Thursday, October 01, 2009

Vegan Stuffed Sugar Pumpkin with Quinoa, Pecans, Cranberries and Apples - Happy World Vegetarian Day!

Pre-bake hollow sugar pumpkin before stuffing.

Red, standard color and black quinoa.

Rinse quinoa very well to remove bitter taste.

Quinoa is cooked when liquid is absorbed - around 15 minutes.

Cut the stuffed pumpkin in half for a single serving.

Celebrate World Vegetarian Day with this Meat-free Recipe
October 1st is World Vegetarian Day - the annual kickoff of vegetarian awareness month. Eating meatless meals can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer and prevent exposure to food-borne pathogens. It provides a viable solution to world hunger through more efficient use of grains. To learn more about the benefits of vegetarian eating and to receive a free 16 page booklet, visit the North American Vegetarian Society website.

Quinoa (Pronounced, "keen-wah")
Native to South America, it was considered a sacred staple of the Incas because of its exceptional nutritional value. Quinoa is used as a grain (even though it’s not actually a grain) and is more commonly found in vegetarian cooking because of its excellent balance of all nine essential amino acids. It is also a very good source of manganese and a good source of magnesium and phosphorus. One half cup of cooked quinoa contains 111 calories, 2 grams of unsaturated fat, no cholesterol, 19.5 g of carbohydrates, 2.5 g of dietary fiber and 4 grams of protein.

Quinoa can be sprouted and used in raw vegan cuisine or it can be cooked in only 15 minutes to get a delicate, light dish resembling couscous. It’s very important to rinse quinoa thoroughly or it may taste bitter. Standard quinoa has a cream color but I also found some in red and black. For fun I mixed all three colors to make this pumpkin stuffing but of course, you don’t need to do that.

A Great Vegetarian Entree at Thanksgiving or Holiday Dinners
If you are hosting a traditional Thanksgiving or holiday dinner this year and you find that one or more of your guests are vegan or vegetarian, delight them with this entree. Quite often at meat eating dinner parties, vegetarians must make their meal from "side dishes" always wondering if there's chicken broth in the stuffing. A festive, vegan stuffed pumpkin would make them feel very special. Of course if you are hosting a vegetarian Thanksgiving or holiday party, make lots of these for all of your guests!

As beautiful and festive as this dish is, it's also packed with nutrients and phytochemicals, low in saturated fat, high in fiber and fairly low in calories (for such a filling entree). You can also use this quinoa filling to stuff acorn or other winter squash.


Vegan Stuffed Sugar Pumpkins [serves 4]
2 sugar pumpkins (around 2 to 2 1/2 pounds each)
2 cups water or broth
1/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus some for salting pumpkin
1 cup quinoa
1 cup apples, peeled and diced
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons non-transfat vegan margarine plus some for greasing pumpkin
1/2 cup dried, sweetened cranberries
1/2 cup raw organic pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Carefully remove the tops of the sugar pumpkins. Remove seeds and strings. LIghtly grease and salt the insides of the pumpkins, replace the tops and bake until the inside flesh is soft enough to be pierced by a fork (about 1 hour). Rinse the quinoa in a fine strainer THOROUGHLY or it may have a bitter taste. Bring water and salt to a boil. Stir in quinoa and simmer covered until all the water is absorbed (about 15 minutes). Add the apples, cinnamon, ginger and margarine to the hot quinoa and stir together. Mix in the cranberries and pecans.
Remove cooked pumpkins from the oven and fill with quinoa mixture. Cover each pumpkin with foil and bake an additional 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Remove foil, slice each pumpkin in half and serve.

Per serving: 373 calories, 14.1 g fat, 1.6 g saturated fat, 0 g cholesterol, 9.3 g protein, 57.1 g carbohydrates and 8.3 g of fiber.

1 comment:

janet said...

Wow, I have to try this, it looks amazing!