It’s no secret that seasons are my thing. Heck, I have an entire post of autumn steel cut oatmeal recipes. So, it should come as no surprise that our dinners tend to follow the same trend. We eat ALL the squash in the fall– acorn, butternut, spaghetti, you name it. One of our favorites is twice-baked butternut squash. It’s got the autumn-ness from the roasted butternut squash, the protein from quinoa, and a TON of ingredients to up the flavor like crazy. The nice thing about this one is, I can make it during nap time, add the Parmesan (or Parmesan substitute) topping right before it’s dinnertime, stick it back in the oven to heat/brown, and it’s perfect (maybe even better) than if I’d made it with two kids running around underneath me.
I’m always looking for meatless options for Fridays for us and I feel like a lot of squash recipes lend themselves well to it. This one uses bacon, but it’s (almost) as good without it, so it’s a great option for me to make on a cool Friday evening since the quinoa provides the whole protein that meat does. In fact, it’s so good that even my husband doesn’t argue when I make twice-baked butternut squash the only dish for dinner that night (and that’s saying something)!
Do you LOVE you some fall (or any other season), but not know how to make sure all your meals actually end up healthy and cheap? Check out how I meal plan here!
PS: a little pro tip– if you accidentally dig too deep into the butternut squash to technically make it twice-baked butternut squash, just dump it into your prettiest baking dish (I like our tart dish, personally) and use that!
4 lbs butternut squash
1 c uncooked quinoa
1/2 c pecan halves, chopped
2 t olive oil
1 small sweet onion, minced
1 t dried oregano
1 t dried basil
1/4 t salt
1/8 c brown sugar
1/8 c bacon, optional (I leave it out for meatless Fridays)
3/4 c panko breadcrumbs
3 T butter (or “butter”), melted
4 oz parmesan cheese, finely grated (I leave this out or use this substitute for my kids)
- Preheat your oven to 450*. Wash the outside of the squash, cut it in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds. Place the squash cut-side up in a large baking dish and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Pour 1/4″ of water in the bottom of the pan and cover tightly with foil. Bake it until it’s tender when pierced with a fork, 30 to 50 minutes, depending on the size of the squash. Remove from the oven, discard foil, and allow the squash to cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 400*.
- Meanwhile, cook the quinoa by bringing 1 1/3 c water to boil in a small pot. Add the quinoa, reduce to a simmer, and put a lid on the pot. Simmer for 15 minutes and then remove from the heat.
- While the quinoa is cooking, toast the pecans until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Set them aside, pour the olive oil into the pan, and add the shallots. Cook, stirring frequently, until the shallots are transparent. Remove them from the heat.
- Scoop out the flesh of the butternut squash, leaving 1/4″ of squash remaining in the shells in the baking dish.5. In a small bowl, combine the panko breadcrumbs, butter, and 2 T parmesan cheese.
- In a large bowl, combine the squash, quinoa, pecans, shallot, oregano, salt, bacon, brown sugar and the rest of the parmesan cheese.
- Return the squash mixture to the squash shells and top with the panko mixture.
- Put the baking dish back in the oven until they’re golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.