Grain Stuffed Butternut Squash

This stuffed squash makes an excellent main dish for vegans and vegetarians or a nutrient-dense veggie-forward side to accompany any holiday meal.

1 large butternut squash, halved and seeded

2 tablespoon olive oil, divided

2 tablespoons coconut sugar or organic brown sugar

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup tri-color or white or red quinoa

3 cups shiitake mushrooms, sliced

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons coconut aminos (or sub 1 tablespoon tamari)

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

2 cups loosely packed kale, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Cut squash is half (be careful!) and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Set aside to roast later or toss in the compost. Brush the cut side with 1 tablespoon oil. Sprinkle the oily cut side with coconut sugar and cinnamon. Then place cut side down on the baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and turn the squash over so the cut side is up. Continue baking for 30-45 minutes, or until a knife easily pierces the thickest part of the squash.

In the meantime, prepare thee filling. Add quinoa and 1.5 cups water to a medium pot with a lid. Heat over medium-high flame. Once bubbling, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 10 minutes. When the timer goes off, turn off heat BUT DO NOT remove the cover. Let sit to steam an additional 10 minutes.

Heat remaining tablespoon of oil in a large skillet. Add mushrooms and garlic and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add coconut aminos, walnuts, and cooked quinoa. Sauté, stirring often, until quinoa and walnuts have deepened in color. Add kale and cook until just wilted, about 2 minutes.

Spoon quinoa filling over butternut squash halves and return to the oven for 5 more minutes. Serve warm from the oven. Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days. Reheat in a 350 degree F oven.

GF V veg DF

Yield: 8 servings