When it comes to food inspiration, I feel myself becoming more overwhelmed as the days pass. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but for someone who has a hard time focusing on one thing at a time, it can be quite dangerous. Between restaurant menus, food magazines, blogs, twitter, facebook, instagram, etc. etc.... an average of 20 recipe ideas enter and leave my brain before I have time to make it into the kitchen to cook. Like I said - overwhelming.
I don't write many posts here about things I make in the kitchen that do not turn out well, but believe me, they exist. Whether it's a recipe I didn't read the whole way through and missed a few key ingedients (this happens more often than I care to admit), a combination that worked perfectly in my mind but not so much on a plate, things that are not pretty (at all) or a night when I am too tired/unmotivated to take photos. Rather than waste your precious time with lackluster attempts in the kitchen, I try my best to share with you the things I am excited about, and I hope that shows through.
I say all of that to say, this recipe is a winner. I came up with the idea during my Saturday morning yoga class (where a lot of my better ideas arise), and went to the farmers' market later that day in hopes of finding everything I needed. I had never cooked acorn squash before, and was excited to try something new. Add to that the fact that 2 of my girlfriends were coming over for dinner, which always makes me try a little harder to impress :)
I'm so happy with how this turned out, and will happily make this again soon. It reheats really well, and tahini sauce brings the perfect flavor punch.
Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash with Tahini-Lemon Sauce
for the squash and stuffing:
- 4 acorn squashes
- 3 tablespoons grapeseed oil, divided
- 1 cup quinoa (I used 1/2 cup red and 1/2 cup white, but use whatever you have on hand)
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1 bunch scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
- 1 package mushrooms, stems removed, chopped (I used baby bella)
- 2 handfuls flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup dry toasted pine nuts
- salt and pepper to taste
for the sauce:
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 1/2 lemons, juiced
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- salt and pepper to taste
To prepare the squash:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut the tops off of each squash, and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Drizzle the squash with 2 tablespoons of the grapeseed oil, place the tops back on each one, and cover with aluminum foil. Bake for 20 minutes, remove the foil and the squash tops, and continue baking for another 25 minutes (45 minutes total). Let these cool a bit before scooping out the seeds from each squash.
To prepare the filling:
In a small saucepan, bring the quinoa and 1 cup of water to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. In the meantime, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of grapeseed oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the scallions and cook for 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Turn off the heat, add the juice of 1/2 lemon, the toasted pine nuts, and 1 handful of parsley. When the quinoa is finished cooking, add it to the veggie mixture along with the remaining parsley and the other 1/2 lemon, juiced.
To prepare the sauce:
Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl, serve alongside the quinoa-stuffed acorn squash.
Fill each squash with 1/4 of the mixture, and pop back into the oven for 10 minutes to warm through. Top with 1/4 of the sauce and an extra squeeze of lemon. Enjoy!