Quinoa Pilaf with Dried Cranberries & Roasted Squash
Serves: 8 servings
Squash ingredients
  • 1 large or 2 small acorn squash (2 lb total)
  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • ⅛ tsp pepper
Pilaf ingredients
  • 2 tsp canola oil
  • 1½ cups chopped onion (1 medium-large)
  • 1 cup diced celery (3 stalks)
  • ¾ cup quinoa, preferably a mix of white and red or tri-color, rinsed thoroughly
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried
  • 1½ cups low-sodium vegetable broth (check ingredients if allergy, gluten or vegan concerns)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup unsalted, hulled (green) pumpkin seeds (pepitas) or chopped hazelnuts or almonds (if no nut allergy)
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh parsley
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • Pepper to taste
  1. To roast squash, preheat oven to 350ºF. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray (or brush lightly with canola oil, if there’s a soy allergy concern; soy lecithin is commonly added to cooking spray). Cut squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds. Brush insides of squash with oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place squash, cut side down, on prepared baking sheet. Bake until squash flesh is tender when pierced with a knife, 40 to 50 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile for pilaf, heat oil in Dutch oven or 4-quart pan over medium heat on stovetop. Add onion and celery; cook, stirring frequently, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add quinoa and thyme; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add broth and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, 10 minutes.
  3. While quinoa simmers, toast pumpkin seeds (or nuts) in dry, medium-size skillet over medium-low heat, stirring almost constantly, until fragrant and starting to crackle, about 5 minutes.
  4. After quinoa has simmered 10 minutes, stir in dried cranberries. Cook, covered, until quinoa is tender, most of the liquid has been absorbed, and quinoa grains appear to have popped open, about 5 minutes longer. Let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Discard bay leaf. Add parsley, salt and pepper; fluff and mix with a fork. (Note: You can keep the pilaf warm for up to 1 hour. Cover the pan or heat-proof serving bowl and set it in a skillet of barely-simmering water.)
  5. To serve: If using small squash, cut each half into 2 wedges (leave the skin on, which looks pretty and helps hold the wedges intact). If using 1 large squash, cut each half into 4 wedges. Serve the squash wedges with the pilaf, topped with toasted pumpkin seeds (or nuts)
To make it in advance: You can prepare the squash and quinoa pilaf (through Step 4) up to 3 days ahead and store in separate covered containers in the refrigerator. To reheat squash in the microwave: Place the squash wedges (or halves, for a main dish) in a microwave-safe dish (use a round dish if your microwave has a turntable), add 2 Tbsp water, cover with a lid or wax paper and microwave on high until heated through, about 5 minutes. To reheat pilaf in the microwave, place in a microwave-safe dish, add ¼ cup water, cover with a lid or wax paper and microwave on high until heated through, 8 to 10 minutes.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: ½ cup pilaf and 1 (2-oz) squash wedge each. Calories: 200 Fat: 7 g Saturated fat: 1 g Carbohydrates: 31 g Sugar: 9 g Sodium: 150 mg Fiber: 4 g Protein: 5 g