I’m fairly certain that there’s nothing to say about Thanksgiving food that hasn’t already been said a million times out there in the food blogosphere as we gear up for the most food-centric week of the year. So I will just say a big ole, from-the-bottom-of-my-sugar-cured-heart thank you to all you loyal readers, fans, guest bloggers, and general patrons of this blog. Writing it with Joanna has been an absolute highlight of the often tumultuous and never boring last 6 months of my life.

I’m nothing short of thankful for the wonderfully midwestern meat-and-potatoes holiday feast I’ll have with the Stanley clan on Thursday. I wouldn’t want it any other way, though I do spend a lot of time thinking about what I would serve at my own perfect meatless Turkey Day meal. At the moment this stuffed squash is a frontrunner. It packs way more flavor per square inch than should be allowed for a humble acorn squash. If it doesn’t make it into your Thanksgiving spread, it would be a perfect light-but-delicious meal for a post-gluttony weekend.

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Quinoa and Kale

1 small acorn squash, halved and seeds scooped out

1 T olive oil

1/2 c finely chopped red onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 t ground cumin

1/2 t cinnamon

1 c chopped raw kale

a few glugs of balsamic vinegar

a hearty drizzle of honey

1 c cooked quinoa (I used real Peruvian quinoa- thanks Noura and Joanna!)

1/3 c crumbled feta or goat cheese

1/3 c dried cranberries (roughly chopped) or currants

Red pepper flakes, to taste (I used about 1/2 t, decrease if you prefer less of a kick)

1/2 c cilantro, chopped

1/3 c toasted pumpkin seeds

Preheat oven to 425. Drizzle squash halves with olive oil, lightly season with salt and pepper, and place on a piece of foil on a baking sheet, cut side down. Roast for 20 minutes, flip them over, and roast another 10-20 minutes until fork-tender and starting to brown.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet and cook the onion until soft. Season with salt and pepper. Add garlic, cumin, and cinnamon and cook for just a minute, until fragrant. Mix in kale and cooks just until it wilts down- you want it to keep its crunch. Deglaze with some balsamic vinegar and then remove from heat. Mix in all other ingredients, reserving a little cilantro and pumpkin seeds for topping. Scoop the filling into the squash and top with a drizzle of honey or olive oil.

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