Quinoa Stuffed Butternut Squash, a great healthy alternative after a season of festive meals and some heavy calories. And the best part, it is delicious with a nice variety of texture and diverse flavors! I did make an error it was not a butternut squash it was a delicata squash that I used but butternut squash would be good also. I had a momentary brain fart which happens when too much is going on and not enough rest. A good time to be more healthy, and take good care of oneself.
Song of the day: "Good Vibrations" by Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch.
Quinoa Stuffed Butternut Squash, is a dish great for lunch but can also be a great serving for a weeknight supper, hosting a plethora of incredibly delicious flavors with a few surprises in the mix!
Quinoa to me is a super food, I am not just saying that because I enjoy it so much. It is a fact coming from nutritionists and doctors. Usually, after December and the beginning of the New Year people flock to the gym, New Year's resolutions resound firmly and confidently in the air and people look for a healthier way to exist in a world of fast food and pre-made heavily preserved and processed foods with lack of outdoor engagement due to adverse weather conditions. I am not one for resolutions. I try to find my balance every day and hope that my body communicates to me when things are out of whack. I am not in the best shape of my life but I am also not in the worst shape. I do enjoy food, that is a given, I am a food blogger, but it is only that I enjoy preparing, creating, and delivering amazing meals that I would hope is very good for you. I believe that moderation is the key and sometimes we can shock the system with some junk food, but to keep it in check as the body will habitualize eating paterns and run in a different way that may not be beneficial to us. What I mean about that is, if you are always eating junk food, fast food, your body will crave it all the time and because it is not really packed with substantial nutrients it does not last long in your body hence the over bearing cravings all the time. When you take a healthier approach to living and eat very good quality meals with great ingredients, the cravings for the junk subside and you don't have those out of swing food demands as the meal has done its job to fill you with a smaller portion. My only thing is it has to taste good and look good. I am just that type of person, I surround myself with beauty not only in the physicaal sense but also in the spiritual sense making sure me and my soul are traveling on the same path, the path to happiness!
I am not any stranger to those drastic measures to lose weight. Growing up I spent many an hour in weight watcher meetings and other fad diet crazes. I watched as my mom would only eat chicken breast cooked in a non-stick pan with no oil and just some garlic powder and pepper. A little side of salad and that was it. Did this diet work, yes for a time until our friend the mighty boredom came along and heavy binge sessions pounced on the will, and back those pounds came on with a vengeance. I don't believe in that. I believe that being healthy is a state of balance between the mind, body, soul, and emotion. That being said to me, healthy, and cooking great delicious tasting meals is a way of life, that needs balance, and that balance is different for everyone. This depends on the type of work one does, how much exercise one is doing, and what type of stresses one is enduring, and a very important though, how well am I sleeping. Just as of late, I have spent many hours in hospitals between work and trying to keep life in balance. The unfortunate part is that sleep was deprived, meal times pretty scattered if not eaten at all, and the body craving energy food such as anything sugary and lots of coffee. The end result, not a very happy Loreto! So what are we going to do about it, we are not going to "try" to change. We are going to implement some strategies to help the change occur, and one to start with is to make more of this type of food hosting an incredible grain such as quinoa, and this recipe for Quinoa Stuffed Butternut Squash!
On the road to health with this Quinoa Stuffed Butternut Squash!
Did you know that quinoa was a grain used by the ancient Incas, yes it is true according to historians. Quinoa is derived from a seed of the quinoa plant, go figure, lol. This plant is connected to the spinach family, go figure again, lol. Today I am going to give you 10 good reasons why you may want to start eating quinoa.
- It contains more nutrients and antioxidants than any other grain hosting things such as B6, thiamin, potassium, niacin, riboflavin, minerals such as zinc, copper, magnesium folate. It also has antioxidants such as phytonutrients, quercetin, kaempferol great for those anti-inflammatory issues.
- Very high in complete protein having a rare amino acid called lysine.
- Promotes healthy blood sugar levels.
- Sustains healthy heart and blood vessel function thanks to magnesium.
- Reduces migraines due to the fact that it has riboflavin and B6 aiding in blood vessel expansion in the brain.
- Quinoa is gluten-free as it is considered a seed.
- Low in fat, containing essential fatty acids and omega 3 great for promoting fat burning and keeping you satisfied and full longer.
- Healthy digestion, and aiding in keeping things moving nicely along, if you know what I mean: "fibrous", lol.
- Lessens the risk of heart disease and stroke, using its fiber to comb the walls of your arteries removing plaque from the walls.
- Energizing superfood. Did you know the Incan warriors ate quinoa giving them stamina, energy, strength and better muscle recovery, something I could use right now!
So now, knowing what we do about quinoa, let's get to our recipe for Quinoa Stuffed Butternut Squash. Let's get healthy!
For my stuffing, I sauteed some garlic, onion, peppers, zucchini, mushrooms and cherry tomatoes, always a great pairing with this super grain or seed whichever way you see it. The quinoa was an organic pre-washed brand found in the rice section of your organic market but also can be found at your local grocer, I imagine. If the packaging does not say pre-washed, then you will have to wash the quinoa. The best method is put it in a fine strainer and run cold water through it. To cook it, very simple. The ratio is one part quinoa to 2 parts water, a pinch of salt and that's it. Bring the water to a boil, toss in the grain, let it simmer for a time, then cover and let sit for a bit. The final step using a fork to fluff it up. I always love this part. I am amazed at how light and fluffy it looks. I took it a step further and tossed it in the pan with all those delectable veggies and season with the usual S&P and I even splashed in some white truffle oil which adds such a nice depth of flavor to the mix.
After cutting the delicata squash and scooping and cleaning the insides with a spoon creating a lovely edible bowl, I drizzle olive oil, and sprinkle some salt and pepper on it. Now it's ready for the quinoa stuffing. Boy, this mix really smells so good, let me have a taste, yum, lol. The only thing left to do is sprinkle with some grated Parmigiano and we are ready for the oven.
Man, can you ever smell that delicata squash roasting and the highlights of the quinoa coming through, it is making me so hungry! I love the way the top gets all crunchy and golden, and you can see those morsels of veggie jewels ready for the taking. The delicata squash has some nice caramelized edges, and check it with my fork it slides in so easily telling me it is done and now we can EAT!
I love the look of each slice and cradled in its bowl that lovely oh so delicate and light quinoa. The nutty sweet richness of the delicata squash lends itself nicely as a support to the stuffing. It is starchy, yet its velvety texture is a nice difference to that fibrous and al dente bit of the quinoa. I love how every once in a while a sauteed vegetable comes in, whether the sweetness of the peppers combined with that beautiful touch of soft onion, or the plump bits of mushroom, or juicy zucchini comes into to play. The cherry tomatoes add a nice acidity and richness. Then, out of nowhere, a surprise sultry element of white truffle just dances on our tongue with those delightful melted crispy Parmigiano bits bringing nothing but joy to our palate. There is something to say of that touch of white wine in the cooking stages, it always adds such a nice flavor to any sauteed vegetable. Some may wonder about the skin of the delicata squash and surprisingly it is tender and has a nice char about it. I believe that the skin holds a lot of nutrients and why waste that! The aroma lends itself nicely to lure you into the feast of health and poise. I can honestly say, an all-round spectacular recipe.
So let's recap: this dish is healthy, packed with nutrients and antioxidants with a list of benefits too far and plentiful to mention again. The dish is beautiful with its color and presentation. Lastly, it is just plain and simple dam delicious if I say so myself, lol. If you are feeling that pull to get your life and health back in balance try this recipe for Quinoa Stuffed Butternut Squash. It may just start you on the right track!
Song of the day: "Good Vibrations" by Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch.Print
Quinoa Stuffed Butternut Squash, is a dish great for lunch but can also be a great serving for weeknight supper, hosting a plethora of incredible delicious flavors with a few surprises in the mix!
- 1 medium Delicata squash
- ¾ cup organic quinoa
- 1 ½ cups water
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 tablespoons evo oil
- splash of white truffle oil
- 1 small zucchini, diced
- ½ small red pepper diced
- ½ small orange pepper, diced
- ¼ cup yellow onion, chopped
- 10 cherry tomatoes, quartered
- 1 cup mixed mushrooms, cut up (enoki, button top, portobellini)
- 1 clove garlic
- splash white wine
- fine sea salt
- freshly cracked black pepper
- ½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- Wash the Delicata squash and cut in half lengthwise, scoop out seed and pulp and set aside.
- In a medium pot bring water to a boil, and season with salt. Pour in quinoa and bring to a simmer for 15 minutes.
- Take off heat and cover, let stand for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork, set aside.
- In a large saute pan drizzle evo oil and bring to a medium to high heat.
- Toss in onions and garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add in red and orange peppers, zucchini and continue sauteing for 3-4 minutes stirring frequently.
- Add in cut up mushroom, and drizzle in white truffle oil for about 2-3 minutes. Pour in some white wine and add in tomatoes and cook until liquid dissipated on low heat, about 2 minutes.
- Toss in cooked quinoa and stir well incorporating all vegetables throughout, set aside.
- Rub some evo oil on the inside of the Delicata squash. Spoon quinoa and vegetable mixture into the squash halves. When halves are filled, sprinkle some black truffle cheese on top and place the Delicata squash on a parchment lined baking pan and place in a preheated 385° F and bake for 20 minutes or until a knife can go easily through the flesh of the squash.
- Take out of the oven and let cool for a bit.
Ready to serve.
- If you have the organic not prewashed quinoa, pour the grain into a fine strainer and run some cold water through it this will get the excess saponins on the outside of the grains. Or you can use what I bought pre-rinsed boxed organic quinoa.
- You can tell when the grain is cooked it gets translucent and the white germ forms a visible spiral on the exterior of the quinoa grain.
- You can use any kind of mushroom, choose your favorite.
- In the total cooking time I have accounted for the sauteing of the vegetables to be done while quinoa is cooking.
- Category: Vegetarian
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Mediterranean