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ChefMD®Baked Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash

Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 317 per serving
Percent from Fat: 14%

Ingredients
2 (4-inch diameter) acorn squash (about 2¼ pounds total)
1¼ cups vegetable broth, such as Imagine or Emeril's organic brands
½ cup organic quinoa, such as Bob's Red Mill brand
1½ teaspoons garam masala, such as McCormick brand
1 cup drained no salt added canned garbanzo beans or chickpeas
2 teaspoons finely shredded orange peel
½ teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt
½ cup chopped mint leaves
¼ cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds), toasted
1 to 2 teaspoons pomegranate glaze or ¼ cup pomegranate seeds (optional)

Preparation
Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut each squash in half crosswise. Scoop out seeds. Place squash halves, cut sides down on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until squash is tender when pierced with a sharp knife.

Meanwhile, combine broth, quinoa and garam masala in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 15 minutes or until quinoa is tender and most of liquid is absorbed. Stir in garbanzo beans and orange peel; heat through. Arrange squash, cut sides up on serving plates; sprinkle with salt. Mound quinoa mixture over squash; top with mint and pepitas. Top with pomegranate glaze or seeds if desired.

Substitutions
Curry powder may replace the garam masala and parsley or cilantro may replace the mint.

Culinary Taste Tip
When selecting an acorn squash at the farmers market or grocery, look for a deep orange spot on the bottom. It's a good indicator of ripeness.

Culinary Technique Tip
Quinoa seeds increase significantly while cooking in liquid, as much as three to four times in size. Toast the seeds before cooking to enhance their natural nutty flavor.