I was probably in grade five or six when I first learned what Celiac disease was. My Zhada was diagnosed with it, which at the time didn't mean much to me other than less challah at our Shabbat dinners. It wasn't until a few months after that when one of my best friends at the time, Nikki, was also diagnosed with the disease that I realized how much it can affect ones life. I witnessed Nikki's frustration at not being able to eat pizza at parties with all of her friends, or eat her moms amazing Israeli couscous salads that drove everyone wild at BBQ's, as well as watching her give in to temptation, and be faced with horrible, debilitating stomach pains for the remainder of her day. I thought it was so unusual that all of a sudden I knew two people who had this strange disease that was previously foreign to me. Being such a big food lover myself, with my favourite foods at the time being pasta, pizza, baguette, breaded chicken fingers, and pie (I swear I wasn't a fat kid) I couldn't understand how my Zhada and Nikki would be able to happily go about their days excluding these wonderful treats that I had taken for granted my whole life.
Now it seems you can't go through one day without hearing the words "gluten-free," with a huge spike in the Celiac population in Canada, and much greater access to gluten-free products. Although many people claim to be gluten intolerant (which recent research has shown is actually a fallacy), those actually struggling with Celiac disease have much more serious repercussions to going against a gluten-free diet such as the inability of your body to absorb important nutrients (such as protein, fat, carbohydrates, and minerals) as well as symptoms such as anemia, chronic diarrhea, weight loss, fatigue, cramps, bloating, and irritability. Not fun.
For the month of May the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness has declared it to be Celiac Awareness Month to spread information, tips, recipes, and more all about the disease that now affects 1 in 133 persons in Canada. To take part in this health-focused month, Campbell's Canada challenged select Canadian food bloggers to help raise awareness for Celiac disease, by creating a unique, gluten-free recipe featuring their newly launched No Salt Added Ready To Use Vegetable Broth (that is of course, gluten-free!). Campbell's generously sent myself and the rest of the bloggers participating their brand new broth for us to play around with, and create something we would be proud to share and serve to our Celiac friends and family. After much thought and research I finally came up with a recipe for Quinoa-Stuffed Butternut Squash with sauteed spinach, onions, sage, ricotta, and Parmesan cheese that I knew anyone (Celiac or not!) would go wild for! This is a great side dish to serve at parties thanks to its large portions and striking presentation, and is a cinch to prepare!
To encourage readers and at-home cooks to play around with their own gluten-free recipes, Campbell's has been kind enough to provide me with coupons for FREE cartons of their No Salt Added Ready To Use Vegetable Broth for me to give out to my readers! Want to get your hands on some free Campbell's broth? The first 25 readers to comment on this post will have a coupon sent directly to them*! #CampbellsGlutenFree #promo
*Coupons will only be sent within Ontario.
1 medium/large butternut squash
olive oil for roasting & frying
1 cup quinoa
2 cups Campbell's No Salt Added Ready To Use Vegetable Broth
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 handfuls baby spinach
4 heaping tbsp ricotta cheese
2 sage leaves, very finely chopped
salt & white pepper to season
about 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 350º. Using a sharp knife, carefully cut vertically down the centre of the butternut squash. Rub exposed flesh with olive oil and place, cut side down on a baking sheet. Bake for 40-60 minutes, or until fork tender. Cool until ready to handle.
- In the last half hour of the squash baking, prepare the filling. Add quinoa to a medium pot and add the Campbell's vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, reduce to low, cover and cook for 15-minutes. Turn off heat and let stand for 5-minutes. Fluff with a fork.
- In a medium sauté pan, heat about 1 tbsp of olive oil. Add the onion and cook until translucent and softened. Add the garlic and spinach and stir. Cover with a lid and steam for 1-2 minutes, or until spinach has wilted. Remove from heat.
- Carefully cut a 1/2-inch border around the inside of the butternut squash flesh, and scoop out flesh inside (leaving just enough to allow the squash to stand up and act as a carrier for the quinoa filling). Add the scooped out flesh to the cooked quinoa and combine with a fork while mashing the squash.
- Add the onion and spinach mixture, ricotta, and sage to the quinoa mixture. Stir to combine. Taste and season with salt and white pepper as needed. Taste again and season once more if needed. Fill hallowed out squash shells evenly with quinoa mixture and top with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until re-heated. Serve immediately.
Misun - Eli Eli