With Thanksgiving coming up, there will be spreads full of rich and indulgent foods at parties and family gatherings for weeks on end. One of the tricks I’ve found that works for me is to bring something healthy to these gatherings that everyone can enjoy. It ensures I will have a healthy option and keeps me mindful of what’s on my plate. Thanksgiving is the perfect time for a show-stopping, elegant vegan entrée that happens to be healthy too. That’s one thing I love about vegan food – it tends to be low in fat and cholesterol, and naturally high in fiber and antioxidants. There are six weeks after Thanksgiving that will revolve around food, so I’m hoping to pace myself by eating more healthfully over the holidays. This Acorn Squash Stuffed With Quinoa Mushroom Pilaf is pretty enough to serve to company, and provides a nice healthy addition to any Thanksgiving spread. It is such a versatile recipe – you can add your favorite ingredients for stuffing, such as chestnuts or butternut squash. Even some lentils would be nice to add a bit of protein. Not only can this be enjoyed as a main course by your vegan friends, but non-vegans will want a spoonful of this too. They might even take a scoop of it instead of more stuffing, and feel better for it…more room for pumpkin pie.

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Roasted Acorn Squash Stuffed With Quinoa Mushroom Pilaf [Vegan]

Serves

6

Ingredients

For the Squash:

  • 3 medium acorn squashes, halved lengthwise, seeds removed
  • Olive oil, for brushing acorn squash

For the Quinoa Pilaf:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 onion, finely chopped, divided
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed well and drained
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 4 sage leaves, minced
  • 1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
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Preparation

To Make the Squash:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Brush tops and inside of squash cavity lightly with olive oil. Season lightly with salt.
  3. Roast in oven until fork tender, about 45 minutes to an hour. Roasting time will depend on the size of your squash.
  4. Remove from oven and set aside.

To Make the Quinoa Pilaf:

  1. While acorn squash is roasting, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a saucepan. Add half the onion and cook until softened, about 2-3 minutes. Add the quinoa, broth, water, and thyme, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and cook, covered, until liquid has been absorbed, about 15-20 minutes.
  2. In a skillet, heat remaining tablespoon of oil, and add rest of onion, mushrooms, celery, and sage. Saute until vegetables are soft and no more liquid from mushrooms remains.
  3. Toss mushroom mixture with cooked quinoa, along with pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Stuff acorn squash halves with quinoa pilaf.
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