Maple-Roasted Delicata Squash Boats with Quinoa, Kale and Cranberry Pilaf

Pardon the hiatus, but I was very busy in December doing a lot of this-

photo-21 (3)(celebrating the holiday season of course)

photo-23(and decorating the pad)

photo-24(and baking Christmas goodies)

photo-22(and wrapping presents)

photo-25(and then unwrapping them (super exhausting obv).

And now, it’s January. And I feel like doing a whole lot of this-

photo-26(that would be, absolutely nothing).

So I’m forcing myself to get back in the blogging game, and the recipe I have for you today is a serious slam dunk (it’s been awhile since I’ve written so let’s ignore any cheesiness here).

Everyone knows that this is a time when the majority of the population is starting a new diet, or joining a gym, or purging/cleansing/detoxing as a result of painful new years resolutions that are much easier to make than to actually keep. But if one of your new years resolutions was to eat more healthily, I’ve got good news for you- it’s actually pretty easy to do. The key is to just make sure the ish you’re eating tastes good. And that, my friends, is where I come in….

photo-29

with recipes like my maple-roasted delicata squash boats stuffed with a quinoa, kale and cranberry pilaf. Sounds fancy right? I’ve made this dish many a’times and for a variety of guests, and everyone just RAVES about it. It doesn’t seem like it would be easy to make, but it really is. And it’s definitely easy to eat. And it’s obviously healthy, or else I wouldn’t be making it (or at least blogging about it).

But my favorite thing about this dish? It’s jam-packed with whole, plant-based foods and tons of protein (quinoa), fiber (squash), antioxidants (kale and cranberries) and nutrients (ummm…everything)!!! It’s dairy-free, gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, vegan AND properly combined for optimal digestion, so it should fit right into any healthy eating plan you’re trying to follow (except for perhaps paleo or atkins, but IMO quinoa is just too good of a grain to omit).

I’m also currently having a love affair with delicata squash because not only is it the richest, most flavorful, buttery squash out there (roasted=absolute texture perfection) but it’s the easiest squash to deal with because you don’t have to peel it (yes the skin is thin and edible)! The squash is also smaller in size, thus easier to cut. And oh yeah, it’s an insane source of  beta carotene—the same compound the body converts  into vitamin A, which is essential for good vision, gorg skin and a strong ­immune system. Also if you weren’t already aware, the Food and Agricultural Organization officially declared 2013 the year of the quinoa (with it’s diverse array of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory phytonutrients and the fact it’s the ONLY grain considered a complete protein it’s easy to see why).  And let’s not forget kale with it’s cholesterol-lowering and cancer-fighting benefits plus comprehensive support for the bodies detoxification system? Yes, this squash boat is THE super-food dish that will leave you satisfied and keep those annoying new year’s resolutions on track.

So what are you waiting for? It’s time to make January your bitch.

photo-27

Maple-Roasted Delicata Squash Boats with Quinoa, Kale & Cranberry Pilaf

Squash

1 delicata squash, halved and seeded

maple syrup, to taste

sea salt, to taste

drizzle of olive oil

Pilaf

1 cup quinoa

2 cups vegetable broth

4 cloves garlic, minced

4 tbsp olive oil

1 bunch kale, de-stemmed and chopped

1/4 cup dried cranberries

sea salt & black pepper, to taste

maple syrup drizzle

1. Pre-heat your oven to 425 degrees. Take your two squash halves (halved lengthwise and seeded) and drizzle with olive oil and sea salt. Place face-down on a baking sheet line with foil (so that skin side is facing up). Bake for 30 minutes.

2. While squash is roasting, start on your quinoa. Turn heat on high in a pot and saute 2 of the garlic gloves in 2 tbsp olive oil for a minute or so. Then add quinoa and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for approximately 15 minutes. Let sit an additional 10 minutes to steam and then fluff with a fork.

3. Now add remaining 2 tbsp olive oil and 2 garlic cloves to a pan. Saute for a minute or so, then add chopped kale into the pan. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper and cook for approx 3-5 minutes.

4. Once kale is almost done cooking, toss in cooked quinoa and dried cranberries. Drizzle maple syrup and mix together well.

5. When squash is done roasting, remove from the oven. Drizzle with maple syrup, then spoon quinoa mixture into the squash boat.

Boom!

I should mention, MLB likes these squash boats well enough, but not enough to rave like the rest of my guests. He is the “meat-loving boyfriend” after-all, so I can accept this. Doesn’t mean I have to agree though 😉

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One thought on “Maple-Roasted Delicata Squash Boats with Quinoa, Kale and Cranberry Pilaf

  1. I’ve never even heard of delicata squash, but I think I can sub in an easy to find acorn squash. Might not be the same, but it’s still yummy and healthy. And quinoa is grain free, because it is technically a seed and not a grain. So you’re Paleo friends now love you even more. I think I want to jump into this squash as well, it looks really tasty.

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