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Quinoa is an ancient grain that you may not have experimented with just yet, but it is easy to cook, versatile, and wonderfully nutty. Ounce for ounce, it packs a bigger protein punch than most other whole grains. This quinoa stuffed acorn squash can be both a hearty main dish or a perfect side dish to accompany a larger spread. If blood oranges aren?t available in your area, use tangerines.

 

INGREDIENTS
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon olive oil 1 cup quinoa 4 scallions 2 celery stalks ? cup pumpkin seeds « cup dried cranberries, optional 4 dried apricots « teaspoon dried sage « blood orange 2 acorn squash Salt & pepper, to taste

 

DIRECTIONS
Position the rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350F/180C. Lightly oil a large, lipped baking sheet. With a large knife, safely cut the squash in half lengthwise. It may help to cut the stem off first. Place the squash with the cut side down on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the quinoa. Add quinoa to a pot with a lid. You will need twice as much water as quinoa. Add water to the pan, cover, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is soft. Check on the quinoa periodically, giving it a quick stir, to prevent any sticking or burning on the bottom. When done, remove from the heat, fluff with a fork, and enjoy! Looking for a faster option? Cook your quinoa in a rice cooker or just use pre-cooked/frozen quinoa. Produce Prep- Rinse all the produce. Chop the scallions and celery. Warm the oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add the scallions and celery; cook, stirring often, until softened but not browned, about 3 minutes. Add the dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, dried apricots, and sage. Cook, stirring constantly, until warmed through, about 2 minutes. Add the quinoa, pumpkin seeds, blood orange juice (about 2 tablespoons per acorn squash), salt, and pepper to taste. Continue cooking, stirring often, until hot, about 2 minutes. Cover and set aside off the heat to keep warm. Transfer the cooked squash from the baking sheet to a wire rack and cool for 5 minutes. Flip the squash over and transfer to a serving platter. Stuff the skillet mixture into the squash and serve.
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