[Recipe] Canadian Quinoa Stuffed Squash with Sage Brown Butter

Photo Credit: Photography By Leah

Photo Credit: Photography By Leah

A Lighter Take on Fall Comfort Food

 

With Fall, we enter comfort food season. And what is more comfortable on Thanksgiving than a good old-fashioned sage bread stuffing? Some of my most cherished food memories involve sitting down at the holiday table and diving into my mother’s homemade bread stuffing. Gravy, turkey, cranberry sauce, everything else was a means to that comfortable, aromatic goodness.

 

However, that same comforting goodness also tends to make you feel heavy and tired. It also doesn’t make for much of a meal, should you have any vegetarians at the table. Think of the recipe below as a solution to both problems. With the profound aromas of leek, brown butter, and sage, this dish has many of the warm, comforting qualities of an old-fashioned bread stuffing without the heaviness.

 

And for the vegetarians at the table, this dish is packed with protein. Canadian Golden Quinoa by Grain boasts 6 grams of protein per serving and cooked chickpeas offer 15 grams of protein per cup. So this dish allows vegetarians to savour the autumnal comfort of Thanksgiving dinner while also enjoying balanced nutrition.

 

Quinoa Stuffed Squash with Sage Brown Butter

Ingredients

1 Kabocha squash, about 5 pounds

1 tsp butter

Generous pinch Vancouver Island Sea Salt

1/3 cup onion, diced

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tsp butter

1 bay leaf

1 ½ cups Canadian Golden Quinoa by Grain

1 ½ cups vegetable stock

Pinch Vancouver Island Sea Salt

1/3 cup butter

1 ½ tbl fresh sage, sliced fine

¾ cup leeks, diced fine

1/3 cup carrots, diced

1 bay leaf

1/3 cup raw cashews

1/3 cup raw pistachios, shelled

1/3 cup dried cranberries

1 cup cooked chickpeas

1 tbl red wine vinegar

Vancouver Island Sea Salt to taste

Fresh cracked pepper to taste

Directions

1)       Preheat your oven to 350F. As it heats, take the squash and slice off the top, about an inch below the stem, so that it will make a nice bowl. Scoop it out, place a teaspoon of butter inside and season with a generous pinch of Vancouver Island sea salt. Place the squash on a parchment lined baking sheet and place into the oven for about 10 minutes, or until the butter has melted. Then take the squash out of the oven, spread the melted butter around the interior with a pastry brush, flip the squash upside down, and place back into the oven until roasted, about 45 minutes.

 

2)       As the squash cooks, place 2 teaspoons of butter into a medium-sized pot, along with the diced onion, minced garlic, bay leaf, and a nice pinch of Vancouver Island sea salt. Sweat over medium-low heat until the onion is transparent.

 

3)       Add the vegetable stock, bring to a simmer, and then add the golden quinoa. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the quinoa has absorbed all of the moisture. Fluff the cooked quinoa with a fork, replace the lid, and set it aside.

 

4)       Heat a large pan and add the remaining 1/3 cup of butter. Cook the butter over medium heat until it has finished sizzling and the solids begin to brown. When your brown butter is ready, the milk solids will have taken on a medium brown colour and the butter will give off a sweet, nutty aroma. Remove the pan form the heat, so as not to let it burn, and add the sage.

 

Photo Credit: Photography By Leah

Photo Credit: Photography By Leah

 

5)       Once the sage has finished sizzling, about 5 or 10 seconds, add the leeks, carrots, bay leaf, and a nice pinch of Vancouver Island sea salt. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and sweat until the leeks are transparent and the carrots soften, about 5 minutes.

 

Photo Credit: Photography By Leah

Photo Credit: Photography By Leah

 

6)       Add the cashews, pistachios, and cranberries, stir to combine, cover, and cook for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the vinegar and cook until the liquid has evaporated.

 

Photo Credit: Photography By Leah

Photo Credit: Photography By Leah

 

7)       Add the chickpeas and quinoa, stir to combine evenly, and heat the entire mixture through. Season to taste. Flip your cooked squash upright by grabbing the parchment paper underneath it to lift it gently from the pan.

 

8)       Fill your squash with the finished quinoa mixture, garnish as desired, and serve.

 

Photo Credit: Photography By Leah

Photo Credit: Photography By Leah

 

This recipe serves 6-8 as a side dish or 3-4 as a main course.

 

Prep time: 15 minutes

 

Total cooking time: 90 minutes

 

This blog post and recipe were created by writer and chef, Charles Macurdy (below)

Photo Credit: Photography By Leah

Photo Credit: Photography By Leah