Jackie’s Festive Baked Acorn Squash with Colorful Quinoa and Dazzling Veggies!

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!

the-vegan-way-book-cover-final-mobyYour friends will be impressed with your creativity and your table will look colorful and inviting. Compassionate cooking sure is beautiful!

Bon Vegan Appétit!

Jackie Day is the author of The Vegan Way: 21 Days to a Happier, Healthier Plant-Based Lifestyle That Will Transform Your Home, Your Diet, and You ~ St. Martin’s Press / Macmillan.
“Writing in a playful and upbeat fashion, Day guides her readers through a day-by-day approach to living vegan… For those interested in becoming acquainted with “the vegan way,” this book marvelously succeeds.” – Publisher’s Weekly        

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