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Gluten-Free Vegan Stuffed Acorn Squash with Kale, Quinoa and Cranberries

This hearty, delicious recipe is sure to delight your family and friends. A gluten-free grain, quinoa is high in protein, heart-healthy fiber, disease-fighting antioxidants and a bounty of essential minerals and nutrients. A recent study suggests that quinoa supports metabolic health, while also helping to lower blood sugar and triglycerides. Nutrients in cranberries help lower blood pressure, while kale is called “the queen of vegetables” because of its wide array of health benefits, including fighting the inflammation that can spark heart attacks and strokes.

2 medium acorn squash, halved and seeded
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
3/4 cup quinoa
12 ounces low-sodium vegetable broth
1 bunch kale, chopped with stems removed
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried or fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon black pepper (plus additional for baking squash)
15 ounce can of low-sodium chickpeas, rinsed and drained
Zest of one orange, plus 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1/3 cup unsweetened dried cranberries
4 tablespoons chopped parsley (for garnish)

Preheat oven to 400°. Place acorn squash halves in baking pan, cut sides up. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil and season with pepper. Bake until fork-tender, about 50 minutes. Set aside to cool and lower oven temperature to 375°. Meanwhile, bring broth to a boil in a small pot. Add quinoa and return to a boil. Cover and simmer over low heat for 12 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 15 minutes. Heat remaining teaspoon of olive oil in a large frying pan. Add kale and cook over medium heat until wilted, about 4 minutes. Add garlic, oregano and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Reduce heat to medium low and cook for one minute. Remove from heat and add chickpeas, orange zest and juice, cooked quinoa and cranberries. Mix well. When squash halves are cool enough to handle, stuff with the kale-quinoa mixture. Bake for 10 minutes at 375°. Garnish with parsley and enjoy! Serves four.