Cranberry & Chickpea Stuffed Delicata Squash

Not sure about you, but we can’t be the only people on Thanksgiving that wish there was just one healthy or crunchy item on the table. Don’t get us wrong, we are HERE for the mashed potatoes and stuffing, but just one little thing to help balance out the decadence goes a long way. We even think it makes the rich dishes taste better. Over the years we have tried to sneak kale salad onto our Thanksgiving buffet. If you know us personally, you know that kale and our grandmother do not mix. It would be an understatement to say that our attempts have not gone over well. In preparation for Thanksgiving this year, we decided to put a few recipes to the test that might sneak past her inspection. This stuffed squash recipe stood out for its festive colors, variety of textures, and perfect mix of sweet and savory flavors. You can add it as a side dish to your Thanksgiving table or serve it all winter long like we plan to do. 

Cranberry & Chickpea Stuffed Delicata Squash 
Makes: 8 larger servings (see note below)
Total Time: 45 minutes 

Ingredients For Squash:

  • 4 medium delicata squash 
  • 2 cups kale, stems removed, finely chopped 
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa 
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed 
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries 
  • 2/3 cup pecans, chopped 

Ingredients for Dressing 

  • 2/3 cup oil (we prefer avocado or vegetable- something neutral) 
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar 
  • 1 shallot, minced 
  • 2 tbs+ honey
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • small pinch of red chili flakes
  • salt and pepper, to taste 

Directions:  

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 
  2. Cut the ends off the delicata squash and cut them in half, lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon and discard. Place on a baking sheet, drizzle with 2 tbs olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 25 minutes. 
  3. Make the dressing. Whisk all of the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If you want the dressing to be less sweet, start with the 2 tbs of honey. Add more, up to 4 tbs, if desired. Set aside. 
  4. Make the filling. Put the kale in a large bowl and drizzle with a tablespoon or so of olive oil. You don’t need much. Massage the kale to break it down- it will immediately change texture from something that is very stiff to something more digestible. Add the remaining filling ingredients- quinoa, chickpeas, cranberries, and pecans- and toss well with the dressing. 
  5. Remove the squash from the oven. Carefully stuff each one with the filling, trying your best to divide the filling evenly among the squash. Overflowing is okay here- it will settle a bit during the remainder of the cooking. Put the squash back in the oven and cook for 10 minutes. Serve warm to room temperature. 

*This recipe makes 8 large side dish servings and could easily be served as a vegetarian entree. Adjust as necessary for the meal and number of people you plan to serve it for. If you are serving this at Thanksgiving dinner, you can cut the squash into segments after it has finished baking so that people can just have a taste. 

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