Herb roasted acorn squash quinoa bowl

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I’ve noticed that Fall here in Seattle is like, its own distinct season. Not just the slightly cooler summer time that jumps right into winter frost and naked trees that the Midwest deems as “Fall”. Here, it is crisp, cool and colorful. Sure it rains and is often overcast, but today? It is delightfully sunny and as I left my apartment, it was just warm enough to make me turn around and leave my coat at home. Ideal.

Just like fall fashion, fall foods are cozy and lend themselves to layering. I had an acorn squash for a week or two while I thought about what to do with it. I think this basic recipe lends itself to multiple flavors. Next time I’m planning to go the Asian inspired route and include the likes of sesame oil, ginger, scallions, rice vinegar, basil and cilantro. Then perhaps Indian with toasted chickpeas, curry, turmeric and carrots?

This time I went with some simple herbs and  a few vegetables to experiment.

Herb roasted acorn squash quinoa bowls topped with goat cheese

Preheat your oven. Cut the acorn squash in half and place the two pieces cut side up in a baking pan. Slice lines  into the squash (but not all the way through the skin) lengthwise and widthwise. This will help with scooping later and allow the oil and herbs to seep into the squash.

Fill the baking pan with about 1 inch of water to keep the squash nice and soft as it roasts. Chop up a bunch of herbs (sage, parsley,rosemary etc) and mix with some olive oil, salt, black pepper and a dash of red chili flakes. Pour this nice savory mixture into each squash half and spread around to coat.

Roast the squash for about 35 minutes. Check to see if it is getting soft and you know, roasted looking.

-I put a couple garlic cloves in the squash hoping it would caramelize and impart its sweet flavor into my squash, but it didn’t really roast like I wanted and remained slightly raw. Next time I’d roast garlic separately and put them into the quinoa veggie mixture-

While the squash roasts, make a cup of quinoa and prepare your chosen vegetables. I sautéed up diced onions, red bell pepper, green onions and zucchini. Mix up your cooked quinoa, vegetables and some beans. I used about half a can of black beans and diced up some pre-cooked beets to add as well. Splash some olive oil and add a bit of cumin, salt and pepper. Be sure to taste to see what else it needs!

Take out your squash and pour out the olive oil and herbs that settled to the bottom into your quinoa mixture and stir to mix.

-I left the squash as is and just put a few scoops of the quinoa mixture into the squash ‘bowls”. But this made it a bit hard to eat comfortably so I suggest scooping out most of the savory, soft squash and combining with the quinoa mixture.-

Spoon as much of your quinoa, veggie, squash and herb mixture into the acorn “bowls” as will fit. Place a small scoop of goat cheese on top. If you want, toast some breadcrumbs/panko and a bit of herbs and add that to the top to add some crunchiness.  Place quinoa stuffed squash bowls back into the oven until you notice the goat cheese melting and browning just a bit. This took about 20-25 minutes for me.

Top with a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper and serve!

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