Yields6 Servings

Recipe and photo courtesy of Nava Atlas, The Vegan Atlas

Perfect for a special holiday meal, acorn squash is stuffed with a savory-and-sweet combination of Improved Nature Mini Pieces, quinoa, apple, and cranberries.

Beautiful to serve and delicious to eat, this seasonal main dish is bound to delight anyone looking for a plant-based main dish for the holiday table or other festive occasion.

With their pleasantly chewy texture, Improved Nature Mini Pieces give this dish a boost of protein and heartiness. Another thing I love about them is that unlike like many plant-based protein alternatives, they’re not loaded with sodium! With exactly one ingredient — soy — they take on the flavors they’re cooked in and seasoned with.

Winter squashes are always tricky to cut if you don’t have a super-sharp chef’s knife, but the nice thing about acorn squash is that you don’t have to! You can either pre-bake or microwave them whole; then they’re a breeze to cut in half and stuff.

The delicious Improved Nature Mini Pieces and quinoa stuffing is enough to fill 3 good-sized acorn squashes or 4 smaller ones.

Ingredients
 3 larger (about 1 1/2 pounds each) or 4 smaller acorn squashes (about 1 pound each)
 1 cup (uncooked) Nature's PRIME Mini Pieces
 1 Vegetable bouillon cube
 1 cup Quinoa, any color
 2 ¼ cups Water
 2 tbsp Olive oil
 1 medium yellow or red onion, finely chopped
 1 large celery stalk, finely diced
 1 medium crisp sweet apple, peeled and diced
 ½ cup Dried cranberries
 ¼ cup Fresh parsley, finely chopped
 2 tsp Salt-free seasoning (like Mrs. Dash)
 1 tsp Italian seasoning
 Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Instructions
1

To oven-bake the squashes, wrap them whole in foil and set in a roasting pan. Bake at 375º F. for 35 to 45 minutes, or until you can pierce through fairly easily with a knife. You also have the option of microwaving them. Cook each squash one at a time on HIGH for 4 minutes. Test to see if you can pierce through fairly easily with a knife, and add one minute at a time if need be. In either case, don’t over-bake; you don’t want the squash to be mushy.

2

When the squashes are done and cool enough to handle, cut each in half lengthwise, cutting around and removing the stem. Scoop out the seeds and fibers and discard. Scoop out the flesh, leaving a sturdy shell of about 1/2 inch all around. Reserve the squash flesh for another purpose (it’s great as a soup base or for making muffins).

3

In a small soup pot, cook the Nature's PRIME Mini Pieces in plenty of simmering water and the bouillon cube according to package directions, for about 20 minutes. Drain in a colander; press down on them with a bowl that nests well into the colander to squeeze out some of the water.

4

In a small saucepan, combine the quinoa and water. Bring to a slow boil, then lower the heat and simmer gently until the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes.

5

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet or stir-fry pan. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until translucent. Add the cooked Improved Nature Mini Pieces and celery and continue to sauté until all are touched with golden-brown here and there, about 8 minutes.

6

Add the cooked quinoa and all the remaining ingredients and continue to sauté, stirring often, for 4 to 5 minutes.

7

Divide the quinoa mixture evenly between the squash shells. If the squash is still warm, you can serve as is, but if they need reheating, or if you’ve made this ahead, arrange the stuffed squashes in a roasting pan and bake for 10 minutes at 375º F. before serving.

Source: Improved Nature® Published with permission of the author, Nava Atlas (TheVeganAtlas.com). All rights reserved.©

Visit ImprovedNatureDirect.com to purchase Nature's PRIME Mini Pieces

Ingredients

Ingredients
 3 larger (about 1 1/2 pounds each) or 4 smaller acorn squashes (about 1 pound each)
 1 cup (uncooked) Nature's PRIME Mini Pieces
 1 Vegetable bouillon cube
 1 cup Quinoa, any color
 2 ¼ cups Water
 2 tbsp Olive oil
 1 medium yellow or red onion, finely chopped
 1 large celery stalk, finely diced
 1 medium crisp sweet apple, peeled and diced
 ½ cup Dried cranberries
 ¼ cup Fresh parsley, finely chopped
 2 tsp Salt-free seasoning (like Mrs. Dash)
 1 tsp Italian seasoning
 Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions

Instructions
1

To oven-bake the squashes, wrap them whole in foil and set in a roasting pan. Bake at 375º F. for 35 to 45 minutes, or until you can pierce through fairly easily with a knife. You also have the option of microwaving them. Cook each squash one at a time on HIGH for 4 minutes. Test to see if you can pierce through fairly easily with a knife, and add one minute at a time if need be. In either case, don’t over-bake; you don’t want the squash to be mushy.

2

When the squashes are done and cool enough to handle, cut each in half lengthwise, cutting around and removing the stem. Scoop out the seeds and fibers and discard. Scoop out the flesh, leaving a sturdy shell of about 1/2 inch all around. Reserve the squash flesh for another purpose (it’s great as a soup base or for making muffins).

3

In a small soup pot, cook the Nature's PRIME Mini Pieces in plenty of simmering water and the bouillon cube according to package directions, for about 20 minutes. Drain in a colander; press down on them with a bowl that nests well into the colander to squeeze out some of the water.

4

In a small saucepan, combine the quinoa and water. Bring to a slow boil, then lower the heat and simmer gently until the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes.

5

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet or stir-fry pan. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until translucent. Add the cooked Improved Nature Mini Pieces and celery and continue to sauté until all are touched with golden-brown here and there, about 8 minutes.

6

Add the cooked quinoa and all the remaining ingredients and continue to sauté, stirring often, for 4 to 5 minutes.

7

Divide the quinoa mixture evenly between the squash shells. If the squash is still warm, you can serve as is, but if they need reheating, or if you’ve made this ahead, arrange the stuffed squashes in a roasting pan and bake for 10 minutes at 375º F. before serving.

Source: Improved Nature® Published with permission of the author, Nava Atlas (TheVeganAtlas.com). All rights reserved.©
Festive Squash with Nature’s PRIME Mini Pieces™

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