Baked apples have always been a fun way to eat dessert. Each eater has her own contained serving filled with warm, oozing deliciousness. Why, I wondered, can’t we do the same with dinner? There are a few recipes out there, mostly stuffing an apple shell with onions and sausage and sage. But I was in search of something a little different. I couldn’t have been more surprised when my kids willingly came along on this journey, gobbling up their quinoa and saying things like: “You mean, tonight’s dinner is stuffed into something I actually want to eat?” The apple pairs nicely with the rice and quinoa, a mixture that will transport your taste buds straight to Thanksgiving stuffing. So, don’t let the lack of meat scare you. This recipe is one you’ll make again and again.
Makes 4-6 main meal servings
- 6-8 small apples (4 to 6 ounces each)
- 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 2/3 cup diced onion
- 1/2 cup walnuts, diced
- 1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary
- 1 Tbsp. fresh oregano
- 1 cup cooked brown rice
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup apple juice, cider or broth
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Slice the top off each apple and cut a thin slice off the bottom to help it stand straight. Core apples. Continue to scrape away at the inside of the apple with a melon baller or sharp-sided spoon until a shell about 1/3 of an inch remains. Place apple shells in 9×9 baking dish. Set aside apple innards to be used as part of the stuffing.
- Heat olive oil in cast iron Dutch oven. Add onion, walnuts and fresh herbs. Saute until onion is soft but not browned. Mix rice, quinoa and 1 cup apple pieces with the onion mixture in Dutch oven. Stir in salt and pepper.
- Spoon stuffing into apple shells. Pour apple juice into bottom of baking dish.
- Bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes. Serve warm, drizzled with pan juices.