Tasty recipe for bright orange roasted kabocha squash stuffed with black quinoa salad filled with pine nuts, tomatoes, mint and cucumber.
When I first created this stuffed kabocha squash recipe a few years ago it was as part of a challenge to create a recipe using an ingredient I'd never tried before.
Well at that time I hadn't cooked kabocha squash before or black quinoa so both were new to me. But I already loved regular quinoa which can be used as a replacement in this stuffed squash recipe and I was already a fan of other squash, such as butternut squash.
I decided to make a black quinoa salad and use it to stuff a roasted kabocha squash. The bright orange flesh of the squash contrasted beautifully with the black quinoa salad dotted with pine nuts, cucumber, tomato and fresh mint leaves. It made a delicious vegan meal, perfect to serve 2 people, but also very easy to double up the quantities.
What is kabocha squash like?
Kabocha squash is a fairly sweet orange squash which is a little bit like butternut squash but with a drier texture that is more similar to sweet potato. It's less watery than butternut squash.
What ingredients do you need for this stuffed kabocha squash?
To make this recipe you'll need:
- Kabocha squash - If you can't get your hands on one you can replace it with a different squash.
- Quinoa - I used black quinoa. It has a lovely slightly crunchy texture. However, you can also use regular quinoa or red quinoa
- Tomatoes - cherry tomatoes or any other ripe tomatoes.
- Fresh mint leaves - You could replace it with dried herbs but I love the vibrancy of fresh herbs.
- Pine nuts - These also add a lovely crunchy nutty flavour and texture. If you don't have any you could use sunflower seeds instead.
- Lemon - You can use a bottle of lemon juice but freshly squeeed lemon juice is much tastier.
- Extra virgin olive oil - Use a good quality oil if you can.
How to make this roasted kabocha squash recipe
To begin with you need to cut the squash in half and remove the seeds. I like to save them and roast them separately as in this recipe.
Drizzle olive oil on the squash and season lightly with a little salt and black pepper. Roast it in the oven for about 30 minutes or until the squash is cooked through.
At the same time as the squash is roasting you can parepare the the quinoa salad. Wash the quinoa well in a sieve and remove any obvious gritty or stony bits. Then boil it for about 20 minutes. If using regular quinoa it will cook more quickly than black quinoa and it may be ready after 10 minutes.
I like to toast the pumpkin seeds by tossing them in a hot dry frying pan for a few minutes until they brown lightly.
Once the quinoa is cooked you just put it in a bowl with the chopped tomatoes, cucumber and mint. Stir in the lemon juice and olive oil. Season with a generous amount of black pepper and a little salt if you think it needs it.
Adaptations and substitutions
As I mentioned earlier, this stuffed squash recipe can be made with another variety of squash. Also, if you don't want to stuff the squash, you can dice the roasted squash and then just stir it into the salad.
I love spicy food and often like to add a bit of heat to this salad by adding a finely diced chilli pepper. Or two!
You can also add extra veggies such a diced peppers, sweetcorn or olives.
Can you prep this recipe in advance?
Yes! You can make this stuffed squash in advance and then store it in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Other ways to use kabocha squash
Kabocha squash is great in soups, stews and curries. It's also delicious roasted whole, in slices or in chunks. You can flavour it with herbs and spices just as you would with other roasted vegetables.
Health benefits of quinoa
I am already a quinoa convert. It is considerered a supergrain as it's a complete protein containing all 9 essential amino acids. It's also gluten-free and high in b vitamins, fibre and minerals.
How is black quinoa different?
One of the lovely thing about quinoa is its texture and the slight crunchiness as you eat it. If you haven't tried black quinoa then the difference is that it's even more crunchy than white quinoa. And of course it looks great. Colourful food is always that little bit more enticing than white food.
More squash recipes
If you like cooking with squash then do check out these recipes:
Kabocha Squash Stuffed with Black Quinoa
- 1 kabocha squash
- 200 g black quinoa
- 8 cherry tomatoes quartered
- 100 g cucumber diced
- 15 g small handful of mint leaves chopped
- 50 g pine nuts
- 1 lemon, juiced
- 3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 200°c (or 180°c fan)
- Slice the kabocha squash in half, scoop out the seeds, drizzle with olive oil and roast in the oven for 30 minutes or until soft
- Boil the quinoa for 20 minutes then drain.
- Toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan until golden. Set aside to cool.
- Mix together all the ingredients except the squash. Add a little extra lemon juice or olive oil if necessary.
- Scoop the salad into the squash halves and serve.
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Keep in touch
Do let me know if you make this stuffed kabocha squash or any of my other recipes. I love to get feedback from readers.
Places I'm sharing this Kabocha Squash Stuffed with Black Quinoa
#FoodYearLinkUp at Charlotte's Lively Kitchen