Thursday, November 1, 2012

carnival squash ~ maple dijon quinoa

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its virtual vegan potluck time!
i have no idea what i was thinking - october is one of the craziest months of the year for me at that means my poor potluck post got pushed aside, then pushed aside again- we have all been there before, just when you think you have that extra second to breathe its gone quicker than it arrived. so that means today i am sharing with you one of my favorites from last year,
 a throw back of sorts!

so a big thank you to Annie, Somer and Jason for hosting such an amazing event!

it was bittersweet, last week was my last visit to picnic rock for the year - the harvest season has officially ended
however, to end the season on a good note i was able to procure a half bushel of beautiful winter squash
while ginny was loading me up with my last farm harvest of the year, i couldn't help but notice she was adding to the box what looked to be gourds - mmm hmmm i had no idea these beauties were edible
the mystery squash turned out to be a super star - the carnival squash outshines the acorn and even, dare i say, the butternut

absolutely wonderful - period.
carnival squash makse the perfect little stuffing squash - petite and round

carnival squash- you are my new *love*


the outside being just as beautiful as the inside


fresh cranberries add a pleasing tartness that pairs well with the maple syrup


walnuts add a bit of texture to the final dish
(mr walnut did not make it to the above photo shoot)

the quinoa is tossed with maple & dijon - a combination that works surprisingly well together

served on a bed of greens, carnival squash with maple dijon quinoa would make an amazing addition to your holiday table- your veg guests will not be disappointed

carnival squash ~ maple dijon quinoa
serves 2 ~ easily doubled

you will need:
  • 1 medium carnival squash (if you can't find carnival, acorn would work too) - cut in half & seeded
  • 1/3 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • pinch of kosher salt
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 leek cleaned well and trimmed - white and light green parts only, sliced into coins
  • 1 tbsp fresh sage
  • 1tsp fresh thyme
  • 2/3 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1tbsp water
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp pure NH maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp walnuts
  • preheat oven to 425* - cut the squash in half length wise and remove seeds
  • roast cut side down on a parchment lined pan for 45 minutes or until a knife can easily pierce through the thickest part of the squash
  • while the squash is roasting prepare quinoa - in a small sauce pan add the water, bring to a boil. add salt and quinoa simmer covered for about 25 minutes or until the bran of the quinoa begins to pull away (it is obvious when you see it, looks like little rings)
  • while quinoa is boiling - in a medium sauce pan over medium / high heat add olive oil & leeks - cook for about a minute
  • once leeks have softened , add sage & thyme and cranberries - cook for about 5 minutes and add the maple syrup & dijon. cook an additional minute - when the pan starts to look like it needs to be deglazed, add the water and turn down the heat to medium/low. at this point the cranberries should begin to "pop" - add walnuts
  • set the quinoa aside until the squash has finished roasting
  • remove squash when done, allow to cool until you are able to safely handle. Stuff with quinoa and topp with additional walnuts if desired - to warm, place in a 350* oven for 10-20 minutes until warmed through
*toasting the walnuts before hand would be fabulous if you have the time


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To start at the beginning of the Potluck, click here!



  1. What a festive sounding recipe! I haven't tried carnival squash yet, but I guess I should!

  2. It is SO worth the time to find these little squashes - they are unbelievably full of flavor!

  3. This looks absolutely fabulous - I have already emailed it to my vegetarian friend who was asking me what she could cook for Christmas Day! Thanks for posting.

  4. What a beautiful dish. This would definitely impress any dinner guest!

  5. Thanks for visiting Jennifer and Amanda! I hope your Friend enjoys the dish dish as much as I did!

  6. I'm loving every taste that I am getting as I imagine eating this. How creative. Have I told you that I love your blog yet??? A bit obsessive? Absolutely! Get used to it :)

  7. Cara I have I told you how amazing your blog is! Your comments always make my day :-)

  8. This looks unbelievably delicious! You are an incredible photographer as I don't often find myself drooling over squash and quinoa recipes. Thanks for linking this one up to my hop.

  9. THANK YOU Matt for your wonderful comments and for stopping by SMBP - I am so happy to have found Fave Diets!

  10. Wow, I am so excited to have discovered your blog! I was looking for a recipe with carnival squash and can't wait to make this! Love your pictures and recipes. :)

  11. Beautiful dish!! I love quinoa so I'm loving this! Beautiful and a must make! I'm loving being a part of VVP! :)

  12. wow this looks incredible! I love the photos and I love the colour combinations!

  13. This is such an incredible dish to add to the potluck my friend :D


  14. This sounds amazing Heather! I would gladly dig into this- so many seasonal flavours and I bet the textures work perfectly!

    Happy Potluck! :)

  15. Every one of your photos is infused with Autumnal splendor! I can't wait to taste how this turns out.

  16. Great photo and recipe. Looks delicious!
    Thank you for sharing.
    Buy Here Pay Here

  17. This sounds amazing! I love squash and I love quinoa...and of COURSE, I love maple syrup. :D And your pictures and set-up of them are amazing.

  18. That looks AMAZING! mmm literally I can't wait to try this

  19. Your photos are beautiful and this looks oh so delicious!

  20. Wow, I cannot stop looking at your pictures! Amazing post. Thanks so much. Happy VVP Day

  21. Beautiful! As always, I get kind of lost in the photos - which are mouthwatering. Thank you so very much for joining us for the Potluck!

  22. Just making my way through the VVP & wanted to say hey :-)

  23. i love all the squashes you are introducing me to! so pretty! love the cranberries in there.

  24. Oh my goodness... this looks amazing! And you're photos are beautiful.

  25. Breathtaking. The photos, the squash, the quinoa- breathtaking. You've outdone yourself!

  26. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  27. Looks lovely. Nice to meet you at the potluck!

  28. Great blog and your recipe looks amazing! :)

  29. I'm totally interested in what the anonymous commenter above said that needed to be removed! Haha! Oh Heather, you've outdone yourself, especially for a last minute busy crazy post. This is just simply beautiful! Thanks so much for being a part of this, it really means a lot to me! xx

  30. So many of my fav things in one recipe!!! I cannot wait to try this out :) Now, I'm on a mission to find carnival squash! *hehe*

  31. This looks great! Your photos are beautiful. So happy to have found your blog through the Virtual Vegan Potluck!

  32. Over the top gorgeous photos! This is what I want to make for Thanksgiving this year!

  33. What a very festive & grand very stylish vegan dinner!

    I love it: great for enetertaining & for Christmas! MMMMMM!

  34. What a pretty and festive dish! I may have to make this for Christmas :-)

  35. Maple dijon quinoa! I can't stop looking at these pictures, drooling!

  36. how did i miss this post??! i am DEFINITELY making this dish. it has caitlin written all over it ;)

  37. You should learn how to outline your posts before posting! navigate here for this!


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