4 small pumpkin (approximately the size of a softball)
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 1/4 cup water
1/2 tsp unrefined sea salt
1 shallot, minced
1 tbsp olive oil1 orange
1/4 cup raisins or other dried fruit
1/4 cup chopped toasted pecans
2 tbsp finely minced parsley
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch ground nutmeg
1 tbsp maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 375F. Wash the pumpkins and cut 1/2 inch off of the top of each. Scoop out the seeds and discard, along with the tops.
Place the pumpkins, cut side down, on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes, or until the flesh is soft. Remove from the oven and allow to cool until you can handle the pumpkins safely.
While the pumpkins are baking, cook the quinoa as per package directions. When cooked, fluff with a fork, cover and set aside.
Zest the orange and reserve the zest. Juice the orange and place the juice in a small bowl along with the raisins or other dried fruit. Set aside.
While the pumpkins and quinoa are cooking, put a small sautee pan over medium low heat. Add the olive oil and shallots and allow the pan to come up to temperature, stirring frequently. Sautee for a few minutes, until the shallots are just translucent. Remove from heat.
When the quinoa is done cooking, add in the sauteed shallots, orange zest, orange juice and raisins, pecans, parsley, cinnamon, nutmeg and maple syrup to the pot. Stir well to combine. Taste to check for seasoning and add additional spices, salt or pepper according to your taste.
Turn the pumpkins over and fill each with a generous amount of the quinoa mixture. Place back on the baking sheet, cut side up. When all four pumpkins have been filled, return to the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the pumpkins are hot and fragrant. Remove from the oven and serve.
The stuffed pumpkins can be prepared up to 24 hours in advance. Complete the recipe up to stuffing the pumpkins and then place the stuffed pumpkins in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Bake, covered with aluminum foil, at 350F until heated through.
Courtesy of Rachel Assuncao