Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Quinoa with Roasted Squash, Poblano, Corn, Pepitas and Avocado

A few weeks ago I posted on facebook that I had a new favorite dish. Well here it is...It is Quinoa with roasted acorn squash, mild chili peppers, corn and pumpkin seeds topped with avocado and cilantro and it is marvelously delicious!!  It can be served cold as a salad, hot as a pilaf or room temperature. It does have a large number of ingredients but they come together pretty easily. Still it might be a good idea to double everything and have a little extra to make the time worthwhile and also because it is super good.
I couple of tips for this. First, I made this with fresh corn and made a broth using the corn cobs and veggie broth but you could easily skip this step and just use frozen corn. I don't think it will be a big change in the finished dish. 
Make clean up easier by using just one baking sheet to roast all the veggies and seeds-just put foil over it each time.
This recipe is great for a springboard so be confident in substituting similar items or skipping things you do not like. For example, you could use fresh or frozen corn. Or you could use sweet potatoes or kombucha pumpkins in place of the acorn squash. You could even try this dish with brown rice. You could skip an item or two. For example, if avocados are expensive, just don't use them.
Please let me know if this recipe is easy enough to follow, I would like to make it simpler if needed. And if you make it, comments are appreciated greatly! It lets me know what you think and if anyone is reading :-)
Quinoa with Roasted Squash, Poblano, Corn, Pepitas and Avocado

2-3 ears of corn or about 1 cup of frozen corn ( more or less as desired)
 Few TBSP oil for roasting all the veggies and seeds
2 cups veggie broth
1 cup quinoa, rainbow, plain or mixed, very thoroughly rinsed
Juice of 1 lime, about ¼ cup, to taste so may use more or less as desire
Splash of olive oil
1 tsp salt, (more when served  if needed
½ tsp adobe seasoning and ½ tsp Cajun spice or cumin- you might start with a little less if you don’t like spice  (if you don’t have these spices use anything you like with a bit of warmth to it)

1 poblano, Anaheim  or other mild  pepper
2/3 to ¾ cup pumpkin seeds(pepitas), raw
Small acorn squash ( or half of a larger one)
3 green onions, white and green parts sliced
½ cup cilantro, chopped, extra 2 TBSP to garnish top
1  small avocado, sprinkled with more lime juice, salt

1) If using fresh corn, begin by cutting kernels off the cob into a large bowl. Turn the cob around and then flip other end up to get all the kernels. Reserve kernels for roasting.
 If you have the time and would like to--Place the cobs in a large pan with the vegetable broth and cook on low for several hours to get corn broth flavor. Remove corn and strain broth, measuring to see if you have 2 cups. If not add water,This may be done a day or two ahead.
Note: if you are using frozen corn (or if you just want to) skip this step—this is just fine! Just use broth, no need to strain.
Pour the broth into rice cooker or back into pot if you prefer to cook quinoa on the stove.
2) Quinoa- Rinse quinoa several times to remove the bitter coating. You may want to let it soak for five minutes in a bowl of cold , swish it around several times then strain out water using a fine sieve.
Cook quinoa in rice cooker just as you would cook white rice or in covered pot according to directions or simmer about 15 to 20 minutes and drain and fluff.)   Place quinoa in a large bowl and sprinkle with lime juice to taste. Add olive oil, salt and spice.  

Turn oven on to broil-
3) Poblano or Anaheim  pepper- While quinoa is cooking, wash the Poblano or Anaheim pepper and place on large piece of foil under broiler, turning every few  minutes with tongs until all skin is charred and loose. ( This can be done over the flame of a gas stove or on the BBQ grill if desired.) Remove and wrap in foil to steam chili pepper. After about 15 minutes, open foil and wash off pepper, pulling off and discarding charred skin and stem with seeds and membranes. Wear gloves if you are sensitive and wash hands carefully afterwards—you don’t want to rub chili oil in your eye!! Coarsely chop pepper.

Then Preheat oven to 425

4) Corn--.  Cover baking pan in foil, if desired for easy clean up, and spread corn out on sheet and sprinkle with oil, salt and pepper. Place in hot oven-425. Use spatula to turn corn a few times.

After 15 minutes see if the corn is browning and getting firm. If it is, remove corn to a dish or bowl.

Lower heat to 375 ( but put acorn squash in immediately after removing corn)

5) Acorn Squash—While corn is roasting, slice clean acorn squash in half and remove seeds. Place a few Tablespoons of water in the pan and place squash cut side down, and bake for about 18 minutes (This step could be done well in microwave for 9 minutes). Cook just until starting to barely soften. The squash will continue cooking in a later step after you peel and cut it up. For now, remove squash from oven and place on cutting board to cool before next step. Okay, on to Pumpkin seeds!

6)Pumpkin seeds-- Remove squash from oven to cool while you place pumpkin seed in a baking dish with a bit of olive oil and salt perhaps a sprinkle of smoked paprika, onion or garlic powder.  Place in 375 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until crispy and light.

Raise oven temp to 400 degrees

Acorn Squash—Once the squash is cool enough to touch, cut into slices lengthwise and cut/peel skin off. Chop into pieces of about 1”. Once you are done with the pumpkin seeds, place acorn squash back onto sheet with a bit of olive oil, sprinkle with brown sugar and dust with cayenne and cinnamon. Mix a bit then put into oven for about 25 -30 minutes, turning once or twice, until beginning to be caramelized and crunchy.

Chop cilantro, slice green onion.

Immediately after squash is done, add into the quinoa the chopped chili pepper, roasted corn, and half of the pumpkin seeds, chopped cilantro and green onions, saving the rest to garnish the top.

Slice avocados and sprinkle them generously with lime juice and a hint of salt. You can either mix in half the avocado and garnish with the other half or just mix it all in.

Plate salad and top with avocados, some of the roasted pumpkin seeds, green onion and cilantro OR top with these in the bowl.

This salad is great served room temperature with the roasted squash just out of the oven. It could be served hot or cold.




  1. Love all the ingredients here... looks very tasty and healthy. :)

  2. Thanks so much, Ramona! I hope you and your family had a wonderful summer!