, a dash of cayenne pepper and a few dashes of my new find: Whole Foods Market’s Muchi Curry Seasoning. It’s about a dozen curry spices all piled into one bottle, ranging from tumeric and cumin to fenugreek and celery seed. I like it!
When the quinoa and vegetables were done, I simply scooped them into the centers of the acorn squash, and voila! I think they came out really festive and look like beautiful flowers! They were really yummy too!
Don’t be afraid of trying new squashes and experimenting with fillings. You don’t need a recipe, you just need imagination (and a strong arm!).
Get creative and fill them with whatever you think would taste good (I’m going to try using vegan stuffing next time), and then make up a name for your new dish!
Bon Vegan Appétit!