Moroccan Stuffed Squash

2 medium acorn squash
3 tablespoons coconut oil
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 cup quinoa
1 (13.5-ounce) can light coconut milk
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon each: ground coriander, ground cumin
1/4 cup thinly sliced, preserved lemon peel or 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1/4 cup chopped, pitted Kalamata olives, plus more for garnish

Heat oven to 425 F. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Rub 1 tablespoon of the coconut oil on cut sides; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and the pepper to taste. Place squash, cut-sides down, on a baking sheet. Pierce skin a few times with a fork. Roast in oven for 20 minutes. Flip squash over; cook until you can easily poke a knife through flesh at its thickest part, 10 to 20 minutes depending on size. Remove from oven and let cool.

Meanwhile, rinse the quinoa and drain. Heat the coconut milk to a gentle boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, with remaining salt and more pepper. Add quinoa, turn heat down to a simmer and cover. Cook until liquid is absorbed, 15 to 18 minutes; turn off heat. Let quinoa steam in saucepan for 5 minutes. Add remaining coconut oil, the paprika, coriander and cumin to quinoa; toss to combine. Add the preserved lemon peel, mint, cilantro, orange juice, pomegranate seeds and olives; toss together.

Divide mixture among squash cavities. Garnish with more chopped olives and serve.

Makes 4 servings.

VARIATIONS: Replace the chopped olives with 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese. Or grill or saute 1 pound peeled and deveined shrimp, roughly chop and add to quinoa mixture.

— Recipe adapted by the Chicago Tribune from "The Sprouted Kitchen," by Sara Forte.


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