I’m about to give a bit of a confession here – I have yet to buy one single Christmas gift.
That holiday, which I celebrate, is just a handful of days away. Yikes.
In my defense, I have constructively made five cutting boards in the past month. (Hello new, awesome, expensive-but-oh-so-worth-it hobby.) While I may shed a tear as I part with each of them, I’m fairly certain they’ll make for good gifts. For the whole family.
I mean, my five-year-old niece will love a nice, smooth piece of wood, right? Yeah, maybe not.
While I’ve been neglecting a Christmas shopping trip, I have not been neglecting the season’s signature colors. Rather, I’ve been embracing those reds and greens quite frequently in my kitchen lately, this dish included.
If you squint, or dim the lights, swiss chard will shed a nice holiday crimson onto your counters. Keep that in mind if you were about to call me out. I’m sure some of you are thinking, “Hey, swiss chard is pink. You should probably go get your eyes checked.”
Bringing green to your plate is one of the best gifts you could give to yourself this winter. Add some nutty winter squash and creamy tahini, and your tastebuds will be more than pleased, too.
With food-filled gatherings, often left and right, now more than ever do I appreciate a meal like this. It’s hearty so it’ll leave you satisfied, but not feeling weighed down like a typical heavy holiday dish.
If you do want to richen it up a bit, double the tahini sauce. You can really rarely go wrong with an extra spoonful of tahini on top of cooked winter squash.
Also, feel free to ditch the whole “stuffed” idea, and simply serve this as a pilaf. You can use any squash variety that you like for this dish. So, if you’re using something like butternut, likely it’s not going to have a round enough bowl to really stuff, and that’s okay. Mash the extra and serve it underneath.
I will say though, there is something that feels magical about turning a squash into a bowl. I used a kabocha, which I’d highly recommend if it’s available to you.
- 1 large winter squash, seeded
- 2/3 cup quinoa
- 1/2 tsp. turmeric
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
- 1 lg. onion, chopped
- 1/2 bunch swiss chard, chopped
- 1/2 (15 oz.) can northern beans (or more)
- 1 sm. garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 cup tahini
- 1/2 packed cup cilantro, chopped
- 1/2 lemon
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cut off the top of the squash, about 1/4 to 1/3 of the way down the squash. Then, cut that piece into 1/2-inch strips, lengthwise, and place on baking sheet. Remove seeds from the other half, and keep that half in tact. Place it on the baking sheet, too, and toss all squash with 1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to oven. Bake 40-50 minutes, or until squash is fork-tender.
- Meanwhile, place quinoa, turmeric, and a pinch of salt in a pan with 1 1/2 cups of water. Cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer. Let cook for 25-30 minutes, until quinoa is tender. Remove from heat.
- Heat remaining 1 1/2 Tbsp. of olive oil in a large skillet. Add onion, and saute for a few minutes. Then add swiss chard and beans. Season with salt and pepper. Saute until chard is tender.
- In a small bowl, whisk garlic, tahini, cilantro, lemon, and a pinch of salt. Whisk in warm water, until cilantro sauce becomes thin enough to spoon. Adjust salt, to taste.
- When squash is cooked through, cut the strips into cubes, and add to quinoa. Stir in chard and bean saute, and toss until combined. Stuff the large half of the squash with the harvest mixture, for presentation purposes, or cut the squash and spoon harvest mixture on top. Drizzle with tahini cilantro sauce, and serve.