Moroccan Quinoa Stuffed Squash

Shout out to: Tumeric, it is such a champ when it comes to flavour and colour.  I love using it in cooking because it is so vibrant, I must try to use it more often.

Living with James is fantastic, the only thing I miss is veggie meals. James doesn’t quite share my enthusiasm for vegetables and meat alternatives but puts up with it like a pro most of the time. I do however, in the name of compromise, find myself eating a lot more meat these days. The last two nights though we’ve eaten vegetarian and last night was a fab, healthy, vegetarian feast.

Moroccan quinoa squashI found this recipe in my go to ‘healthy-tasty-dinner’ cook book, Cooking with Quinoa – Rena Patten. I’ve changed some of the quantities slightly as I was cooking for less people than the recipe stated. I really recommend this book, there is a fantastic selection of recipes and they are all packed with flavour.

Serves 2.

Ingredients:

  • One large butternut squash
  • 1.5 tbsp of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • 20g of flaked almonds (the recipe calls for pine nuts, which I’d have preferred but didn’t have any at the time)
  • 1 leek, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp of grated ginger
  • 1 tsp of cumin
  • 1 tsp of paprika
  • 1.5 tsp of tumeric
  • 1 tsp of chilli flakes
  • 2 small or 1 large red pepper, chopped
  • 1 courgette, chopped
  • 1 cup of water
  • 65g of quinoa
  • A handful of chopped fresh coriander

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Chop the squash into two, lengthways and scoop out the seeds (you may wish to enlarge the dip in the squash to hold more quinoa). Lightly oil and season the flesh and place skin side down on a baking tray. Place in the oven  to cook for 25 minutes (if you have the luxury of time I’d put it in for much longer, maybe 90 mins but at a lower temperature).
  3. Dry roast the nuts in a dry non stick frying pan, such as a skillet, on a medium-high heat for a couple of minutes. Keep your eye on them, nuts go from pale to burnt very quickly.
  4. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and cook the leeks, garlic and ginger until soft and fragrant.
  5. Add the spices and let the flavours develop for a minute or two, then add the peppers, carrots, salt & pepper and the water. Stir and cover, allow to simmer for a few minutes.
  6. Add the quinoa, stir well and replace the lid. Leave to cook for 10-12 minutes.
  7. Remove from the heat and stir through the coriander and nuts.
  8. Spoon the quinoa into the dip in the squash and place them into the oven for 10-15 minutes until beautifully browned.
  9. Serve and enjoy!
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