Monday, August 11, 2014

Kale and Quinoa Stuffed Patty Pan Squash

How do you guys feel about farmer's markets?

I never used to go to these too often but this summer I have really changed my tune. The produce is just so beautiful and fresh, and there is no doubt that you are eating delicious fruits and vegetables that are in season.

Look at these adorable Patty Pan squash! I very rarely see patty pans in the grocery store, but this past week at the Copley Square farmer's market they were all over the place. Bright, sunny, patty pan squash. I had never cooked or even eaten these before, but they looked like little packages of sunshine and I had to give them a try!

The farm stand owner told me a little bit about the taste of patty pan, which is slightly more bitter but similar taste as a regular yellow squash. Not surprisingly, he recommended that I stuff them and I decided to channel some Mediterranean flavors. 

My Kale and Quinoa Stuffed Patty Pan Squash is a wonderful Meatless Monday recipe! It is also a great fulfilling lunch option. I chose to cook the squash and make the filling separately, then use the squash as an edible serving vessel. 

The squash has it's top cut off then it is seeded and baked until tender. In the meantime, I prepare the filling. Quinoa is cooked until fluffy. Then a big bunch of kale is thinly sliced and cooked down in a bit of oil. Like most leafy greens, kale is best seasoned with salt, pepper, and a touch of ground nutmeg (trust me!). Once the kale is tender, the filling comes together in no time flat--just mix in the quinoa along with fresh, sliced basil, chopped pistachios, crumbled feta and the juice of a lime.YUM. 

Feel free to just take a spoon and eat the filling right out of the pan--it is amazing on it's own! But today, we are honoring the farmer's market and mixing this amazing, flavorful quinoa mixture with a tender and delicious patty pan squash! 

Here's what you need for Kale and Quinoa Stuffed Patty Pan Squash* (Print Recipe!)

4 medium patty pan squash, tops cut off and seeded using a spoon--leave about 1 inch along the bottom and side of the squash so it holds its shape while cooking
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup low sodium vegetable broth
1 bunch kale, de-stemmed and sliced thin
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chiffonade
1/4 cup chopped pistachios
1/3 cup crumbled feta
juice of 1 lime
salt and pepper to taste

Here's what you do

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet with olive oil. Season the insides of the squash with salt and pepper, then place them open-side down on the baking sheet. Drizzle with a little more olive oil then bake for about 15 minutes or until the skin gives a bit when you press your finger in it.

While the squash cooks, cook the quinoa according to package directions in the vegetable broth. Fluff with a fork once all the liquid is absorbed and set aside.

In a skillet, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the kale and season with salt, pepper, and the nutmeg. Cook until wilted and tender, about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat then add the cooked quinoa, basil, pistachios, feta, and lime juice. Stir well to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. 

Place a few tablespoons of the filling in each squash and serve immediately! Save any extra filling to add on top of salads or stuff into whole wheat pita breads.

*Gas Stove Girl Original Recipe

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