Decorative gourds are everywhere--mantles, centerpieces, front porches, and now, dinner plates. This stuffed acorn squash is as beautiful as it is flavorful. We like to use the carnival variety because of its mellow flavor and bold stripes. Packed with healthy grains, protein, and a vegetable high in dietary fiber and other nutrients, this dish is so well-rounded that the only side you'll need is a glass of your favorite wine.
STUFFED ACORN SQUASH
For the squash:
2 acorn squash, cut in half down the middle
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
For the ground venison:
3/4 pound ground venison (turkey or sirloin are great substitutes!)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup chopped green onion, plus some for garnish
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/2 cup quinoa
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Sprinkle salt, pepper, garlic powder, sugar, and olive oil on cut side of squash. Place cut side down on baking sheet and roast for 25 minutes. Once complete, reduce heat of oven to 375 degrees.
Meanwhile, cook quinoa per box instructions.
Over medium heat, saute ground meat with all ingredients, except walnuts and quinoa. Cook until ground meat is browned and water is dissolved, about 10-15 minutes. Add quinoa and walnuts to mixture and stir to combine. Evenly distribute mixture into each of the four squash "bowls". Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and bake in oven for 10 minutes. Garnish with green onions and serve.