The weather in Southern California has been a bit odd lately, yes I know that it’s always a little warmer here in the winter, but when it’s in the 80’s for almost two weeks straight there is a problem (yes, I know that there can be worse problems!). Starting yesterday, the weather has started to cool down a bit, thank goodness. What this means for you is that there while be some more comforting, satisfying recipes in your future; but they’ll still be in the realm of healthy for those of you who are interested in that sort of thing (me!), and possibly those of you who are working on an online cooking degree.
No matter what the weather is like my love for squash never subsides, seriously, I’m an addict! I really love butternut squash, with its creamier texture and great flavor, but I find that I don’t cook with it as often as other squash varieties. Because I had some small butternuts on hand, from my CSA, I figured that I was definitely going to be baking and stuffing them. Looking into my refrigerator I saw that I had some of the perfect ingredients for what I was picturing in my mind, some Tofurky Kielbasa, Daiya Cheddar Shreds, purple carrots, celery, quinoa in the pantry; this was going to be one colorful and tasty dish!
If you’ve never tried Tofurky Kielbasa, I highly recommend it if you’re looking for sausage substitute; I’ll try my hand at making my own in the future, but these are definitely convenient as they are tasty. Other than that, most of the ingredients are easily attainable and rich in nutrients.
- 2 Small Butternut Squashes, Sliced in half length-wish and Seeds Scooped out
- 1 Cup Dry Quinoa
- 1 3/4 Cup No Salt Added Vegetable Broth
- 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
- 2 Cups Leeks, Diced
- 1 Cup Carrots, 1/4″ slices
- 1 Cup Celery, 1/4″ slices
- 2 Tofurky Kielbasa, sliced
- One 14 oz. Can Organic Diced Tomatoes
- 3 Cups Spinach, Chopped (if not baby spinach)
- 1/2 tsp. Dried Basil
- 1/2 tsp. Dried Oregano
- 1/2 tsp. Dried Sage
- 1/3-1/2 tsp. Fennel Seeds
- Salt and Pepper to Taste
- 1/4 Cup Daiya Cheddar Shreds
- Preheat oven to 375°F, take the 4 butternut squash halves and place them face down in one large casserole dish or 2 smaller ones. Fill the dish with water 1/4″ high and once the oven is at temperature, bake the squash for 35-40 minutes. Prep your vegetables while the squash is baking.
- Start cooking the quinoa with the vegetable broth in a small pan over medium heat, leave covered until the water is soaked up (approximately 20 minutes) then fluff with a fork.
- Warm the olive oil a large pan over medium heat, once hot introduce the leeks, carrots and celery to the pan and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the kielbasa, tomatoes, spinach and herbs to the mix and sauté until the spinach is wilted.
- When the butternut squash is done baking leave the oven on, but take the squash out and scoop out the insides. Leave a 1/4″ layer of squash in the rind so that it holds its shape, and add the squash chunks to the sauté mixture.
- Once the sauté is evenly combined distribute it evenly between the four butternut squash rinds and place them back into the casserole dishes.
- Lower the oven temperature to 350°F, and sprinkle a little Daiya on top of each squash. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the shreds are melted a bit.
There are so many wonderful textures in this meal, crunchy celery, smooth butternut squash, and juicy tomato chunks accompanied by many other ingredients that will delight your palate. I’d have to say that this recipe was a total success, and something that would be great for a family dinner, or hosting a couple of friends.