Dinner in a “Pumpkin”: Fall Nutrition, Fun and Flavor

Serving your dinner inside a pumpkin or squash makes for a fun fall meal. I prefer the flavor of red kuri squash over pumpkin, but any squash can be used. I’ve also used this recipe with delicata and acorn squash.

To shorten the cooking time, I bake the squash while I’m making the filling. If you are using acorn squash, slice both ends off the squash so it will sit flat for serving. Watch the video below to see how I slice off the top, scoop out the seeds, and roast the squash upside down. I add some of the cooked squash to my filling, then stuff the squash and bake another 10-15 min. You can also cut your squash in half as seen in the photo below.

This recipe is easy to adapt to ingredients you have at home. You can substitute rice for quinoa or add ground beef. The fresh rosemary, thyme and sage take this dish to the next level. I prefer using lacinato kale, but spinach works well too. After the veggies and herbs have cooked, add the cooked squash, cooked quinoa, raw kale, nuts, cranberries and salt. Mix together and stuff the squash. I don’t cook the greens with the other veggies to maintain the higher nutritional benefits. The greens will warm up in the squash as it’s baked for 15 minutes before serving.

Depending on the size of squash you choose, you may need to adjust the cooking times. If you have some filling left over, add it to some greens for a quick tasty salad.

Dinner in a 'Pumpkin'

  • Servings: 4+
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Ingredients

6-8 pound pumpkin or 4 individual squash
1 cup tricolor quinoa
2 cups chicken or healing broth
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 onion, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 large carrots, diced
3 cups mushrooms, chopped. I like crimini and shitake.
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
½ cup water
2 cups lacinato kale, chopped
1 cup chopped nuts. I like almonds or cashews.
½ cup dried cranberries
salt to taste

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 400°.
2. Cut off the top of the pumpkin or squash and scoop out the seeds. If using an acorn squash slice off the bottom end of the squash too, so it will sit flat for serving. You can also cut each squash lengthwise in half and remove the seeds.
3. Place the squash on a cookie sheet face down and bake for 30 minutes or until soft. If you use smaller squash, it may be done in 15-20 minutes.
4. In a saucepan, add the quinoa and broth, bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, until liquid is absorbed – about 15 minutes.
5. Add the coconut oil to a large pan and sauté the onions, garlic, celery, carrots and mushrooms.
6. Add rosemary, thyme and sage plus ½ cup of water and simmer until soft.
7. Remove the squash from the oven when soft. Cool slightly. Scoop out some of the cooked squash and add it to the cooked vegetables. You don’t need to remove all of the squash. Leaving some squash on the sides will make it easier to re-stuff and prevent the squash skins from tearing.
8. Add the cooked quinoa, chopped raw kale, nuts, cranberries and salt to the squash and veggie mixture. Mix thoroughly.
9. Spoon the quinoa, squash & veggie mixture back into the squash and bake for another 15 minutes. You may have some filling left over depending on how much you stuffed in the squash. You can add any left over filling to greens for a quick salad.
10. Stuffed squash can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

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