These little bundles of goodness and joy signify everything I love about autum: bright characterful little gourds, warming wintry nuts and spices and the imminent childhood thrills of celebrating Halloween, bonfire night and eventually Christmas. Around this time of year I always feel a little shift in the kitchen: earthy veggies and warming grains creep in to match my thicker socks, favourite alpaca sweaters and growing array of hot steaming teas.
Quinoa, the complete plant protein, provides the bulk of goodness here, while the sweet squash, apricot and hint of cinnamon perfectly complement the sharper tang of tomatoes amd cumin.
These are so easy to make, a delight to derve with their witchy little hats, and even better as leftovers. Enjoy x
Serves 3 (or 2 with leftovers)
3 acorn squash, seeds scooped out
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1/2 cup almonds, roughly chopped
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
a small handful of dried unsulphured apricots, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 can chopped tomatoes (I use Biona)
salt and pepper to season
dill or parsley to garnish
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. In a baking tray, place your squash and their tops face down in a little olive oil and salt. Cover with foil and roast for 10 to 15 minutes, until slightly soft but still retaining their shape. Remove from the heat and leave aside to cool.
Boil the quinoa in a little salt or vegetable stock until soft then drain and set aside. Meanwhile, brown the onions and garlic in a little olive or coconut oil with the cumin and cinnamon until they’re soft and the spices are releasing their aromas.
Then add the tomatoes, apricots, salt and pepper and reduce on a medium heat to a thick-ish sauce. Lower the heat, add the quinoa and half of the almonds and simmer for five more minutes, stirring often. (Add any more salt, apricots or spices according to taste).
Spoon the mixture into the squash, sprinkle with the rest of the chopped almonds and roast again at 170 degrees for eight to ten minutes, until warmed through.
Sprinkle with herbs and serve immediately.