Stuffed squash with broccoli rabe and quinoa is a festive and flavourful vegan and gluten-free main course or side dish. Simple to prepare!
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? Obviously I’m turning to food and first up is this stuffed squash with broccoli rabe and quinoa.
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. More broccoli rabe goodness in this pasta and this pizza.
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 & Quinoa
- 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.
- 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.
- I used the fancy, truffled marcona almonds from Trader Joe’s for the garnish here and it was spectacular.