Tag Archives: quinoa

Quinoa Stuffed Butternut Squash

We’re back with one of our favourite autumn ingredients again – butternut squash. Bird stopped by the market again after ballet and couldn’t resist a huge squash (and this absolutely giant cabbage which we used in about 6 meals!).

What a beast!
What a beast!

We decided to stuff the squash with quinoa as we enjoyed the quinoa stuffed vegetables we made a month or two ago so much. We chose to spice up the stuffing with some chorizo and dried chilli flakes, adding courgette and spinach for some fresh greenery. We then topped them with a little smoked Applewood cheese which matched the smoky paprika flavour of the chorizo perfectly. This is one of those meals that can tick away nicely on a weekend afternoon and will make 4 portions – we had it for dinner and then lunch later in the week, but if you’re just cooking for yourself you would have a couple of dinners and lunches for about an hours work!

Ingredients (for 1 very large butternut squash):

  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 50-100g chorizo, finely diced
  • 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes (or to taste)
  • 1 small courgette, finely diced
  • 5-10 sun-dried tomatoes, finely diced
  • 50g quinoa
  • 200ml chicken stock or boiling water
  • Spinach (fresh or frozen, we used 3 blocks of frozen)
  • Cheese (any good melter will do)

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Preheat the oven to 180°C. Using a large, sharp knife slice the butternut squash lengthways and then scoop out the seeds. Stab the squash a few times in the middle with the knife, not going all the way through, to help it cook quicker and then brush with a little olive oil. Pop them in a large roasting dish and whack them in the oven to cook. They should take about 30-45 minutes to cook depending on size, they’ll be ready when the flesh is soft all the way through. Meanwhile heat 1tsp of olive oil in a small saucepan and add the chorizo.

Chorizo sizzle

Let it sizzle away until slightly crisp, then add the chilli flakes, the sun-dried tomatoes and the courgette. Stir these to coat in the oil, add the quinoa and do the same until it starts to pop. Pour in the chicken stock and add the spinach if you’re using frozen – if you’re using fresh then wait until just before it’s cooked so you don’t lose all of the goodness. This will need to cook for around 20 minutes, stirring occasionally to start with and more frequently towards the end as the liquid is absorbed so that it doesn’t stick. Have a little taste at this stage and season it with salt and pepper to your taste.

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Once the squash is cooked and the quinoa mixture is ready take the squash out of the oven and (carefully because it’s hot!) scoop out most of the flesh, just leaving around 1 cm around the edge to keep the shape. Mix this flesh with the quinoa mixture and stuff back into the squash. Top with a small amount of grated cheese and then put it back in the oven for 15-20 minutes to let it all cook together and for the cheese to melt.

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Serve with salad and enjoy! This makes a brilliant lunch when cold, if anything you can taste all of the flavours even more.

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Quinoa Stuffed Vegetables

Quinoa. Not particularly new but new to us. We bought a bag recently as we hadn’t cooked with it before and wanted to experiment so we thought we would share one of those experiments with you! This recipe is great because it’s really flexible, you can use whatever you have lying around and give it a completely different spin with different herbs and spices and it can easily be turned into a vegetarian or vegan meal.  Here, we’re going for an Italian style with copious parmesan and a delicious and very pine nutty pesto.

Ingredients (for 2 people):

  • 100g quinoa
  • 500ml of stock – chicken or vegetable
  • 1/2 a white onion – finely diced
  • 1 small courgette – finely diced
  • 1 rasher of smoked bacon – diced
  • Fresh thyme (but dried would be fine too)
  • A selection of stuffable vegetables – we used red and green peppers and Portobello mushrooms
  • Parmesan
  • 30g pine nuts
  • A large handful of fresh basil leaves – finely chopped
  • 1 lemon
  • Olive oil
  • Salad to serve

Preheat the oven to 170°C. Put the onion and courgette in a small saucepan with a lug of olive oil and leave over a low heat to soften, stirring occasionally. After around 5 minutes when they have begun to soften and become translucent add the diced bacon, and continue to gently cook for another 5-10 minutes. Rinse the quinoa and then add to the pan along with the stock, stir and put a lid on the pan. This needs to cook for about 20 minutes – remove the lid after 10 minutes so that all the stock is absorbed/evaporates and the grains of quinoa are slightly separated.

While the quinoa is cooking toast the pine nuts until lightly coloured and then crush half of them in a pestle and mortar to a rough powder. Add the basil to this, along with freshly grated parmesan (about 1 tbsp), the juice of half a lemon and a good lug of olive oil. Mix this together to form a thick pesto-like paste.

Not as attractive as the stuff from a jar but a damn sight tastier!
Not as attractive as the stuff from a jar but a damn sight tastier!

Once the quinoa is nearly cooked prepare your vegetables by removing the stalks from the mushrooms, cutting the peppers in half and pulling out the seeds. Place these on a baking tray. Mix the remaining pine nuts into the quinoa with the pesto mixture, reserving a few pine nuts to scatter on top.

We're suckers for heavy parmesan use.
We’re suckers for heavy parmesan use.

Stuff this mixture into the vegetables, top with the remaining pine nuts and a liberal dusting of grated parmesan. Put into the oven for about 30 minutes and serve with salad.

Finished Quinoa Veg
We can’t wait to try this recipe a few different ways, perhaps with a Greek twist (feta and olives) or a Moroccan one (harissa and lamb mince).