Acorn Squash Chickpea Quinoa

Acorn Squash Chickpea Quinoa

The 7-day forecast has me cheering with a big whoo hoo. There are 40s and even 50s!

Those warmer temperatures will come with rain, but I don’t care. Bring on soggy pre-spring days. I am here for them.

So long puffy coat. Hello, jacket! 

While things may be looking up in the wardrobe department, the long growing season, that is part of the Midwest’s charm, still has a ways to go.

The start of outdoor farmers market season here in Chicago is 54 days away. Not that I’m counting or anything!

Right now I am trying to approach my trusted and loyal root vegetables with a certain amount of lightness as the seasons start their slow transition.

I’m not saying goodbye to soups and comfort foods just yet, but I want to revamp them with some much-needed freshness.

That means throwing in more greens and a few less starches and grains. Dishes become hybrids that don’t fit into a single category.

I consider it a small victory when I can skip peeling any root vegetable. Fortunately, the skin on squash softens up enough as it roasts making it easy to eat.

Eliminating steps from my to-do list is always a good thing.

Acorn Squash Chickpea Quinoa

With the oven preheated, I halved an acorn squash and scooped out the seeds. Then I cut it into thick wedges, tossed them with olive oil, salt and pepper and arranged them in a single layer on a sheet pan.

While the squash roasted, I made a small batch of tri-colored quinoa and folded in a spoon of arugula pesto.  

Alternate / non-basil pestos are an easy way to add herby flavor to pretty much any dish. I always makes sure to have at least one jar in my fridge at all times. 

Once the squash wedges were tender and golden, I arranged them on a platter and spooned the quinoa on top and in between all the gaps. 

I stirred more of the pesto into a bowl of chickpeas and added them and some arugula to squash.

It’s tough to say whether this acorn squash chickpea quinoa is a salad, side or vegetarian main.  Count it as all three!


Acorn Squash Chickpea Quinoa

Acorn Squash Chickpea Quinoa
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30-35 minutes
  • Total Time: 40-45 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4


For arugula pesto
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 cups arugula plus more for serving
1/4 cup walnuts
1 ounce grated Parmesan
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil

For acorn squash
1 acorn squash
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4  teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup tri-colored quinoa, rinsed
1 cup water
1-15 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon minced chives


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

For the arugula pesto, mince the garlic cloves in a food processor. Add the arugula, walnuts, Parmesan, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Puree the mixture and while the motor is running, drizzle the olive oil through the feeder tube until fully combined.

Cut off the top and bottom of an acorn squash and then halve it lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and discard. Slice the acorn squash into 1-inch thick wedges and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Arrange the squash slices in a single layer on a sheet pan. Roast the squash for 30-35 minutes until tender.

For the quinoa, combine the quinoa and water in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes until the grains are cooked. Let stand for 5 minutes before fluffing with a fork. Stir 1 tablespoon pesto into the quinoa.

In a small bowl, stir 1 tablespoon pesto into the chickpeas.

Arrange the squash wedges on a platter. Spoon the quinoa and chickpeas in between the squash and on top of it. Scatter a handful of arugula and the chives over the squash before serving.

You can also spoon on additional pesto. Extra pesto can be stored in a jar in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.


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