Recently I went to lunch with a dear friend of mine to one of our favorite spots in our neighborhood, Marco & Pepe. This cozy, little restaurant has some fantastic seasonal fare, and I have never had one bad meal. On that particular day, I ordered a BLT sandwich, which actually ended up being more like a pulled pork sandwich. OH, I was so disappointed. NOT! My friend was feeling the need to eat some veggies, so she went for this butternut squash stuffed with quinoa, and all sorts of vegetables. I tried some of her meal, and as much as I love me some pork, I wished I had gotten her meal instead.
I decided to recreate this meal for El Señor Hubs and I, and I think it came pretty close. Naming this meal was a mouthful, not to mention the meal itself: it is SO MUCH FOOD! I could not eat the whole butternut squash, so I had lunch the following day. The quinoa stuffing I made, easily stuffs four butternut squash halves, or you can eat it as a salad on its own the next day.
Start by roasting a seedless butternut squash cut in half, in a 375F oven for 40-45 minutes until it is soft, but not falling apart. Set aside.
For the stuffing we will need: sundried tomatoes (this was an extra addition, I used 6 pieces), a package of brussels sprouts (6 oz), 1 can of chickpeas (14 oz), 1 cup of diced yellow onions, 1 cup of dry red quinoa, 1/4 bunch of cilantro, a couple of handfuls of green beans, the juice of 1 orange.
Cook 1 cup of dry quinoa according to the package instructions. I used red quinoa to give it a nice contrast with the rest of the vegetables and to mimic the meal at the restaurant. However, if red quinoa is not available, traditional quinoa works great. Set the cooked quinoa aside.
I like to blanche my green veggies first. Blanching keeps the vegetables crisp and tender, and makes the green color pop. It’s like fashion for food! How do you blanche the green beans and the brussels sprouts? Start with bringing some water to a boil; season this water with some salt. While this happens, fill a large bowl with some water and ice. Once the water boils, add the chopped green beans and cook for a few minutes to slightly tenderize them. Immediately transfer the green beans to the ice bath and let them rest there until you are ready to use them. Use the same process for the brussels sprouts.
In a large skillet, sautee the onions with the chopped cilantro until the onions are translucent.
Add the chickpeas and cook for a few minutes.
Add the green beans and the brussels sprouts and sautee to incorporate all the flavors.
Season with some salt,
And some ground black pepper.
Add the cooked quinoa,
The chopped sundried tomatoes,
And the juice of 1 orange. Mix it all together to incorporate all of the flavors.
Take the roasted butternut squashes and scoop off a bit of the squash to create a bigger cavity for the stuffing. I carved out a bigger hole by taking some off the upper part of the natural cavity.
Add enough quinoa mixture to fill the hole, plus a bit more to create a mound of quinoa! Drizzle with some olive oil and roast in a 375F temperature oven for another 10-15 minutes until heated through.
This meal has the potential to convert a carnivore like me. ¡Buen Provecho!
The quinoa stuffing is enough to stuff 4 butternut squash halves.
- 1 butternut squash cut in half
- Olive oil to drizzle over the butternut squash for roasting
- 1 cup dry red quinoa
- 1 6-oz pkg brussels sprouts cut in quarters
- 1 14-oz can chickpeas
- 1 cup diced yellow onions
- 1/4 bunch cilantro, chopped
- 1/4 lb green beans, cut in bite size pieces
- 6 pieces of sundried tomatoes, cut in thin slices
- The juice of 1 orange
- Olive oil to sautee vegetables
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Drizzle the butternut squash halves with olive oil and roast in a 375F oven for 40-45 minutes until tender but not overly soft. Set aside.
- Cook the red quinoa according to the package directions. Set aside.
- Sautee the onions and the cilantro, until the onions are translucent.
- Blanche the brussels sprouts and the green beans. Set aside.
- To the sauteed onions add the chickpeas, the brussels sprouts, the green beans, the cooked quinoa and the sundried tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Scoop off a bit of the butternut squash flesh to make the cavity bigger.
- Add the quinoa mixture to fill the cavity and create a mound.
- Drizzle with a bit more of olive oil and roast in the oven for another 10-15 minutes in a 375F oven until warmed through.
- Serve warm.