Spicy roasted acorn squash served over a bed of garlic infused quinoa is an easy side dish or a main attraction in a 30 minute meal!
First, I want to apologize for the delay in this post. It has been in the queue for about two weeks but administrative issues with the blog were demanding my attention. Hopefully, all of those issues are satisfied and I can get back to the fun part, posting yummy food!
I feel bad for winter squash. They have been type cast and primarily relegated to the sweet category. Most of the recipes for butternut squash, acorn squash, delicata, pumpkin etc. are either for sweet dishes — I’m thinking breads, pies, muffins and puddings — or, if they are included in a savory meal, they are drenched in brown sugar or maple syrup. Not that there’s anything wrong with that!! I just think it’s time they realize their full potential and get an invite to the spicy parties too!
Acorn squash has been extended the first invitation. It’s mild flavor embraces some nuttiness that is laced with a subtle sweetness. Brush this squash with walnut oil, sprinkle it with red pepper chili flakes, salt and pepper then roast it to a vague crispy brown — you will see it comes to life! The creamy, nutty flavor complemented by the salty heat is superb. Leaving the skin on adds a nice dimension and crunchy mouthfeel. Also, acorn squash won’t leave you hangin’ at the nutrition table. It is packed with Vitamins A, C, B-6, thiamine, folate and niacin. It contains a nice dose of plant protein and fiber but no simple sugars. Introduce it to our superfood quinoa, infuse it with fresh garlic (learn more about quinoa in my post Simplifying Quinoa ), and together they become a power couple!
So much deliciousness, but still another perk: This dish is so easy to prepare. It’s great anytime. You know those days when dinnertime comes around and you are exhausted, but not too tired to desire a nice warm gourmet meal that will delight your taste buds, fill your belly and provide ample nutrition for the next day — it’s perfect for those! A few simple extra steps will create this entire experience in about 30 minutes.
Creating this plate is very simple. Once your squash and quinoa are underway (see process photos for making puffed quinoa in my The Many Faces of Cooking Quinoa post), wash an appropriate amount of your favorite green. I chose arugula as the pepperiness of this green pairs nicely with the squash and quinoa. I dressed the greens with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Finishing the salad with sprouted pumpkin seeds provides another great source of plant protein, magnesium, and healthy fats. Lastly, slice and peel the avocado. Fanning it out on the plate makes a lovely presentation, especially when gently sprinkled with a little black pepper and one of your favorite finishing salts. I am quite partial to the Wild Garlic finishing sea salt by Falksalt. But most importantly, by adding the avocado you are adding a nutrient powerhouse. It brings yet more plant protein, Vitamins A, B-6 and C, calcium, magnesium, potassium, folic acid and a hefty dose of dietary fiber. Once the quinoa is finished, fluff it up in the pan and spoon a serving onto the plate. When the squash is finished roasting, cut it into desired size and place it on top of the quinoa. Voila!! A beautiful meal that is waiting to pleasure your palate, satisfy your hunger and meet your body’s nutritional needs.
Don’t forget to save the seeds for roasting! A one ounce serving packs 5 grams of protein!! There are so many sweet and savory roasting options for these little guys — but that’s another post. I roasted mine with cocoa powder. Next up — Chipotle!! Check back soon for that post. Enjoy!!
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