Oct 26, 2010

Stuffed Kabocha squash with quinoa and chickpeas

I’m having a field day with fall food lately, as if you couldn’t tell. It’s absolutely my favorite food season. All the deep oranges and greens – the food looks almost too gorgeous to eat!

This stuffed squash is substantial yet not heavy, thanks to the light and crunchy quinoa. This tiny grain provides complete protein – serve some sautéed kale or Swiss chard on the side, and you’ve got the perfect meal for a cool autumn evening.

If you have fig balsamic vinegar, try drizzling a very small amount on top – it’s delicious. Or consider adding pomegranate seeds at the end of the cooking time, in place of the currants. I haven’t tried that, but if you do, please report back!

Stuffed Kabocha Squash with Quinoa and Chickpeas

4 kabocha squash, halved horizontally*, seeded
2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cups thinly sliced leeks, white and light green parts
2 cups red quinoa, rinsed thoroughly if not using the no-rinse variety
½ cup dry sherry
3 1/2 cups vegetable stock (use a gluten-free stock if you are gluten-sensitive)
½ teaspoon salt (reduce amount if your stock is very salty)
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh chopped sage
3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus additional for garnish
1 ½ cups chickpeas (canned are fine here)
2 tablespoons currants

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Rub the cut edges of the squash with a teaspoon of olive oil and place on a baking sheet (or two, as necessary), cut side down. Cover tightly with foil and roast until very tender, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. Add the leeks and sauté until golden, about 10 minutes. Add the quinoa and cook, stirring, for two or three minutes. Add the sherry and cook for another minute. Add all remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, until water is absorbed and quinoa is just tender. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Turn the squash halves over and fill the cavities generously with the quinoa mixture. Return to the oven, cover lightly with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Garnish with additional chopped parsley and serve.

* Helpful hint: slice a bit off the rounded bottom of each squash half to create a small flat surface (about 1 inch in diameter) and it will sit in the pan without wobbling.

Serves 8.


  • sweetie

    hiya kathy, been meaning to thank you for more than 1 successful dinner at my house thanks for your blog.

    i wonder if there you can clarify this recipe a bit please. i don’t see a specific instruction to add in the currants, parsley and chickpeas except in the step that says “Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil.” are you really supposed to boil the quinoa w/those three (chickpeas, parsley, currants) and then bake them? seems like an awful like of cooking time and i imagine the parsley and currants are more of a garnish.

    thanks for the details- i need everything spelled out ; p

  • whatwouldcathyeat

    Sorry – yes, you are supposed to add everything to the quinoa as it cooks, then bake the cooked quinoa mixture in the squash. It didn’t seem to get overcooked! You can garnish with additional parsley if you’d like. I will take another look at the wording of the recipe!

  • Wow, this is right up my alley. What a wonderful and healthy dinner! Chickpeas make everything better in my opinion. Did you eat the skin of the squash? I can’t remember if kubocha is one you can eat.

  • The salad sounds great and I love the idea of serving it in a squash.

    I’d love for you to submit one of your beautiful photos, and a link to your post, to my new vegetarian food photo gallery showcasing beautiful and flavorful vegetarian food.

  • This is one that John is going to love. Two questions. Can I use regular quinoa? Or should I get the red kind? What is the difference between the two? O god, I just want to sit down and eat this meal right now!

    On another note, I just noticed that you can get Rancho Gordo beans at Marlow & Sons (Brooklyn, NY). Do you know where that is?

  • whatwouldcathyeat

    Yes, you can use regular quinoa. But I think red quinoa has a better flavor. Maybe it’s just me, though!

    Thanks for the Rancho Gordo tip, Lisa. I’m always looking to fill my need for beans.

  • Love the look of this recipe, stuffed squash are always so tasty… I’ve never seen red quinoa, I’ll have to try and hunt some up… otherwise I’ll just try this with the regualr, great dish for entertaining!!

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  • This looks so delicious! Thanks for sharing.

  • Wow! That looks and sounds fantastic! Many of the others look great too. Are most of them your own recipes?

  • whatwouldcathyeat

    Thanks, Will! Yes, unless otherwise indicated all the recipes here are my own. Give this one a try and let me know what you think.

  • Kate

    I am going to make this for my vegetarian addition to Thanksgiving dinner at my sister-in-laws (I am the veg). I am a little nervous about trying a new recipe blind for the holidays but this one looks like a home run to me. This with my ever popular butternut squash soup and I am all set. cant wait!

  • Kate

    Just a followup…
    I made this for thanksgiving and it was a huge hit! I served it with the a fig vinaigrette (pre-made), it was delish with or without. Thanks!

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  • jessica

    Cannot WAIT to make this tonight! I am running low on food in my house and wanted to find a recipe to use what I had laying around. Looks like I have everything! Sounds very delicious and pretty easy! I had some extra veggie omlette filling I plan on folding into the quinoa as well (grated carrot, sweet potato, red onion, leek and onion)

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  • I just had to let you know that I made this recipe twice and it is wonderful! The kabocha squash is pretty awesome — great taste that beats a butternut squash any day in my book. Thanks for sharing!

  • Great to hear, Jessie. I’m going to make it again soon, too.

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