- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 5-10 garlic cloves, minced (use as much as you want depending on your preference for garlic)
- 1 cup diced yellow onions (about 2 small yellow onions)
- 1 cup dry quinoa
- ¼ cup balsamic vinegar (can also use 1/3 cup white wine)
- 2.5 cups mashed acorn squash (about ½ acorn squash)
- 3 cups water (can use chicken or vegetable stock for more flavor)
- ¼ cup shredded romano or parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning (or 1 tsp basil + 1 tsp oregano + 1 tsp rosemary)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cut the acorn squash in half using a large chef’s knife. Scoop out the seeds and pulp using a large spoon. Place on a microwave safe dish, cut side up, and microwave for 6-8 minutes on high until soft. Remove and allow to cool. Once cooled, scoop out the squash using a large spoon and place in a bowl. Mash with a fork. Measure out 2.5 cups and set aside. The extra squash can be saved in the fridge for up to a week.
- Place olive oil and onions in a saucepan over medium heat. Sautee until the onion begins to soften (about 2 minutes), then add the garlic. Sautee until garlic begins to brown (about a minute).
- Add the quinoa to the saucepan. Stir and cook until the quinoa begins to toast and give off a nutty smell, about 5 minutes.
- Pour in the balsamic vinegar or white wine and stir until it has evaporated. For the balsamic vinegar, this will happen almost right away. The white wine will take a little longer, about 3-5 minutes.
- Add 1 cup of the water or broth. Cook and stir until the water has been absorbed. Add another cup of water or broth. Continue cooking and stirring until it is absorbed.
- Add the mashed squash to the pot. Mix to incorporate.
- Pour in the remaining water or broth and continue stirring until the water is mostly absorbed and the risotto is creamy.
- Stir in the cheese, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Enjoy!
- Acorn squash: vitamins A & C, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, B vitamins, iron, folate, fiber
- Quinoa: B vitamins, iron, folate, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, protein, fiber
- Onions & garlic: vitamin C, vitamin B6, copper, phosphorus, fiber
- Olive oil: heart-healthy unsaturated fat
While I prefer the texture of quinoa, brown rice, bulgar, and sorghum also work well.
For a vegan version, the cheese can be replaced with 2-3 tablespoons of cashew butter or pureed cashews for a bit of cheesy flavor.
2-3 teaspoons of garlic powder can be used in place of garlic cloves.
Butternut squash or pureed pumpkin can be used 1:1 in place of the acorn squash. Both lend a slightly sweeter flavor to the recipe.