Don’t Rock the [Squash] Boat, Baby!

I know it probably doesn’t seem like it from a majority of the recipes that I’ve posted thus far, but I’m actually a healthy eater…although, I did use about half of a three pound tub of Earth Balance, consume a few pumpkin maple cupcakes, nosh on a few biscuits with more Earth Balance, and try a few types of fruit-based booze my friend made, just this past weekend…I think it’s a time I prove that I actually do love making and eating healthy food.  I feel like I’ve been trying to come up with something for weeks to make for Thanksgiving that won’t have me faceplant into my dinner halfway through the meal because I’m eating such heavy food.  I have mentioned that I LOVE that it’s squash season now, right?  I know that squash was featured in my last recipe, but in this recipe you can actually see an intact squash, my favorite squash, the delicata, in all its stately emerald-striped golden glory.  It’s time to set sail in a delicata squash boat to taste the motley mingling of worldly flavors from Peru to France to the Mediterranean to your local farmer’s market into…uncharded territory, perhaps?  Har har.  Protein-, calcium-, and iron-rich quinoa (accompanied by chili powder, peppers, sweet potatoes, and a little heat from some cayenne peppers) fills a buttery-tasting baked delicata squash boat, and is topped with mix of rainbow chard and kalamata olives seasoned with fresh lemon juice, shallots, salt, pepper, with a garnish of maple-honey glazed pistachios.  I don’t want to toot my own horn anything, but toot toot…Dang, this is delicious!  It’s worth the time it takes to prepare it!

Quinoa & Chard-Stuffed Squash Boats:

Ingredients:

Quinoa filling:

– 2 large delicata squash, seeds removed, baked (400°F for 30 min or until tender)

–  2 cups cooked quinoa

– 3/4 cup cubed (1/2 in) sweet potatoes

– 1/2 c. sweet red, yellow, or orange bell pepper

– 1/4 cup chopped yellow onion

– 1/2 small fresh cayenne pepper, finely chopped (optional)

–  1 Tbsp chili powder

– 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

–  1 tsp smoked salt

Chard topping:

– 2 large leaves of rainbow chard

– 1/4 cup chopped shallots

– 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

–  2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

– Zest of 1 lemon

– 1/2 tsp salt

– 5 kalamata olives, pitted & finely chopped

Pistachio garnish:

-1/4 shelled pistachios, chopped

– 1 Tbsp Earth Balance, coconut, or olive oil

– 1/2 tsp honey

– 1 tsp Grade B maple syrup

– pinch or two of salt

Directions:

1)  In a large oiled skillet, add sweet potato cubes.

2)  When sweet potatoes are half cooked, add yellow onion, cayenne pepper, and bell pepper.

3)  Add cinnamon, chili powder, and smoked salt.  Stir occasionally until sweet potato mixture is fully cooked.

4)  Add quinoa and stir until well combined and flavors have melded.  Fill squash boats with equal amounts of filling.

Chard topping:

1)  Add chopped chard stems and chopped shallots to oiled skillet over low-medium heat.

2)  When shallots and chard stems are cooked, add olives, black pepper, lemon juice, salt, and chopped chard leaves.

3)  Remove from heat and and top, in equal amounts, the quinoa filled squash boats.

Pistachio garnish:

1)  In a skillet over low-med heat, add Earth Balance or oil.

2)  When Earth Balance had melted or oil sizzles, add pistachios.

3)  When pistachios have cooked for a minute or two, add honey, maple, and pinch of salt, and stir constantly for a minute at most.  Immediately top squash boats with this garnish.

4)  Reheat squash boats in oven, if necessary.

5)  EAT.

6)  ENJOY.

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