the taste space

Carnival Squash Stuffed with Cranberry Maple Quinoa and Beans

Posted in Mains (Vegetarian) by janet @ the taste space on October 9, 2012

This feels like a guilty confession. Boastful yet partially aghast at my audacity.

I admit it: I have 10 different kinds of winter squash in my kitchen.

All are edible (unlike the uber cute swan squash below! which I didn’t buy by the way)

There are the usual players: Butternut squash. Buttercup squash. Kabocha squash. Delicata squash. Spaghetti squash. Sugar pie pumpkin.

They all happened to be on sale this week.

But then, I went to the large Loblaws downtown (the one with 20 different kinds of mushrooms) and yes, they have plenty of squashes, too. Known for its wide selection, they carry many gourmet foods. While the dried mushrooms could cost you an arm and a leg (dried morels are $113.05/lb), the unique squashes didn’t break my budget.

From a local mostly-Mennonite farm and only $1/lb, I came home with new-to-me squashes: carnival, white swan and sweet dumpling (pictured left to right, above).  I resisted buying the ambercup and turban squashes, but I may head back for my next squash fix. (These are small squashes, so it may happen sooner than you think!)

With the ridged nature of the squashes, I knew these squashes were meant to be stuffed. I filled them with quinoa and white beans spiced with sage and oregano from my garden along with fresh cranberries, maple syrup and Dijon mustard. The flavours worked well together and I liked the tartness from the fresh cranberries contrasting the sweetness from the maple syrup. I served it overtop spinach for a prettier presentation.

The squash verdict? Love the carnival squashes! Dry yet moist, crumbly and sweet. Perfect as a stuffed squash because you can eat through the squash at the same time and integrated it into the dish. It might be too crumbly to hold up as large chunks for soups or stews. In the end I ate the skin of the squash, too. It was nice and crispy after all the roasting, so make sure you scrub the squashes clean before you start.

PS. For those keeping track, I also have a golden nugget squash and haven’t tried it yet. Any predictions on how best to eat it?

This is my submission to this week’s Weekend Herb Blogging, hosted by Marta, to Ricki’s Wellness Weekend, to Healthy Vegan Fridays, to the Healthy Thanksgiving Challenge, and to this month’s Herbs on Saturday.

Carnival Squash Stuffed with Maple Dijon Quinoa and Beans
Adapted from Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes

2 small carnival squashes, washed (can substitute any small acorn-type squash including sweet dumpling, white swan and acorn)
1 tsp hazelnut oil
1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed well
1 scant cup water or broth
1-2 tsp coconut oil
1 leek, halved, cleaned and white/light green parts thinly sliced (225g)
2 tbsp fresh sage, chopped
1 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
1 cup fresh cranberries
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1.5 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 cup cooked white beans (I used Yellow Indian Woman beans but any white bean or chickpea could work)

1. Preheat oven to 425F.

2. If you can cut your squash in half, all the power to you. I can’t, so I make a few small pricks with a fork and microwave it whole for 3 minutes on high. Now it should be soft enough to cut in half. Scoop out the seeds. Rub the insides of the squash with the oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, if desired.

3. Place squash, cut-side down, on a silpat-lined baking tray and bake for 45 minutes, or until it is cooked through and a knife can be easily inserted.

4. Meanwhile, prepare your quinoa: In a small saucepan, bring water or vegetable broth to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, add quinoa. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until all of the liquid is absorbed, about 15-20 minutes. Keep covered for an additional 5 minutes to steam. Set aside.

5. Meanwhile, in a large non-stick skillet, over medium heat, heat oil and add leeks and sprinkle with salt. Cook until softened, around 7 minutes. Stir in the sage, oregano and cranberries and cook a further 5 minutes. Stir in the mustard and maple syrup, adding any water if things become too sticky (it was ok with my non-stick skillet). The cranberries may begin to pop. Stir in the cooked quinoa and white beans and stir in combine. Set aside until the squash is finished.

6. Once the squashes are cool enough to handle, stuff each half with the quinoa mixture and return to oven, stuffed side up. Bake for another 10 minutes until heated through.

7. Serve overtop your favourite mixed greens and consider sprinkling with toasted walnuts.

Serves 4.

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28 Responses

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  1. Gabby @ the veggie nook said, on October 9, 2012 at 7:47 AM

    Haha you are so cute! You look so pleased by all your squash :) I can see why though, when you’re eating them this deliciously! I haven’t had any squash yet this fall, I’m definitely picking one up today!

  2. sprint2thetable said, on October 9, 2012 at 9:58 AM

    10?! And I thought my 4 was excessive. I had a Golden Nugget last night! I just diced it, then roasted in the oven with thyme, cayenne, and a little garlic-infused olive oil. Simply and delicious!

    • janet @ the taste space said, on October 9, 2012 at 12:07 PM

      I imagine a lot of my squashes will be simply roasted, too, and added to salads and the like. Glad to hear the golden nugget was tasty. I had never seen one before! :)

  3. hampiesandwiches (@hampiesandwich) said, on October 9, 2012 at 3:38 PM

    There’s nothing wrong with having a million different winter squash around–especially because they all keep well. :) This stuffed squash looks perfect for chilly days!

    • janet @ the taste space said, on October 9, 2012 at 3:40 PM

      So glad you understand!! Squashes only go on sale for like one week and then I pounce! :) I know I have to use the delicata squash first though since it has thinner skin. :)

  4. Joanne said, on October 9, 2012 at 4:56 PM

    Ah, a girl after my own heart. :P I haven’t totally overloaded on squash yet this year but that’s mostly because I have to carry whatever I buy at the store approximately 14 blocks back to my apartment…and I value my back. :P It’s been 50 cents a pound at Whole Foods though so I’ve been buying three every visit. I LOVE the sound of this stuffing! Can’t wait to fill a kabocha with it.

    • janet @ the taste space said, on October 9, 2012 at 11:44 PM

      Yayayaya! The regular squashes have been a bit cheaper here but I can’t wait to see what you make with them this year. 12 weeks of winter squash coming our way?

  5. Kai @embraceyoumag said, on October 9, 2012 at 9:59 PM

    oh ma gosh i love your blog. so tasty. new follower :)

  6. Robyn said, on October 10, 2012 at 11:51 AM

    LoVe…I have 9,,,but 13 in total as they are doubled up…Doing raw soups, smoothies, puddings and roasted,,can’t wait to try this fantastic sounding recipe…Did I say LoVe?? :)

    • janet @ the taste space said, on October 10, 2012 at 1:18 PM

      Nice! We must be kindred spirits with a squash love affair. Let me know how it goes and whether you have any other stellar squash recipes. :)

  7. Kristy said, on October 10, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    A girl after my own heart- I could easily stock my kitchen with tons of winter squash, but I have to be careful as my husband gets burned out on them pretty easily. I could eat them at every meal. I love your stuffed squash too- I think I need to get my hands on a carnival squash so I can try it! :-)

  8. JohannaGGG said, on October 10, 2012 at 10:09 PM

    It is spring here but I still love the northern autumn just because I love seeing all these wonderful pumpkin (squash) recipes on the blogs – am quite into quinoa lately and I know I would love this – though fresh cranberries are like hen’s teeth around these parts

  9. JohannaGGG said, on October 10, 2012 at 10:09 PM

    I mean rare as hen’s teeth as opposed to sharp or white :-)

  10. gena said, on October 10, 2012 at 10:57 PM

    You had me at “maple” and “quinoa,” but the fantastic variety of squash and squash ideas in this post makes it all even better!!

  11. > raccolto WHB 355 | Giornale Blog said, on October 15, 2012 at 9:21 PM

    […] Whb 355 della settimana nella versione italiana e inglese……Janet from Toronto brought us carnival squash stuffed with cranberry maple quinoa and beans . Janet loves pumpkins and admits to have 10 different types of them.       […]

  12. […] Carnival Squash stuffed with Cranberry-Maple Quinoa and Beans from The Taste Space.  Janet reminds us just how many kinds of squash there are at this time of the year! Squash stuffed with Quinoa and Beans […]

  13. Friday Fall Fruit Roundup | VeganMoFo said, on October 19, 2012 at 11:57 PM

    […] also often have stuffed squash at fall dinners, and this Carnival Squash stuffed with Maple Dijon Quinoa and Beans by Janet at the Taste Space includes fresh cranberries and sounds […]

  14. […] up. The squashes have been stored but I have not forgotten about the lovely end of summer […]

  15. girlichef (@girlichef) said, on October 31, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    Oh my gosh, INSANE! I love the sound of this stuffing. I had to laugh at the 10 kinds of winter squash – that rocks!! I can’t wait to see what else you make with them…so inspiring. =)

    • janet @ the taste space said, on October 31, 2012 at 5:29 PM

      Thanks! I found it funny how you called the normal squashes ornamental when there really are ornamental squashes that are inedible. :)

  16. […] don’t want to give away any of the punch lines, but it makes me look tame. Crazy Janet buying 10 squashes is nothing compared to […]

  17. […] 4. Carnival Squash Stuffed with Cranberry Maple Quinoa and Beans by the taste space – steam, bake, boil, shake! “ The squash verdict? Love the carnival squashes! Dry yet moist, crumbly and sweet. Perfect as a stuffed squash because you can eat through the squash at the same time and integrated it into the dish. It might be too crumbly to hold up as large chunks for soups or stews. In the end I ate the skin of the squash, too. It was nice and crispy after all the roasting, so make sure you scrub the squashes clean before you start.” […]

  18. […] veggies are exciting me these days, too. Squashes galore.  Garden fresh green beans and kale. My current infatuation is with […]

  19. Melissa said, on November 22, 2012 at 4:05 PM

    I liked it…….

  20. […] my success with baked (fresh) cranberries in the stuffed carnival squashes and roasted balsamic curry fall vegetables, I began exploring other savoury ideas for fresh (or […]

  21. […] stockpiled my winter squashes, only to discover one going moldy. Booo…. so much for hoarding my squashes until the snow […]

  22. […] Carnival Squash stuffed with Cranberry-Maple Quinoa and Beans from The Taste Space.  Janet reminds us just how many kinds of squash there are at this time of the year! […]

  23. […] what you make believe, I haven’t eaten any winter squash recently. I bought a colourful carnival squash but haven’t made anything with it yet. I have this recipe I made while in Houston. The […]


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