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The Three Sister Squash

Posted By Anne's Roost, Monday, October 1, 2012

In many Native American cultures, beans, maize and squash were planted together in order to create a healthier growing environment and then later to be eaten as a well-balanced meal. Together they were known as the Three Sisters. This recipe incorporates that idea with a healthy addition of quinoa – an Andean plant full of iron, magnesium and protein, as well as a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorous. With the harvesting season for the Sisters in late summer, early fall, it is easy to get them from your local farmer or tagged "locally grown” at your neighborhood grocer. Quinoa can be picked up from most local food retailers.

If you are needing something for that vegan or gluten-free guest at your next Thanksgiving dinner, this is the perfect dish. And even if your pickiest of guests turn a questionable eye to the squash, there is no way they wont enjoy the quinoa filling. It can be served as a side dish or all on its own. In other words, this is a dish everyone will enjoy. Also, save those squash seeds and roast them up! They make a great topping to salads, yogurt or just as a healthy afternoon snack.

In this recipe, we will be using an acorn squash, but feel free to try a different winter squash. There are a wide variety and experimenting with new, seasonal foods is great for you, the environment, and your local farmers! Also, if you are wanting to keep to the "Americas foods” theme, you can substitute cilantro for culantro, which has a similar but stronger taste. I would recommend using only half in ratio to cilantro.

What you’ll need:

1 acorn squash
1 cup uncooked quinoa
fresh cilantro
1 tbs oil (Sunflower or Olive)
1/2 lime
1/3 cup corn
1/2 cup black beans
1 diced tomato

  • Start by making a "lid” at the top of your squash. Clean it out (remembering to save those seeds to roast for later!) and steam on medium-high for 30 min.
  • While your squash is steaming, take your cup of quinoa and put it in a pot with 2 cups of water. Bring to boil then leave to simmer for 15 min or until there is very little water left in the pot. You will know your quinoa is ready because its "coils” will become loose.
  • Add your oil, corn and beans. Stir with heat reduced to low.
  • Right before you stuff the squash with the quinoa mix, add in the tomato, cilantro, and squeeze in that lime!
  • Your squash should be softer but not quite fully cooked. Stuff squash with the quinoa mix, making sure to leave enough room to put your top back on. Wrap in tin foil and bake for 20-30 minutes on 375F. Check at the 20 mark to see if it needs that extra 10 minutes. (Smaller squashes take a shorter time, larger ones a longer time.)
  • Take out and leave to cool for 10 minutes. Cut into slices and serve as a main course or as a side!

Serving Suggestion: As a side with a lightly seasoned grilled salmon and a side of green beans.

Submitted by Anne from Anne's Roost

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Tags:  HAWP  Healthy AZ  Healthy Eating 

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