Inspired by Lebanese kousa, our Vegan Stuffed Grey Squash is filled with layers of flavorful vegetables and herbs with quinoa as a protein source. If you are a fan of tabbouleh, you will love this dish. If you’re looking for a grain-free tabbouleh, we have that, too. Serve with gluten-free pita and hummus on the side and you’ve got yourself a show-stopping plant-based meal.Print
- 6 grey squash (calabacitas), that are uniform in size (4-5”), washed and dried*
- 5 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 lemons
- 1 14.5-ounce can diced, fire roasted tomatoes (no salt added)
- 1 bunch flat leaf parsley, leaves and tender stems, minced
- 1 bunch green onions, whites and tender greens, minced (reserve dark greens for garnish if desired)
- 1/2 cup dry white quinoa**
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 tsp dried mint
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt***
- 3/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 1/8 tsp ground coriander
For the Prep
- Set a large pot aside. Sort quinoa and rinse well in a fine mesh sieve, then add to a medium saucepan with one cup of water. Bring up to a boil, then reduce to low heat and simmer for five minutes. Strain through the sieve, rinse again with cold water, and add to a large bowl.
- Drain tomatoes well, reserving the liquid separately. Add the tomatoes to the bowl with the quinoa. Mince the garlic, onions and parsley (cut off the bottom 1/3 of the parsley stems and discard) and add to the bowl, then add oil, salt, pepper, mint, and juice of one lemon and stir well.
- Cut about 1/8” below the stems on the top of each squash, then trim off the very tip of the blossom end spot. Carefully use a circular or half circle corer to carve out a cylindrical core from center of the squash Take your time and move slowly to avoid breaking the squash. Slice 1/2” from one end of the removed core, place into the blossom end of the squash, and secure crosswise with a toothpick. Reserve the remainder of the cores in a small bowl. There will be a visible gap between the core and the sides of the squash that will allow liquid to escape as the filling expands. This allows for more filling while preventing the squash from bursting.
Putting it Together
- Using your hands, fill each squash with the quinoa mixture, lightly packing as you go to fill in gaps. Do not pack too tightly, as the quinoa will expand as it finishes cooking. Lay the stuffed squash end-to-end in a circle around the outer edge of the pot, then lay the remaining squash across the middle of the pot with open end up against the sides of the outer squash. All squash should fit in a single layer. Top with the remaining stuffing mixture.
- Add the squash cores, reserved tomato liquid, onion powder, ground coriander, and two cups of water to a blender and puree, then add to pan with the squash. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to medium-low and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Though fully submerged at the beginning, the squash will become exposed as the quinoa absorbs some water and more gets cooked off. Carefully turn the squash halfway through to ensure even cooking.
- While the squash is cooking, halve the remaining lemon, juice one half, and slice the other into six thin wedges. After full cooking time of 20 minutes, remove from heat and place each squash in a large, shallow soup bowl. Remove toothpick, slice crosswise, and arrange in a row down the center of the bowl. Add lemon juice to the pan, stir, and divide the quinoa mixture and broth evenly between the six bowls, pouring on both sides of the squash. Garnish with lemon wedges and thinly sliced green onion, if desired. Serve immediately.
If you know you will have leftovers, remove toothpicks, and leave extra squash whole. Refrigerate in quinoa mixture and broth up to four days.
*Grey squash is fatter and firmer than zucchini and will hold its shape well when cooked. Look for squash that are uniform in size, and about 5” long from base of stem to blossom end. We recommend picking up an extra squash if you are new to coring them.
**White quinoa is the softest variety and most neutral in flavor. Other varieties will cook differently.
***We very specifically use kosher salt in this recipe. If using anything else, add slowly, to taste.
Nutrition Estimate Per Serving (1/6 RECIPE) – Calories: 120, Fat: 2.9g, Saturated Fat: .2g, Trans Fat: 0g, Polyunsaturated Fat: .2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1.7g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Sodium: 229mg, Potassium: 351mg Carbohydrates: 20.4g total/16.8g net, Fiber: 3.6g, Sugar: 5.7g, Protein: 5g, Vitamin A: 31%, Vitamin C: 76% Calcium: 6.5%, Iron: 8.5% (based on 2,000 calorie diet).
- Prep Time: 20
- Cook Time: 25
- Category: Entrée, Main Course
- Method: Stove Top
- Cuisine: Lebanese-Inspired, Plant-Based
- Diet: Vegan
Keywords: VEGAN, STUFFED SQUASH, STUFFED ZUCCHINI, QUINOA, VEGETARIAN, GRAIN-FREE, LOW-FAT, PLANT-BASED, LEBANESE STUFFED SQUASH, LEBANESE STUFFED ZUCCHINI, MEATLESS, LEBANESE-INSPIRED, VEGAN SOUP, PLANT PROTEIN, CALABACITAS, GREY SQUASH, VEGAN KOUSA, MEXICAN SQUASH, CHOLESTEROL-FREE