stuffed squash with broccoli rabe and quinoa

stuffed squash with broccoli rabe and quinoa // thefirstmess.com #broccolirabepin it!

This post is sponsored by Andy Boy Broccoli Rabe.

stuffed squash with broccoli rabe and quinoa // thefirstmess.com #broccolirabepin it!stuffed squash with broccoli rabe and quinoa // thefirstmess.compin it!for stuffed squash with broccoli rabe and quinoa // thefirstmess.com #broccolirabepin it!stuffed squash with broccoli rabe and quinoa // thefirstmess.com #broccolirabepin it!
Our holiday tree is up! And we squeezed in all of the outdoor decorating last Saturday (it was a balmy ten degrees). I finally figured out my perfect, homemade vegan hot chocolate method the other night, which you may or may not see here soon ;) There’s also a box of clementines and two huge pomegranates on the kitchen counter. But most importantly, I found my epic stash of warm wooly socks. I think I’m ready for the seasonal good times to get started. I don’t love the notion of absolutely having to get a laundry list of things ready for the holidays, but I do like to get my cozy gear lined up all nice. Have any of you been up to anything special to get yourselves in the festive/cozy mood?

I know that stuffed squash recipes are about as plentiful as the day is long this time of year, but I’ll urge you to give this one a second glance if you’re planning vegetarian/vegan-friendly eats for guests or yourself some time soon. When I prepare squash, I prefer it to be peeled, diced and roasted. The browned and crisped edges naturally enhance the creamy squash. When you’re roasting a whole wedge for stuffing, there’s not as much crispy edge to go around with every bite. That means there’s a lot of sweet and creamy mouthfuls that might need added contrasting flavour and texture to avoid seeming flat.

Broccoli rabe is naturally bitter and quite “green” tasting, so when you mix that with the sweet-tart punch of reduced balsamic vinegar and extra crunchy Marcona almonds, you’ve got yourself an excellent foil for creamy squash. Cooked quinoa fills the whole mix out, along with some traditional stuffing aromatics like celery, garlic, and fresh sage. I like making a vegetarian/vegan main in this style because, at a big meal, it can do double duty as a grain/vegetable side for everyone at the table. I cut the squash into smaller wedges, rather than individual meal-sized halves, so that it can be part of the whole meal.

More cold weather treats for snuggling up coming soon! Big hugs :)

stuffed squash with broccoli rabe and quinoa // thefirstmess.compin it!stuffed squash with broccoli rabe and quinoa // thefirstmess.com #broccolirabepin it!stuffed squash with broccoli rabe and quinoa // thefirstmess.com #broccolirabepin it!stuffed squash with broccoli rabe and quinoa // thefirstmess.com #broccolirabepin it!stuffed squash with broccoli rabe and quinoa // thefirstmess.com #broccolirabepin it!
Stuffed Squash with Broccoli Rabe and Quinoa Recipe
Print the recipe here!
Serves: 8 as a side, 4 as a main
Notes: You can make your own balsamic glaze by reducing balsamic vinegar in a saucepan, but I find it easier (and usually economically advantageous) to buy a pre-made, high-quality glaze. If you have dried rosemary on hand, you could substitute it for the fresh by reducing the amount to 2 teaspoons. Last one: I used the fancy, truffled marcona almonds from Trader Joe’s for the garnish here and it was spectacular.

2 small-medium acorn squashes
1 ½ tablespoons olive oil, divided
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary (from roughly 1 sprig)
½ cup quinoa, rinsed
1 cup vegetable stock
1 medium shallot, peeled and diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon minced fresh sage (from roughly 1 sprig)
1 clove of garlic, peeled and minced
½ bunch broccoli rabe, tough ends of stems trimmed
3 tablespoons dried currants
2 tablespoons balsamic glaze
3 tablespoons marcona almonds, chopped

Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cut the acorn squashes in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and stringy bits with a spoon. Then, cut each of the seeded squash halves in half once more. You should have 8 evenly sized wedges when you’re done with both squashes.

Place the squash wedges facing up on the parchment-lined baking tray. Brush the squash flesh with about half of the olive oil. Season all of the squash with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the minced rosemary over top. Slide the tray into the oven and roast the squash for 35-40 minutes, or until the squash is tender.

While the squash is roasting, combine the rinsed quinoa, vegetable stock, and a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan. Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes, or until all of the stock is absorbed and the quinoa has puffed up. Set aside.

In a large pot with a well-fitting lid, heat the remaining olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced shallots to the pot and stir. Cook until shallots are translucent, about 2 minutes. Add the diced celery and carrot and stir. Cook until all of the vegetables are slightly soft, about 3 minutes. Add the minced sage and garlic to the pot and stir. Chop the broccoli rabe into bite-sized pieces and add it to the pot.

Stir the vegetables to coat and season with salt and pepper. Add a ¼ cup of water to the pot and place the lid on top. Let the broccoli rabe steam in the pot for about 3-4 minutes. Then, remove the lid and stir in the cooked quinoa and dried currants. Remove the pot from the heat.

Place roasted squash wedges on a serving platter and carefully spoon the broccoli rabe and quinoa stuffing into the natural cavities of the squash. Drizzle all of the stuffed squash pieces with the balsamic glaze and garnish with the chopped marcona almonds. Serve immediately.

*This post was created in partnership with Andy Boy Broccoli Rabe. All opinions/endorsements are my own. Thanks for supporting!

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  • thefolia08/12/2015 - 4:49 am

    Viva le broccoli rabe…we love it in our nest! Where did you get those glass storage containers…I absolutely love them. My pantry would look a whole lot more inviting if I had these as my storage containers. Happy feasting!ReplyCancel

    • Laura08/12/2015 - 8:33 am

      Hey there, the jars are a mix of finds from Home Sense/Home Goods and Food 52’s online shop. Food 52 still has them! Link here. Good to note though: I was at an Ikea store yesterday and they had ones on display that looked quite similar–probably at a very reasonable price, too!
      -LReplyCancel

  • carolyn08/12/2015 - 7:57 am

    I am going to make these beauties stat! We grew acorn and butternut for the first time this summer and have quite the abundance to get us throigh the winter:)
    Curious as to what the broccoli rabe is on top of on your (beautiful) counters? Also what cutting board is that? My husband just ordered me a beautiful boos block, but i had to return it because it is 2″ thick and makes my counter too high to comfortably chop. (Im 5’2) it is way past time to upgrade to wood.
    Thank you!!!!!ReplyCancel

    • Laura08/12/2015 - 8:38 am

      Thanks Carolyn!
      Do you mean the second photo down in the second set of photos? The broccoli rabe is sitting on top of a linen-covered cutting board that’s perched over my sink in that one :) That tends to be the best spot for photos so I try to rig it up as best I can. My cutting board in these photos is a basic bamboo one from Home Sense/Home Goods and it’s only an inch or so thick. I had the same problem with a thick chopping block! It was cramping up my shoulder because I’m on the short side as well ;)
      -LReplyCancel

  • Abby @ The Frosted Vegan08/12/2015 - 9:50 am

    Your kitchen is just dreamy girlfriend, that backsplash and those shelves are so good! I burned myself out on squash early in the season, but this looks like a good foray back into the sqaush loving rotation :)ReplyCancel

    • Laura08/12/2015 - 5:31 pm

      My instinct is to over-do it with the squash in October, so I feel you on that. Varied accompaniments = so key. xoxoReplyCancel

  • danielle is rooting the sun08/12/2015 - 10:34 am

    oh laura! – this squash is everything delicious and festive in a beautiful roasty package. recently the integrity of stuffed squash as a main was questioned in my world (but I disagreed – I think omnivores and vegetarians/vegans may see differently on this matter). your flavors here are both romantic (those marcona almonds and balsamic!) and cool (oh that sexy rabe) – making for one hot dinner date. ♥ super stoked for holiday festivities, and i’m lining up my woolen socks, too. (:ReplyCancel

    • Laura08/12/2015 - 5:33 pm

      It’s true that broccoli rabe is hella sexy ;) I feel like I’ve had some iffy stuffed squash dinners before, so I totally understand the debate. The smaller wedge is pretty key, I find. A better stuff to squash ratio :) xoxoReplyCancel

  • Allyson08/12/2015 - 12:56 pm

    I love the look of this. The roasted squash with broccoli rabe and marcona almonds- genius. It sounds so cozy and comforting.ReplyCancel

  • Christine08/12/2015 - 1:31 pm

    Your lovely kitchen inspires shelf envy every time! We picked out our tree this past weekend too. I love how all of a sudden, everything feels so festive! In the spirit of it, we’re having hot apple cider basically every night haha. I’m in the midst of planning our Christmas dinner menu and I think something like this would be a crowd-pleaser – so good! And those fancy almonds… I need to head over the river soon to pick up those and other TJ favourites :)ReplyCancel

    • Laura08/12/2015 - 5:36 pm

      I tidy the shelves for the photos, so I really, reeeaaallly appreciate this comment :) The festivity does come on in one big rush! It’s been hard for us to get over to the US lately (also the dollar has been craaaazy!), but when we do go, I buy TJ’s out of those almonds every time ;)
      -LReplyCancel

  • shira08/12/2015 - 1:55 pm

    I adore broccoli rabe and just cooked with it last night! This looks like the perfect cozy winter meal with all my favourite things. Love your pics as always Laura!ReplyCancel

  • Keara McGraw08/12/2015 - 8:12 pm

    Laura, I want to dive into these photos they’re so stunning! I’ve got a few of your recent bright meal recipes saved up as rewards for getting through a busy busy (and final!) fall semester. Similar to your last post, these busy days have been a littleee heavy on the pizza dosage. For some reason broccoli rabe seems to be a little trickier to come by at the grocery stores in Chicago but I’ll be keeping an eye out! My favorite thing to get festive/cozy this time of year is make as many different hot cocoa variations as I can. Pumped to see what you have in store!ReplyCancel

  • Jessie Snyder | Faring Well09/12/2015 - 10:31 am

    Yay for getting into the holiday spirit! And for two weeks in a row of posting, I feel so spoiled! This is crazy gorgeous, and totally speaking to everything I am craving this time of year (between the cookies and hot chocolate, naturally). So beautiful and full of color and flavor. Enjoy your wooly socks and decorations friend! <3ReplyCancel

  • Girllllll your photos!! OMG. You are such an amazing visual storyteller. And this recipe really hits the spot! Pinning. :)ReplyCancel

  • Bella B10/12/2015 - 9:35 pm

    This looks so yummy I pinned it and I’m going to make it asap!!

    http://xoxobella.comReplyCancel

  • Stacey10/12/2015 - 9:57 pm

    Marcona almonds and currants…yum! This stuffing sounds incredible!ReplyCancel

  • renee (will frolic for food)14/12/2015 - 5:32 pm

    squash master skills on point! can’t wait to try this recipe out! maximum respect for your brain sparkle regarding balancing all of the flavors and textures out. aka exactly why i wanna eat this tonight all cozied up in a blanket and socks.ReplyCancel

  • I love stiffing vegetables and this squash with the topping looks delicious! This is perfect for the winter!ReplyCancel

  • Brian @ A Thought For Food15/12/2015 - 8:44 pm

    It’s been so warm here lately, it’s been hard to get into the holiday spirit. Today, I wore a t-shirt. Seriously. It’s crazy.

    I’m all about the broccoli rabe. It’s something I grew up with and for some reason the bitterness doesn’t bother me. Love the idea of doing a stuffed squash with it. Looks wonderful!ReplyCancel

  • Mikkel Magnuson23/12/2015 - 11:46 am

    Hello ! I like the Combination of Marcona almonds and currants This stuffing sounds incredible! I love stiffing vegetables and Recipes this squash to looks delicious! I am eager to try this and definitely will share with you the experience with this delicious recipe.ReplyCancel

  • Nina Olsson04/01/2016 - 7:58 pm

    This looks gorgeous, what a beautiful dish to serve. I think I’m going to try this!ReplyCancel

  • Sam01/10/2016 - 12:28 pm

    This looks delicious! I have a delicata squash and some rabe from the farmer’s market and wanted to use them together — thanks for the inspiration. :)ReplyCancel

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