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Beef and Quinoa Stuffed Delicata Squash

I always say that Delicata Squash is the “slice and bake” cookie dough of gourds. They are long and thin, typically, and have an edible skin. So you can literally slice them crosswise, bake, and eat them without doing much else (you do need to remove the seeds). However, in this particular preparation, we slice them vertically so that we can stuff them. But because the skin is edible, there is no need to peel them or eat around the tough skin, as you would with acorn squash.

Beef and Quinoa Stuffed Delicata Squash

(Serves 4)

  • 4 small delicata squash, halved and seeded
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
  • 1 lb ground beef (85/15 or 90/10)
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • 2 ribs celery,  diced
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup chopped parsley, for garnish
  • Kosher salt
  • freshly cracked black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 and prepare a 1/2 sheet pan (18 x 13) with parchment paper or foil.  Rub 2 tbsp olive oil into cut sides of squash and sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Place squash cut side down on the pan and bake until tender, about 25 minutes.

Rinse and drain quinoa about 3 times. Add 1 1/2 cups water to quinoa, cover, and bring to a boil.  Once water boils, reduce heat to low and cook for 16-17 minutes. Turn off heat and remove lid from pot of quinoa (leaving pot on burner) so that some of the moisture evaporates.  After 5 minutes, take pot off burner. Fluff quinoa with a fork.

Meanwhile, place a large sauté pan on stove over medium heat. Season beef with 1/2 tsp Kosher salt and 1/4 tsp black pepper. Place beef in pan and press into one large meat disk, covering the entirety of the sauté pan. Cook beef until a fragrant crust begins to develop on bottom, then break up beef to cook remaining sides. If using 85/15 beef, drain some of the fat so that about 1 tbsp remains in the pan. If using leaner meat, you will need about 1 tbsp fat in pan. If there isn’t enough from the beef, add a small amount of olive oil. Add onion, garlic, and celery to pan with beef and cook until softened and lightly browned.  

Combine cooked quinoa and beef mixture. Add remaining 1 tbsp olive oil and season to taste with Kosher salt and black pepper. 

Fill each squash half with about 1/2 cup of beef/quinoa mixture. Sprinkle each half with grated Parmesan to cover and then bake for another 10 minutes.  Once out of the oven, sprinkle with fresh parsley to garnish, and serve. 

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