Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe
This is a deliciously savory dish using the full and nutty flavor of acorn squash that can be eaten as the main dish or enjoyed as a hearty side dish along with your favorite entree. This recipe would make a fabulous addition to your Thanksgiving feast!
Acorn squash is a small variety of winter squash named for its resemblance to a large acorn. Its firm, yellow-orange flesh has a mellow, sweet and nutty flavor. Although they are considered a winter squash in terms of seasonality and the time when they are eaten or reach maturity, they actually belong to the same species as summer squashes.
Acorn squash, like most other squash varieties, can be baked, sautéed, steamed, or stuffed and pairs well in dishes containing bacon, garlic, maple syrup, or spices such as sage or nutmeg.
Acorn squash is more nutrient-dense than any of its other summer squash relatives, making it an invaluable part of a healthy and balanced diet. Let’s take a closer look and find out what makes it so wonderful.
A GREAT SOURCE OF ANTIOXIDANTS
Acorn squash is loaded with antioxidants, these compounds protect against cellular damage. Diets high in antioxidants have been shown to reduce your risk of various chronic conditions, such as heart disease and certain cancers.
It’s particularly rich in plant pigments called carotenoids, which have powerful antioxidant effects. In fact, after carrots, acorn squash is the densest source of the carotenoid alpha-carotene. Diets rich in the carotenoids found in acorn squash may help protect against type 2 diabetes, lung cancer, mental decline, and eye-related disorders.
PROMOTES DIGESTIVE HEALTH
Acorn squash is packed with both soluble and insoluble fiber. Both of which play important roles in digestive health. Insoluble fiber adds bulk to your stools while soluble fiber softens them, preventing constipation and supporting regular bowel movements.
Both types of fiber also aid in the health of your microbiome. Having a healthy gut microbiome strengthens your immune system and protects against constipation, colorectal cancer and (IBS) irritable bowel syndrome.
MAY PROTECT AGAINST CERTAIN DISEASES
Adding acorn squash, or increasing the intake of any vegetables, to your diet is a smart way to protect your overall health, as increasing your vegetable intake may lower your risk of many chronic diseases.
STUFFED ACORN SQUASH RECIPE
- 1 c wild rice
- 2 acorn squash
- 2 T coconut oil
- ½ c quinoa
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ¼ c leeks, chopped (white part only)
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- ¼ t thyme
- ¼ t marjoram
- ½ c dried cranberries, unsweetened, chopped
- ¼ c raw pecans, chopped
- ½ t sea salt
- ¼ t pepper
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Prepare wild rice by rinsing thoroughly. In a medium saucepan bring 3 cups water and rice to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered for about 60 minutes, until water is absorbed.
- Prepare the squash by cutting in half lengthwise and scooping out the seeds. Place squash halves on a baking sheet skin side down. Use 1 Tbsp. coconut oil and brush on inside of the squash and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes.
- Prepare the quinoa by rinsing thoroughly and placing in a small saucepan with ¾ cup water. Bring to a boil. Cover reduce heat to a simmer and cook 15 minutes.
- Heat a medium-sized frying pan over medium heat add 1 Tbsp. coconut oil, garlic, leeks, celery sauté until soft. Stir in the seasonings, pecans, and cranberries and sauté 2 more minutes.
- In a mixing bowl combine the sautéed mixture, 1 cup prepared wild rice and 1 cup prepared quinoa. Scoop into squash and serve.
- Try adding your favorite nuts (we love pine nuts in this recipe) for an extra crunch.
- Not a fan of cranberries? Try apples!
- Looking for more protein, add sausage.
As you can see, acorn squash is a no-brainer when it comes to eating healthier in the fall and winter months! Do you have a favorite squash recipe? Share it with us in the comments below!