Quinoa, Cranberry and Squash Bake

Quinoa, Cranberry and Squash Bake
Serves 6 as an entrée; 10 or more as a side

This vegan, gluten-free and nut-free entrée is your solution to pleasing everyone at the table at a holiday meal.  With bold colors, it makes a solid alternative entrée and isn’t too “weird” for your more traditional guests to enjoy as a side.  I’ve left the seasonings simple in this one so you can customize with your favorites—try replacing the sage with chives or dried cranberries with fresh, or add some spices like cinnamon, herbs de Provence or curry powder. Once the holidays are over, keep this one in your arsenal for a balanced weeknight meal as well!

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for oiling pan
2 red onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 portabella mushrooms, chopped
½ cup of red quinoa
1 cup of white quinoa
1 squash, peeled and cut into ½ inch cubes
6 sage leaves, finely chopped
½ cup of dried cranberries
2 cups of mushroom stock (or vegetable stock)
½ cup of pepitas
2 tablespoons maple syrup
salt to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375 and lightly oil a 9 x 13 baking dish.

2. In a large skillet heat oil and then sauté onions for 5 minutes until soft.  Add garlic and sauté an additional 30 seconds.  Add portabellas and sauté for 5 more minutes, until they release their water.  Pour out contents of skillet into the baking pan.  Add quinoas, squash, chives and cranberries.

3. Heat mushroom stock in the empty skillet until it’s boiling.  Pour into baking dish and stir to evenly incorporate ingredients.   Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour or until quinoa and squash are fully cooked and liquid is absorbed.

4. Uncover and top with pepitas and drizzle with maple syrup and sprinkle with salt.  Return to oven uncovered and cook for 10 minutes more.

REHEAT: Can cook completely and reheat at 375, covered, for 30 minutes or until warm.