Roasted Acorn Squash with Quinoa Stuffing

I went back and forth about what to write here today. Do I talk about all the stuff that's going on in our lives... the work, the house projects, our upcoming travels? Do I talk about the presidential election? Or the weather, which has been pretty fall-like recently (though today it's in the 70s and feels like summer... what's the deal with that)? I'm a little too tired to talk about any of these things, so I'm going to stick with this recipe (I'm sure you'll hear more from me about all of those other topics later on). This is one of those recipes that just popped up out of nowhere. I usually neglect winter squash when we get it from our food-coop, but for some reason I decided to put in the oven immediately. I made a mad rush to see what we had to pair with it and, thankfully, found all the ingredients for a quick filling. This is one of those dishes that makes the house smell wonderful, with those sweet, nutty aromas from the baking squash and the scent of sautéed onion and garlic and rosemary simmering on the stove. I'd forgotten just how delicious roasted squash can be. It's a recipe I'll be returning to again quite a few times this winter. 

Roasted Acorn Squash with Quinoa Stuffing

2 servings

For the roasted acorn squash
1 acorn squash, tops trimmed and the squash cut in half lengthwise, seeds removed
Olive oil

For the Quinoa Stuffing
1/2 cup red quinoa
1 cup veggie broth
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 lb white button mushrooms, stems removed and sliced thinly
3 celery stalks, sliced
1 small white onion, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
2 teaspoons parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon lemon
Olive oil
Black pepper


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Rub squash with olive oil and season generously with salt. Place, cut side down, on the pan bake for 30 minutes, until fork tender and golden brown. 

While the squash is roasting, prepare the quinoa. Add the veggie broth to a pot and bring to a boil.  Stir in the quinoa, cover and reduce heat to medium low.  Simmer until all the veggie broth has been absorbed, approximately 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet set over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion and garlic and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms, chopped celery, and chopped rosemary and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.

Add quinoa to the mixing bowl with the cooked vegetables. Stir to combine. Add dried cranberries, parsley, and lemon zest. Stir to combine. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste.  

Spoon filling into the cut side of the acorn squash.


Seared Scallops with Quinoa and Apple Salad + Butternut Squash Puree

I never plan very far ahead when it comes to holiday meals, so it's kind of funny that I'm here writing about Valentine's Day. It's not even something Eric and I celebrate. Not in the way that some couples do. There are no chocolates or flowers, gifts or even cards. If we're feeling romantic, we might give the other one a tap on the shoulder and say "Hey, I love you." "Love you too." Done.

We do take the opportunity to cook up something a bit fancier than we'd normally prepare on a normal night and this often means scallops or lobster. There's usually Champagne, because we'll use any excuse to pick up a bottle. And then we sit back and binge on whatever TV show we're obsessed with. That's married life, right there. That's how we roll.

I'm excited to make these seared scallops again in a few weeks, mainly because Eric hasn't tried them yet. Each time I've made them, I've managed to cook and eat the whole plate before he gets home. Sorry, babe. You'll get a taste of these on the 14th. Promise. 


Seared Scallops with Quinoa and Apple Salad + Butternut Squash Puree

Yield Serves 4

For the butternut squash puree
1 small butternut squash (about 2 lbs)
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
Garam masala

For the quinoa salad
1 cup quinoa
2 apples
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 ounce lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil

For the seared scallops
1 pound sea scallops
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
Black pepper


1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil. Trim both ends of the butternut squash and cut it in half lengthwise. Using a spoon, scrape out the seeds. Drizzle olive oil over the cut side of both halves and sprinkle a teaspoon of salt over them. Place the halves face down (that's the cut side) on the baking sheet and cook in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until a sharp knife easily pierces the flesh.

2. While the butternut squash is cooking, prepare the quinoa. Place the quinoa and water in a pot and bring to a boil.  Once it reaches a boil, reduce heat to medium low.  Simmer until all the water has been absorbed, approximately 15 minutes.  Remove from heat, open the lid, and let cool.

3. Transfer the flesh of the butternut squash to a blender (or you can put it in a bowl and use an immersion blender), along with 1/2 teaspoon garam masala, 1 tablespoon butter, and 1 teaspoon salt. Blend until smooth.

4. Transfer the quinoa into a bowl, along with chopped apple, parsley. In a separate bowl, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour over quinoa salad and toss to combine.

5. Dry the sea scallops with paper towels.  Season with salt and pepper.

6. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and butter on high heat.  Once it begins to smoke, add the scallops and cook for approximately 3 minutes, or until it has browned on one side.  Using tongs, flip the scallops and cook for an additional 1 to 2 minutes, depending on the size of the scallops.

7. To plate, start by spooning 3 tablespoons of butternut squash puree onto the plate (or shallow bowl). Top with a couple spoonfuls of quinoa salad, followed by the seared scallops. Spoon some of the remaining melted butter from the pan on top of the scallops.