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stuffed acorn squash

This is one of our Thanksgiving standards at the Bowen house.  While my parents and I love this as side dish full of umami - Joy will often make this the star of her plate.

Prep Time:                15 minutes

Cook Time:               55 minutes 

Total Time:                1 hour 10 minutes

Quantity:                   4 servings

ingredients

2               Acorn Squashes, halved

2 Tbsp     Olive Oil, divided

1 pinch    Sea Salt

1 pinch    Black Pepper

1/2 cup    Dry Quinoa, rinsed

1 cup        Vegetable Broth

1 tsp         Butter

1               Shallot, diced

8 oz          Baby Bella Mushrooms, chopped

2 cloves   Garlic, minced

4 Tbsp     Grated Parmesan Cheese, divided

1/2 cup    Balsamic Vinegar

1 Tbsp     Pomegranate Juice

2 Tbsp     Pomegranate Seeds

4 leaves   Fresh Basil, chiffonade

directions

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cut top of acorn squash off then place on the cutting board and cut in have along the vertical

     axis (cutting the top off first makes the second one way easier, just be careful not to cut too much off).  Scoop out seeds and

     discard.  Rub all sides with one Tbsp of olive oil then salt and pepper flesh side.

2.  Place squash flesh side down on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes.   

3.  While squash is baking, heat remaining olive oil and butter in a saute pan over medium heat.  Once butter is melted, add

     shallot and cook for 2-3 minutes until they are tender.  Add mushrooms, garlic, a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper, and

     saute until mushrooms are tender.  Set aside.

4.  In a small sauce pan, add dry quinoa and vegetable broth and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer, cover

     and cook till broth is fully absorbed, usually about 10-15 minutes.  Once fully cooked, add quinoa and 3 Tbsp of

     Parmesan cheese to the mushroom mixture and mix thoroughly.  

5.  Remove baked squash halves from oven and fill the cavity with mushroom mixture.  Top with remaining cheese and place

     back in the oven for an additional 10 minutes.

6.  In a small sauce pan, place balsamic vinegar and pomegranate juice over high heat and bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer

     and cook down for 10 minutes and then remove from heat.  Sauce will tighten up as it is allowed to cool but is also good

     right off of the stove.

7.  Remove stuffed squash from oven, top with fresh pomegranate seeds, basil and balsamic reduction.

8.  ENJOY!!!.