Ahh fall — that magical time of year when the efforts you put into spring and summer gardening are rewarded with a bountiful harvest.
Pumpkins and squash are among the easiest vegetables to grow and maintain — provided you have the space necessary for their lengthy vines and teasing tendrils. Harvesting is a breeze, and certain types, when stored properly, have a lengthy shelf life to carry you into winter.
No garden? No worries.
Pumpkins and squash are easy to find at country stands. While you’re there, entertain the kids with a trip through the corn maze.
Quinoa Stuffed Squash
■ 2 squash, such as acorn or buttercup
■ 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
■ ½ teaspoon kosher salt, divided
■ ½ cup quinoa, rinsed
■ ½ cup diced Granny Smith apple
■ 1 cup water
■ ¼ cup dried cranberries
■ ¼ cup roasted pepitas
■ ¼ cup chopped scallion
■ ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus 1 tablespoon for garnish
■ 1 clove garlic, minced
■ 1 tablespoon lemon juice
■ ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
■ ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
Rub cut surfaces of squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt. Place them cut surface down on pan. Bake until the squash flesh is easily pierced through by a fork, about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, combine the quinoa, apple and water. Bring the mixture to a boil; reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer. Simmer, covered until the water is absorbed, 12 to 15 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir in the cranberries. Cover and let the mixture steam for 5 minutes.
Add the toasted pepitas, scallion, parsley, garlic, lemon juice, remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Stir until the ingredients are evenly distributed. Taste and adjust seasoning.
If the mixture is very hot, let it cool for a few minutes before adding the Parmesan cheese and goat cheese. Gently stir the mixture to combine.
Turn the cooked squash halves over so the cut sides are facing up. Divide the mixture evenly between the squash halves. Return the squash to the oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until the cheesy quinoa is turning golden on top.
Sprinkle the stuffed squash with the remaining 1 tablespoon chopped parsley. Serve immediately.