This warm, enticing blend of spices and mint will take you away, and this recipe may just become your new household favourite.
2 acorn squash (1-1/4 to 1-1/2 lb. each)
2 tbsp salted butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of ground cardamom
1 -1/3 cups water
2/3 cup red quinoa
3 tbsp toasted salted cashew pieces
2 tbsp diced dried apricots
4 tsp chopped fresh mint*
* No mint? For this recipe, replace it with 2 tbsp thinly sliced green onions. The onion gives a different flavour to the dish and is a great option.
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Step 2: Cut the acorn squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and strings. Place squash cut side down in a shallow baking dish and fill with 1/4" of water. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the flesh is easily pierced with a fork.
Step 3: Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan on medium heat, whisking constantly. Watch closely as brown flecks begin to appear. As soon as the butter turns a caramel brown colour and has a nutty fragrance (this should take between 4-6 minutes; do not allow the butter to turn black), remove from the heat and transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in the olive oil, cinnamon and cardamom.
Step 4: Add the water and quinoa to the same saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 17 minutes. Remove from the heat and fluff with a fork.
Step 5: Toss 2 cups of the quinoa with the seasoned brown butter, cashews, apricots and mint. Cover the quinoa mixture to keep it warm if the squash needs more time to finish baking.
Step 6: Equally divide the quinoa filling among the four squash halves. Serve immediately. Refrigerate leftovers for up to 2 days.
See more recipes from Patricia Green and Carolyn Hemming.
Reprinted with permission from Patricia Green and Carolyn Hemming's Quinoa Revolution (2012 Penguin Canada).