Monday, November 4, 2013

acorn squash quinoa stuffing

acorn squash quinoa stuffing
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday for many reasons - family, loads of food with lots of leftovers, no pressure to find the perfect gift; these are just a few examples of why I love the last Thursday of November. It  is also the one Holiday that Justin and I celebrate at home - our door is always open for those that would like to experience a full on Vegan Thanksgiving Dinner or a Vegan dessert spread with locally made sparkling hard cider and home brewed beer.
Each year it is inevitable that I will prepare way too much food and imbibe too many glasses of champagne - but that's what makes Thanksgiving so great, just throw on a pair of stretchy pants and grab another mini pie!

acorn squash quinoa stuffing
About 1-2 months before Thanksgiving I begin planning the menu to be printed for the big day. My favorite part of the dinner menu; the Stuffing. Seriously, hand me a big bowl of stuffing and I would be in heaven, for Justin it is all about the mashed potatoes! I also always plan for a rice dish along with a myriad of roasted root vegetables, breads and a soup to start with. I created this dish in mind for my peeps that cannot enjoy a traditional bread stuffing. Believe me when I tell you, this is just as good as any "traditional" bread stuffing - it even crisps up on the top and edges just like bread stuffing!

acorn squash quinoa stuffing acorn squash quinoa stuffing
acorn squash quinoa stuffing
Growing up (and to this day) my family celebrates Thanksgiving at my Gram's house. When it comes to any Holiday dinner, my family is more on the traditional side of things menu wise- you would be hard pressed to find anything like this served at the holiday table unless I brought it along. When I started celebrating Thanksgiving at home (sorry Gram, I know you miss us!), it gave me the ability to keep those traditional dishes so familiar to me but with my own vegan spin. Come to think of it, I never even had sweet mashed potatoes or green bean casserole until I was in my 20's- those were never part of our holiday dinners, now Thanksgiving or Christmas isn't complete without one or the other.

acorn squash quinoa stuffing acorn squash quinoa stuffing
acorn squash quinoa stuffing
What I love most about this stuffing is it's super filling and easy to make. The beans are hidden in a way that adds bulk to the stuffing without being noticeable. The maple syrup adds sweetness which plays well with the heat of the dried pepper and natural sweetness of the acorn squash , if you would like to cut the sweetness  simply start with a couple tablespoons of maple syrup.

Are you a fan of Thanksgiving - what are your family traditions?


acorn squash quinoa stuffing acorn squash quinoa stuffing
acorn squash quinoa stuffing
Acorn Squash & Quinoa Stuffing 
makes 6 - 8 servings

you will need:
 1/2 cup tri color quinoa, rinsed well + 1 cup water
1 medium acorn squash, peeled with seeds discarded
1 large bunch Kale, leaves removed from stems
{ I used Ragged Jack Kale aka Red Russian Kale}
1 dried red chili pepper or 1/2 tsp red chili flakes
1 cup adzuki beans cooked
1/4 cup pepitas
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 tsp salt

Parsley & pepitas for garnishing

assembly:
 pre heat oven to 400*

using a food processor
Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a medium sauce pan, add rinsed quinoa, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow quinoa to sit for an additional 5 minutes.

With your food processor fitted with the grater plate, shred the acorn squash.  
Shred kale through the processor.

Transfer contents of the food processor to a large bowl. Return half of the mixture to the processor along with the whole dried red chili, adzuki beans & pepitas, pulse a few times until mixture comes together, but not overly processed. Return contents to the large bowl.

Mix in cooked quinoa, maple syrup and salt.

Transfer stuffing to a small baking dish, bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and garnish with parsley and additional pepitas.

by hand
 Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a medium sauce pan, add rinsed quinoa, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow quinoa to sit for an additional 5 minutes.

Shred acorn squash by hand into a large bowl. 
Roughly shop kale and add to the bowl. 

With a spice grinder or by hand crush the chili pepper, roughly chop the pepitas. Add the adzuki beans, chili pepper, pepitas, salt, maple syrup and cooked quinoa to the mixing bowl. Stir until well combined.

Transfer stuffing to a small baking dish, bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven and garnish with parsley and additional pepitas.

Enjoy!

Stuffing can be made 2 days in advance, cover and reheat in a 300* oven for 20 minutes or until warmed through.
Yum

24 comments:

  1. this looks perfect. definitely making this for thanksgiving!

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  2. You are a girl after my own heart! Stuffed squash is such a staple for me this time of year. I made a similar recipe on Saturday, but am kicking myself for not adding beans!! Can't wait to try this!

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    1. Us too, I could live on this along with soup this time of year!

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  3. Looks so darn tasty! I'm a fan of more traditional stuffing too but I love that this is bread-free as it can sometimes be a bit too heavy like that.

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    1. I absolutely love that bread stuffing too but this is an awesome alternative you're so right

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  4. OMG love this stuffing! I don't like to eat a lot of bread so this is great!

    I am with Justin- it's allllll about the potatoes :)

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    1. This is so perfect for people that I need a gluten-free diet or just prefer less bread

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  5. Your pictures are so stunning! These look so yummy and reminds me that I haven't had acorn squash yet this season.

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  6. Quinoa looks fantastic in this delicious dish :D

    Cheers
    CCU

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  7. This looks so yummy! I have been looking for different acorn squash recipes for Thanksgiving & this looks perfect.

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  8. I didn't learn to like stuffing in my late teens or early twenties, and even now I'm still not crazy about the mushy bread...so I would probably like this bread-less quinoa stuffing better! Sounds very flavourful and perfect for Thanksgiving - too bad we already celebrated last month!

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    1. Then this is for you personally I love Bread stuffing!

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  9. Stuffing is my favorite thing on thanksgiving, too! And T-Hubs always goes for the mashed potatoes and gravy. In fact, come to think of it, I'm pretty sure most of the men I know go straight for the mashed potatoes. :P

    I love Thanksgiving for all the same reasons you mentioned -- I especially love not having to get gifts for anyone (no offense to Christmas/Hanukkah, but it's just a load off my mind and my budget). T-Hubs and I are the dedicated pie makers for both our families, so that is the only thing we're expected to bring, which makes things even easier for us. If we ever wind up doing Thanksgiving for just the two of us, though, it will definitely be 90% stuffing and mashed potatoes... 10% pie... haha!

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  10. This would be perfect at Thanksgiving! Thanks for sharing!

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  11. Your Thanksgiving sounds so lovely and welcoming. I'm impressed that you start meal planning that far in advance. I'm sure it really pays off on the day of the big event.

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    1. Thanks Cadry With the amount of food I make preplanning essential!

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