| Friends with food: How to hone your squash game

What: Harvest Squash Bake

How much: Approximately $15

Why: Because fall is here and it’s time to venture to the squash section of the veggie aisle.

This week’s recipe is the result of an adventure at the grocery store. We browsed the veggies and found a few wacky and cheap ingredients that can make a delicious all-in-one dish. The main attraction: spaghetti squash and rapini (a green leafy vegetable that looks like the love-child of kale and broccoli).

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Harvest Squash Bake

1 large spaghetti squash – $3

2 small onions, chopped – 46 cents

2 tbsp of olive oil – a kitchen staple; you should have it handy already

2 cloves of garlic, minced

½ c quinoa – $4 for a bag. You should be able to make several dishes out of the one

1 c water

1 cube of veggie or meat bouillon

1 bundle rapini, stems removed and sliced – $2

½ container of mushrooms, sliced – $1.29 per container

1 small tomato, chopped – 30 cents

1½ c cheddar cheese, grated – the sharp, slightly more expensive kind costs $4.50

1 tsp oregano

Salt and pepper

½ c bread crumbs – optional

With a fork, poke holes in the squash, and stick it in the microwave for ten to 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium pan, sauté the onions and garlic in the olive oil until soft. Add water, quinoa, and the bouillon cube. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat. Simmer for 30 to 45 minutes – the water should be absorbed and the quinoa cooked.

When the quinoa is ready, throw the rapini, mushrooms, and tomatoes over top. Recover the pan and let it sit on the heat for three to five minutes. Stir, bring the heat to medium-high, and cook for another five minutes.

Pre-heat the oven to 375ºF.

Once the squash is soft enough to cut in half. De-seed it (check out our blog to see what fun things you can do with the seeds). Then remove ¾ of the squash’s flesh and place it in a large bowl. Leave approximately one inch next to the peel so that the squash can keep its shape. Place the two halves into a casserole dish.

Mix 1 c cheese into the large bowl of squash. Once the veggies and quinoa dish is done mix this in with the now-cheesy squash. Add oregano, salt, and pepper to taste.

Spoon the whole mixture back into the squash halves. Cover with the remaining cheese and the bread crumbs. Cover. Place the casserole dish into the oven for 30-40 minutes. Cook uncovered for an additional ten minutes – you can even broil it for the last few minutes. But be careful, it burns easily.

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Tips and tricks :

Cut all the veggies before hand to save time, but you should also have enough time to do this while the quinoa cooks.

If you are worried about the squash breaking or not fitting a dish you have, just spoon out all of the insides, mix the ingredients, and place it in a casserole dish. It tastes the same, but doesn’t look as fancy.

Variations :

You can essentially vary every single ingredient in this recipe. Use any squash – spaghetti squash just has a lovely, strange texture. You could even use potatoes or yams, but that would really change the taste.

Instead of quinoa you can use lentils, barley, or rice – just add more veggies. You can also use any leafy green. The cheese is flexible as well. Feel free to experiment with cheese varieties to your taste; we used a sharp cheddar, but you can use a cheaper, less fragrant cheddar, or any other type – feta or chevre would taste delicious, or opt for the faux soy stuff to veganize the dish.

All sketches by Nadja Popowich

Catch the next installment of Friends with food in two weeks, and make sure to check to blog at mcgilldaily.com for more delicious recipes. This week’s blog: seed roastin’ extravaganza.


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