Happy New Year! If you are like most people you want to start the New Year on a healthy note, so let me help you. This year I will be promoting Meatless Monday, it’s a campaign to go “one day a week without meat”. I’ll be sharing, on a monthly/weekly basis, the various reasons why going meatless one day a week is a good idea.
To start you off I’m sharing a favorite of mine, it has a hint of the Mediterranean flavors, including tomatoes, goat cheese, oregano, pine nuts, and more. You may have noticed I used goat cheese instead of feta cheese; the reason being feta is just too high in sodium, so I often change it out for the lower sodium goat cheese. Also, feel free to use any squash of choice, they all work. I like to use quinoa in meatless recipes because it is a complete protein, meaning it has all of the essential amino acids and is high in protein (1 cup of cooked quinoa has 8 grams of protein (that’s 16% of the Daily Value).
Quinoa Stuffed Squash
Serves: 2 as a main course
1 medium squash (acorn, butternut, delicata, kabocha, etc.)
1 cup quinoa
¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
1 Tbsp. grape seed oil
¼ cup shallots, diced
1 clove garlic, diced
1 medium tomato, diced
2 tsp. oregano
¼ cup flat leaf parsley (or use mint, cilantro, etc.)
1/3 cup goat cheese
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Wash the squash and poke a few holes in the skin with a fork. Place on a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 4 minutes. Turn and microwave for an additional 3-4 minutes, or until the fork easily pierces the skin. Remove, let cool.
Heat a small skillet over medium heat until hot, add the pine nuts and roast just until turning brown, shaking the pan often. Please note: keep a close eye on the pine nuts when cooking because they can burn easily. Remove from pan and set aside.
In the same skillet add the grape seed oil and heat over medium heat, add the shallots and cook 1 minute, add the garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds. Quickly add the tomatoes, and stir a few times, remove from heat. In a medium bowl add the cooked quinoa, tomato mixture, oregano, parsley, and goat cheese, mix to combine. Taste, adjust seasonings.
Cut the top off the cooked squash, using a spoon remove the seeds. Stuff the squash with the quinoa mixture. Place on an oven safe dish, cook 20 minutes, or until the squash is cooked through and the filling is hot.
Serve with warm bread and a salad for a complete meal.