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“The Snow Quinoa”: Stuffed Pumpkin and Roasted Vegetable Side

October 28, 2011

This week, we had a friend over for dinner who is on a somewhat limited diet and between that and my vegetarianism, we were a bit limited in terms of dinner options! I always LOVE when this happens because it gives me the chance to experiment with new things. Having people over for dinner is the number one way this blog ever gets updated – seriously.

What I love about this quinoa dish is that it’s completely wintery-feeling. I got super nervous at the prospect of this dish because while it sounded good in my head, I just couldn’t believe I was really making a quinoa dish without lemon – isn’t that what the cookbooks all say we should do? Feeling nervous, I went to epicurious for some quinoa alternatives to reassure me that my plan wasn’t reckless and found this Quinoa Stuffing recipe…which also has lemon!! (It does look delicious though.) I forged ahead with my plan though and I’m extremely glad I did. I think it’s a great dish that definitely does not need to fall back on quinoa stereotypes to succeed!

Quinoa Stuffed Pumpkin

1 mini pumpkin

1/2 white onion, finely diced
2 sticks celery, finely diced (slice lengthwise in 3 or 4 strips, then dice)
1 cup quinoa
1/3 cup red wild rice (I added this in a last-minute brainwave/moment of panic after seeing this bag of rice sit at the bottom of my cupboard for months, and it really made the dish)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 or less tsp cardamom
pepper and salt
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/3 cup cranberries, chopped

Carve the pumpkin top like you would to make a jack-o-lantern and scoop out the pumpkin insides. Put the top back on and bake in a 400 oven until the pumpkin is just soft (about 25-30 minutes, but it really depends on the size of the pumpkin – the good news is that you can just put it back in the oven to re-warm before serving).

To make the quinoa, sauté the onion and celery with olive oil in a pot until just browned. Add the quinoa, wild rice and spices and stir for about 1-2 minutes. Add 2 and a half cups of water, bring to a boil, then let simmer until the quinoa and wild rice soften. Just before serving, add the walnuts and cranberries. Stuff the pumpkin with the quinoa and let some spill over the edge.


If someone told me a few years ago that I’d be making a dish with beets AND brussel sprouts and loving it, I really would have been shocked. These two foods haven’t traditionally been my favourite but they serve so well to liven up a roasted vegetable dish. This worked great with the Quinoa Stuffed Pumpkin in both taste and colour, and it’s super easy to make.

Roasted Vegetables

2 small yams
2 small-medium yellow potatoes
1 beet
1-2 cups brussel sprouts
1/2 large white onion
5 garlic cloves, cut in half
1-2 tbsp olive oil
sea salt
2 sprigs of rosemary

Chop all the vegetables in medium dices and cut the brussel sprouts in half. Toss the whole mixture in olive oil, sprinkling in sea salt and chopped rosemary leaves. Bake at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes. The top should brown slightly and the vegetables should all be soft (test the biggest yam cubes to check).

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Allen permalink
    October 30, 2011 7:29 am

    This looks ABSOLUTELY delicious. I’m jealous I wasn’t there to experience it first hand. I might just have to pick up the ingredients when I go to my new favourite Jean Talon farmer’s market later today.

    Quick question though, I didn’t quite understand the lemon bit, does one necessarily have to use lemon to make quinoa?

    • October 30, 2011 7:56 am

      Hey Allen, not at all about the lemon and quinoa! It’s just that every quinoa recipe I’ve ever seen has lemon as its main flavouring and I began to think that it was the only way it could ever be delicious. Not so, it turns out!

      I love thinking of you in Montreal at the farmer’s market :)

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