Quinoa Stuffed Pumpkin

In health on 11/08/2012 at 9:11 pm
Fall weather means gourds, pumpkins, and squashes! Nutrition Specialist Jen Burns shares with us this recipe, which celebrates the delicious pumpkin, harbinger of Autumn’s arrival. You can easily sub pumpkin for another squash like kabocha, but if you’ve got it on hand, go for the pumpkin.
Loaded with beta-carotene (a type of provitamin A carotenoid), pumpkin is known to be beneficial for allergies, skin problems, vision disorders, blood sugar imbalances, joint swelling, elevated cholesterol, and infections. Quinoa is grain-like in texture and a great protein-rich alternative to rice or pasta or bread when you’re looking to make a meal. It is also a good source of dietary fiber, phosphorous, magnesium, iron, and calcium.

Yields 4 servings
Adapted recipe from integrative nutrition

4 small pumpkins (or delicata, kabocha, acorn squash)
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp. unrefined sea salt
1 shallot, minced
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 orange
1 apple, diced
1/4 cup raisins, cranberries or any other dried fruit
1/4 cup chopped toasted pecans or pine nuts
2 tbsp. finely minced parsley
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
pinch ground nutmeg
1 tbsp. maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 375F. Wash the pumpkins and cut 1/2 inch off of the top of each. Scoop out the seeds and discard, along with the tops. Place the pumpkins, cut side down, on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes, or until the flesh is soft. Remove from the oven and allow to cool until you can handle the pumpkins safely.

While the pumpkins are baking, cook the quinoa as per package directions. When cooked, fluff with a fork, cover and set aside. Zest the orange and reserve the zest. Juice the orange and place the juice in a small bowl along with the raisins or other dried fruit. Set aside. While the pumpkins and quinoa are cooking, put a small saute pan over medium low heat. Add the olive oil and shallots and allow the pan to come up to temperature, stirring frequently. Saute for a few minutes, until the shallots are just translucent. Remove from heat.

When the quinoa is done cooking, add in the sautéed shallots, orange zest, orange juice, diced apple, dried fruit, nuts, parsley, cinnamon, nutmeg and maple syrup to the pot. Stir well to combine. Taste to check for seasoning and add additional spices, salt or pepper according to your taste. Turn the pumpkins over and fill each with a generous amount of the quinoa mixture. Place back on the baking sheet, cut side up. When all four pumpkins have been filled, return to the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the pumpkins are hot and fragrant. Remove from the oven and serve.

Jennifer Burns
Nutrition Specialist
available for nutritional counseling and diet overhauls
nutritionsf AT

PH: Pendragon, creative commons license

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