This is a great dish to make if you’re having company over or if you feel you need to impress anyone – it’s so simple to make but looks like you slaved away in the kitchen all day! I’ve made it as the main event for my vegetarian friends and as a side for holiday meals (just quarter the squash instead of half). It has never disappointed!
2 acorn squashes, halved
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
½ cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed (you can use leftover quinoa here also)
1 cup vegetable broth
1 tsp butter
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
8 ounces baby bella mushrooms, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp dried thyme
1 cup unsweetened almond milk (regular milk works here also)
4 tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese, divided
1 red pepper, finely diced
½ cup balsamic vinegar
½ tsp sea salt (or more to taste, just be mindful of vegetable broth and parmesan)
Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut acorn squash in half, lengthwise; scoop out seeds and discard. Rub 2 tsp olive oil over flesh. Place squash, flesh-down, on a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake for 45 minutes or until tender (depending on size, they can take up to 1-1hr 15min)
While the squash bakes, prepare stuffing. Heat butter and remaining tsp of olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until tender. Add mushrooms, garlic, salt and thyme and cook until mushrooms are tender and have given off most of their moisture. Add milk, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes, until milk starts to reduce.
In a small saucepan, combine quinoa and vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until all broth is absorbed, about 10-15 minutes. Mix quinoa and half the parmesan cheese into mushroom mixture. Turn off heat and mix in half the diced red pepper.
Fill the center of each squash half with quinoa mushroom mixture. Top each half with remaining parmesan cheese. Place back in the oven until cheese is melted.
In a small saucepan, simmer balsamic vinegar and reduce until it has thickened to a syrup.
Drizzle balsamic reduction over squash and top with remaining red pepper.