We encourage eating locally and foods that are in season. Our farmers’ markets, roadside stands and local grocers are bursting at the seams with a variety of squash. While I love the flavour of butternut squash and feature it regularly in soups, the often neglected acorn or pepper squash is equally delicious and nutrient-dense, not to mention really pretty!

I love the idea of edible bowls, and squash makes the perfect bowl for just about anything. For this recipe, I chose quinoa because it’s a great plant-based protein source in addition to being mineral rich. Technically, quinoa is a seed, not a grain, so it is also gluten-free. Happily, it is being grown in Canada, which helps reduce the carbon footprint.

My preference for preparing quinoa is to lightly pan-roast it after rinsing. This step enhances the flavour and results in a nice (non-mushy) texture.

The sauce I recommend for this is one of our favourites from the Detoxinista website. It’s just so delicious and complements the flavours well. I used peanut butter; however, she uses a nut-free option in the original recipe.

Acorn squash stuffed with quinoa and topped with avocado and peanut sauce

Roasted Acorn Squash stuffed with Quinoa

2 Acorn squash – cut in half, seeds removed
2 teaspoons oil of choice – I used avocado oil
salt and pepper

1 1/4 cups of quinoa – rinsed well
1 onion – chopped
1 tablespoon oil of choice – I used avocado oil
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cups finely chopped kale (stems removed)
1 carrot – shredded
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds – lightly toasted
1 avocado – sliced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly brush squash with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on parchment (or Silpat) lined baking sheet. Roast for 40 minutes or until squash softens and is lightly browned.

Meanwhile, heat saucepan at medium heat, add oil and saute onion. Once onion has softened, add rinsed quinoa and stir to lightly roast and remove excess water. Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to simmer, cover and let sit for 15 – 20 minutes or until liquid has been absorbed. Remove from heat. Add kale and shredded carrot and lightly toss until kale has wilted and carrot has warmed through.

Assembly

Spoon quinoa mixture into squash bowls. Top with slices of avocado and toasted pumpkin seeds. Drizzle with Creamy Thai Peanut Sauce (*see below*). Enjoy!

Creamy Thai Peanut Sauce *courtesy of Detoxinista*

1/4 cup peanut butter or nut or seed butter of choice
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon Tamari sauce (or soy sauce)
3 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
2 cloves minced garlic
1 inch ginger, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 cup water *to thin sauce…use as needed

Combine above ingredients, except water in high speed blender. Add water as needed to reach desired consistency.