Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Note: This recipe is adapted for vegans from Sara Forte's "The Sprouted Kitchen." It can be embellished following the variations below for nonvegans or carnivores.
2 medium acorn squash
3 tablespoons coconut oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 cup quinoa
One 13.5-ounce can light coconut milk
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon 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 kalamata olives, plus more for garnish
Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Cut the squash in half lengthwise; scoop out seeds. Rub 1 tablespoon coconut oil on the cut sides; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. Place the squash, cut side down, on a baking sheet. Pierce the skin a few times with a fork. Roast in the oven, 20 minutes. Flip squash over; cook until you can easily poke a knife through the flesh at its thickest part, 10-20 minutes depending on size. Remove from oven; let cool.
Meanwhile, rinse the quinoa; drain. Heat the coconut milk to a gentle boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Add the quinoa; turn the heat down to a simmer and cover. Cook until the liquid is absorbed, 15-18 minutes; turn off the heat. Let the quinoa steam in the saucepan, 5 minutes.
Add the remaining 2 tablespoons coconut oil, the pa- prika, coriander and cumin to the quinoa; toss to combine. Add the preserved lemon peel, mint, cilantro, orange juice, pomegranate seeds and olives; toss together.
Divide mixture among the squash cavities. Garnish with chopped olives. Serve.
Replace the chopped olives with 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese.
Grill or sauté 1 pound shrimp. Roughly chop shrimp; add to the quinoa mixture.
Per serving: 400 calories, 18 g fat, 12 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 57 g carbohydrates, 8 g protein, 516 mg sodium, 8 g fiber.