Quinoa, Clementine and Pomegranate Stuffed Squash

The following post is from Shaina of Food for My Family and Olmanson Photography:

source: Shaina Olmanson

Finally, the stores have large bags full of tiny little clementines, perfect for small hands to peel. During the clementine/mandarin season my kids have been known to devour upwards of three a day each. They request them for breakfast. They beg for them at snack time, and they look forward to one before bed as well.

My youngest son, Magnus, has followed in his siblings’ footsteps regarding his love of clementines and other citrus, but he has unfortunately not followed suit when it comes to his eating elsewhere. By that, I mean the boy is picky and always has been. When given the first opportunity to eat cheese, for instance, the cold piece of rubber-like substance was spit from his mouth. New foods aren’t usually accepted easily, and we have to be patient at dinner even when we’re eating something as simple and approachable as spaghetti.

Why then, wouldn’t we include his favorite food of the moment in the meal? Well, we would, actually, in the form of a quinoa fruit salad stuffed neatly inside a roasted squash. Quinoa is high in protein, fiber and essential amino acids. It has a texture that is very similar to rice but with more bite, which makes it perfect for rice-loving kids who may have texture-related food issues. Made into a fruit salad with some of my favorite seasonable fruits and stuffed into a sweet dumpling squash, this is one meal even my pickiest kid can’t resist.

source: Shaina Olmanson

Cuties recently showed up as a sponsor for BlogHer Food in San Francisco in October, and I was especially excited to see them given my family’s undying love and affection for them (read: obsession). I happily scooped up a box of them this past week at Super Target for this recipe that I’ve been brewing for a while.

Quinoa, Clementine and Pomegranate Stuffed Sweet Dumpling Squash

4 sweet dumpling, carnival or acorn squash
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1 sprig rosemary
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large shallot, diced
2 tablespoons maple syrup
4 Cuties clementines or mandarins, peeled and diced
1 large pomegranate, arils only

Preheat oven to 350° F. Cut tops off squash and scoop out insides until nearly all strings are removed. Place squash side down in a roasting pan and add 3/4 cup of water. Bake at 350° F for 45 minutes or until squash meat is soft and mashable when pressed with a fork.

While the squash are roasting, place quinoa and water in a saucepan along with sprig of rosemary. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat, cover and simmer until water is absorbed, stirring once during the process to prevent quinoa from sticking to the bottom of the pan. When quinoa is cooked, remove the rosemary.

In a large sauté pan, heat oil. Add in shallots and cook for 2-3 minutes until tender. Add in maple syrup, oranges and cooked quinoa. Stir to mix and sauté until heated through, 4-5 minutes. Stir in pomegranate arils. Scoop quinoa fruit salad into squash bowls and serve.

Makes 4 stuffed squash.

What seasonal fruits or vegetables do you especially look forward to? Are you a family of clementine eaters?

Shaina Olmanson is the freelance writer, photographer, and home cook behind Food for My Family. Cooking daily with and for her four kids and husband, Ole, drives her desire to inspire other families to do the same. Shaina is also the author of Desserts in Jars and contributes regularly to a variety of online sites and traditional print magazines.