Stuffed Butternut Squash with Chickpeas, Quinoa and Cranberries

This sweet and savory dish makes a lovely side for your holiday table and a satisfying vegetarian main. It's loaded with fiber and flavor and low in fat. You can substitute acorn squash for the butternut squash, if you like.

PREP TIME: 1 hours 0 minutes
COOK TIME: 10 minutes

2 medium butternut squash
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3/4 cup quinoa
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
Juice from 1 orange plus the zest
1/3 cup fresh or dried cranberries
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
Handful of chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

Preheat your oven to 425 F. Halve the butternut squash, scoop out the seeds and arrange the halves on a baking tray, cut sides up. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil and season with salt. Bake 45-55 minutes, until the squash is fork tender. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Reduce the oven to 375 F.

While the squash is baking, add the stock to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the quinoa, return to a boil; then reduce the heat, cover, and let simmer for 12 minutes, until most of the stock is absorbed. Remove from the heat and let sit, covered, for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside.

Heat a skillet to medium-high and add oil. Add the onions and sauté until onions become translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the cinnamon and garlic and cook for one minute more. Turn off heat and stir in the chickpeas, orange zest, orange juice, cooked quinoa, and cranberries.

Once the squash is cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh, leaving a 1/2-inch-thick border around the sides and a 3/4-inch border along the bottom. Stuff the quinoa filling into the squash halves, then return the squash to the oven. Bake at 375 F until hot, about 10 additional minutes. Garnish with parsley and serve warm.