Quinoa Feta stuffed Acorn Squash with Caramelized Onion and Spicy Toasted Hazelnuts

This Quinoa Feta stuffed Acorn Squash is a great dish for a vegetarian fall inspired dinner.  It is slightly sweet from the squash and the caramelized onion, savory from the quinoa, salty from the feta and spicy crunchy from the hazelnuts.  There is so much great texture and flavors going on in this dish.

Quinoa Feta stuffed Acorn Squash

 As a vegetarian, I am always trying to come up with dishes for Thanksgiving and this is a great one.  It is filling enough to be an entree or slice in half or even in thirds for a side dish.

Quinoa Feta stuffed Acorn Squash

 This goes great with a Verdejo, white Rioja, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris or Riesling.  And for reds I like a light one like a Pinot Noir, Beaujolais or a Chianti.

Quinoa Feta stuffed Acorn Squash

Quinoa Feta stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe:

2 – 6 Servings

Acorn Squash
  • 1 Acorn Squash
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 1 Clove Garlic
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • Dash Black Pepper
Quinoa
  • 1/2 Cup Quinoa
  • 1 Cup Filtered Water
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
Caramelized Onion
  • 1/2 Small White Onion – thinly sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoons Filtered Water
  • 1 Tablespoons Dry White Wine
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt or to taste
Toasted Hazelnuts
  • 1/2 Cup Toasted Hazelnuts
  • 2 Teaspoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Salt or to taste
The Rest
  • 3 Leaves of Kale (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 Cup Feta or to taste
Instructions:
Squash

Mix lemon juice, olive oil, garlic and salt in a small bowl and set aside.  Cut squash in half and scoop out the seeds.  Brush on the lemon oil and pour the rest evenly between the two halves.    Place on a baking sheet, cut-side up and bake at 400 degrees on middle rack for 30 minutes then spoon lemon oil all over the squash and bake for 10 more minutes or until tender enough to fork.

 Quinoa

While squash is baking, add quinoa, water, garlic and salt to a small sauce pan.  Bring to a boil, cover the pot, turn to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. (We recommend using a timer) Let sit with the lid on for 5 more minutes.

Onions

Slice onion in half, cut the ends off and remove skin.

Slice into thin half circle slices.

In a small sauté pan, add onion and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes, stir after about 8 minutes.  Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon water, deglaze the golden crust (fond) by scraping it with a wooden spoon and cook for 5 more minutes, add 1 tablespoon wine and deglaze.  Cook for 5 more minutes.  (A total of 20 minutes.)

Stir in salt

*When you’re caramelizing only one onion, it cooks faster than if you are caramelizing 4 – 6 onions.

Hazelnuts

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Spread the hazelnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Bake for 10 – 14 minutes.  In about 5 – 7 minutes stir the nuts so they toast evenly while also checking on the progress.

When hazelnuts are cool put in the center of a towel and pull corners of the towel together and roll hazelnuts around with some force till skins come loose.  A small amount of skin will remain on the nuts and that is fine.

Sometimes I separate the ones that the skins didn’t come off and put them back in the oven for a few more minutes.

In a small skillet, heat up olive oil, cayenne, smoked paprika and salt on medium low heat and when hot, add the hazelnuts, stir well to evenly coat and cook for about 5 – 7 minutes.  Let cool.

Assemble

Thinly chop kale into thin strips or 1/2 inch squares.

Crumble feta and mix into the quinoa, then mix in the onions and kale and cover quinoa until squash is done.

Fill the acorn squash with the quinoa mixture and top with the spiced hazelnuts.

You can heat it up more in the oven if you want.

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