Chicken and Quinoa Stuffed Pumpkin
I decided to get creative the other night and this is what became of it. I picked up a small pumpkin and decided to try making a savory stuffing to bake into it. The stuffing is made up of chicken, quinoa, apples, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, onions and cranberries seasoned with the typical holiday spices of sage, thyme and nutmeg as well as salt, pepper and garlic. Rosemary and marjoram would be good choices as well. I used chicken in this version as that’s what I had on hand, however turkey would be a great choice and you could also use beef or lamb. Next time I make this I think I’ll add some water chestnuts and celery. You could also omit the pumpkin, add a bit more cream of mushroom soup and turn this into a casserole.
I love the holidays and all the awesome food that goes along with them, but we all know what that can do to a weight loss plan. It’s nice to have some options for healthier choices that are still delicious and I think this fits the bill. Check back soon for a great pumpkin mousse recipe that is only 68 calories per serving.
Savory Stuffed Pumpkin
2 pie pumpkins, approximately 2 – 2 ½ lbs each
12 oz chicken breast, cooked and chopped
– Could also used ground chicken or turkey
½ cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup water
1 small Fuji apple, diced
1 medium sweet potato, diced
2 Tbsp dried cranberries
½ medium onion, chopped
¾ cup mushrooms, sliced
½ can condensed cream of mushroom soup
Season to taste with salt, pepper, garlic, sage, thyme, nutmeg
Spray olive oil
Quinoa and Chicken Stuffing for Pumpkin
Add water, quinoa, apples, cranberries and sweet potato to pan. Add salt to taste and heat over medium heat. Once boiling cover and lower heat and simmer for approximately 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Quinoa should be moist with no standing water. While the quinoa cooks prepare your pumpkins but cutting the tops off much the same way you would for a Jack-o-Lantern and clean the insides.
Next, heat saute pan over medium heat and coat with olive oil. Add onion and cook until slightly translucent then add mushrooms and continue cooking over medium heat until done heat to low. If necessary add additional oil to keep from sticking, but only in small amounts.
Add quinoa, chicken and to onions and mushrooms in pan and mix thoroughly. Add cream of mushroom soup to give mixture a moist consistency but not wet, once cooked you’ll want your stuffing to be firm but moist. Season to taste with your choice of salt, pepper, garlic, sage, thyme, nutmeg, rosemary and/or marjoram.
Bake pumpkins in preheated 350F oven for 35 – 45 minutes. Test pumpkin doneness by piercing close to top with fork and flaking slightly. Pumpkin should be tender and not too stringy. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes then cut in half and serve.
Tips, tricks and shortcuts
- In my picture I’ve quartered the pumpkin for the photo however a serving is ½ pumpking and ¼ of stuffing mixture
- I will likely add some water chestnuts and celery next time I make this.
- This would be good with most ground meats. Chicken, beef, lamb and of course, turkey.
BASIC NUTRITION INFO (per serving / 4 servings per recipe)
Carbohydrates: 59.0 grams
Fat: 5.4 grams
Protein: 26.8 grams
Fiber: 9.3 grams
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