Now that Halloween is over, the countdown to Thanksgiving has officially begun. For a lot of us, (myself, Jeanine, included) turkey day is no longer about the turkey. But I realize that for many, the idea of hosting a vegetarian or two at your holiday table is still a scary and stressful thought. The first thing that might cross your mind is some weird fake turkey product, but the answer is as close as your nearest farmers market. Fall’s bounty of squashes, greens, and herbs are so gorgeous… go take a look and get a little creative.
My idea of a vegetarian thanksgiving looks something like this… seasonal acorn squash stuffed with a sauté of quinoa and kale… kicked up a notch with scallions, tangy feta, sweet currants, and toasty pumpkin seeds. A colorful & hearty meal that doesn’t sacrifice on flavor. With all of the great produce this time of year, who really needs turkey and mashed white potatoes? (ok, just kidding, don’t answer that).
Keep reading for more photos and the recipe.
QUINOA STUFFED ACORN SQUASH
serves 2, with extra filling (amount of filling will depend on the size of your squash)
- 1 small acorn squash, cut in half, scoop out the seeds and stringy center
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil (plus more for drizzling)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup chopped uncooked kale (or greens of your choice)
- splash of balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- drizzle of honey
- 1/4 cup chopped scallions
- 1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (plus extra, for garnish on top)
- 1/4 cup dried currants
- 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
- a few pinches of red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Drizzle acorn squash halves with olive oil, salt & pepper. Place cut side down and roast for approximately 25 min. Flip them over, cook cut side up for approximately 10-20 more minutes or until the flesh is tender (test it with a fork), and the outer edges are golden brown. I turned on my broiler during the last couple of minutes to get a nice golden edge.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil. Add the chopped onion, a bit of salt and pepper, and cook for a few minutes until it starts to become translucent. Add garlic, cumin & cinnamon and cook, stirring, until it’s fragrant but not burning. Mix in kale and cook for a few minutes until it wilts down. Turn off the heat, add a splash of balsamic vinegar, the cooked quinoa, and a good drizzle of honey and toss. Next, mix in scallions, cilantro, currants, feta and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Scoop filling into the cooked acorn squashes, and top with toasted pumpkin seeds, more feta (if you wish), and a drizzle of olive oil and another good drizzle of honey.
*Alternatively, you could fill the squashes with the stuffing halfway through their roasting time – top them with freshly grated parmesan or pecorino cheese and bake them until the cheese is bubbling.
* The filling can be made up to a day in advance. Store refrigerated in an airtight container. (Keep the pumpkin seeds separate so they stay crunchy.) When you’re ready to serve, reheat filling in a warm skillet with a little bit more olive oil. Top with the garnishes in step 3.
photos by Love & Lemons