a justified and ancient grain in rotund squash

spider webs in every direction

The spider webs on the porch glinted from every angle last night as I considered the squat little squash that make me smile when they appear at farmers’ markets.

stuffed summer squash with quinoa

I’ll concede it’s precious, but stuffing is the best use of this squash shape, and the little green vessels sit regally on top of a bed of corn and new potatoes—potatoes to match the quinoa, an Incan grain, that is one of the smallest whole grains (amaranth works well here too), a complete protein, and one that cooks quickly.

stuffed summer squash with quinoa

To make this, heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, and prepare half a cup of dry quinoa in a separate pan while making the filling.

Filling: use two or three round squash (per person, this recipe is for one) and cut the top off about half an inch from the stem, scooping out the inside (leave a quarter of an inch of squash flesh inside).

In a tablespoon of oil, sauté half an onion until translucent, add the diced squash insides, a pinch of crushed red pepper, salt, and cook 4-5 min on medium.

Stir the onions and squash into the finished quinoa, add a diced tomato and its juice (this keeps it moist inside the squash), half a diced avocado, a clove of minced garlic, and a few chiffonaded squash blossoms, if possible. Stir.

Spoon into squash, recap squash, place in small baking dish with a quarter of an inch of water in the bottom to steam the squash while they roast. Cook 45 min, serve, roasting the corn and potatoes in a separate dish alongside the squash or in a pan on top of the stove.

stuffed summer squash with quinoa

While many vegetables work well in this stuffing, I like what is at market nearest the squash best. It seems wrong to me to stuff these with meat, as some recipes call for, as the squash are so good filled with the tiny popping quinoa and, ah, squash that then tastes of the tomatoes, garlic, warmed avocado, and hot summer nights…

This recipe is dedicated to my good friend Ben, who has been cooking without dairy lately, and the talented (and hilarious) writers of Vegansaurus.

CategoriesSanta Cruz Webs
  1. Mica says:

    Agreed, these stuffed squash are quite cute. What is their actual (non-stuffed) flavor? Like yellow squash or zucchini?

  2. Kristen says:

    It’s more yellow squash, Mica–very like the crookneck yellow, which remind me of childhood and the squash my grandfather grew in his backyard…

  3. Ben says:

    This looks amazing! And although I’ve largely curtailed my vegan experiments for now, I’ve retained quinoa (especially red quinoa) as my sine qua non grain. One of my favorite recipes–sent from my mom courtesy of Vegan with a Vengeance–involves cooking the quinoa in fresh pineapple juice and then piling an array of veggies (and pineapple) atop the quinoa sprinkled with peanuts or cashews. I add tofu for a bit more protein. The recipe may sound unappetizing to some, but the point is opening your mind (as I have mine) to cooking whatever grains you like in different kinds of liquid, not just water or broth.

  4. Kristen says:

    Thanks, Ben. Yes, I love the darker quinoa colors, though the black quinoa that I used here can be harder to find. The pineapple recipe sounds great; in this recipe, the tomato juice cooks in for moisture; I’m with you on expanding the cooking liquid roster—

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