Get excited. Wave your hands in the air. Shout yippeee! I am about to share with you my favorite recipe yet! I realize that I probably have already said this about recipes I’ve tried and probably will continue to say it, but in this moment, at this time, I swear this is my new fav dinner recipe.
I’ve always been a huge fan of acorn squash but I had never tried cooking it because it sort of intimidated me. Well, let’s be honest, cooking outside of my small box in general intimidated me. But that has all changed for the better people, and I love to share my culinary accomplishments with all of you!
This recipe was raved about by a local dietitian I worked with in an outpatient rotation. She told me it was a must-try! I had to do a little tweaking with the recipe though to make it veggie-friendly. The original recipe calls for turkey sausage but I substituted it with Smart Ground veggie protein crumbles. Feel free to try it either way depending on your preferences!
Southwestern Stuffed Acorn Squash (found at EatingWell.com)
Yield: 6 servings
- 3 acorn squash, (3/4-1 pound each)
- 5 ounces bulk turkey sausage (or 1 pkg Smart Ground veggie protein crumbles)
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1/2 medium red bell pepper,chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 cups chopped cherry tomatoes
- 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed (see Tip)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Several dashes hot red pepper sauce, to taste
- 1 cup shredded Swiss cheese (I used Trader Joe’s shredded Mexican blend)
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
- Cut squash in half horizontally. Scoop out and discard seeds. Place the squash cut-side down on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until tender, about 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, lightly coat a large skillet with cooking spray; heat over medium heat. Add sausage (or Smart Ground) and cook, stirring and breaking up with a wooden spoon, until lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Add onion and bell pepper; cook, stirring often, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in garlic, chili powder and cumin; cook for 30 seconds. Stir in tomatoes, beans, salt and hot sauce, scraping up any browned bits. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until the tomatoes are broken down, 10 to 12 minutes.
- When the squash are tender, reduce oven temperature to 325°. Fill the squash halves with the turkey (0r veggie cumble) mixture. Top with cheese. Place on the baking sheet and bake until the filling is heated through and the cheese is melted, 8 to 10 minutes.
*Note: This nutritional analysis is for the original recipe, not for my own variations
This recipe is my new fav because the flavors totally blew my mind! The squash has a sweet undertone which contrasts soooo nicely with the southwestern spicy flare. It’s pretty awesome, and to believe me you’ll just have to try it out and experience it for yourself. I bought only one acorn squash to make for myself but then I made all the filling (too lazy to do all the math 🙂 ). So I froze the filling and then used it to make some delicious veggie quesadillas later on. For these, I simply did a little skillet action with whole wheat tortillas, topped with some shredded Mexican blend cheese and then served with salsa. Yay for being creative with my leftovers!
So, What’s the Scoop on Acorn Squash?
- A winter squash named for its acorn-like shape.
- Found in a variety of colors, including dark green, yellow, tan, and orange.
- Select acorn squash that are dull and heavy for their size. Avoid squash with spots or cracks!
- Store in a cool, dry area. Can stay fresh for up to 3 months!
But, What’s So Special about Acorn Squash?
- Packed with Vitamins A and C, lovely antioxidants that protect us from chronic disease!
- Vitamin A keeps our skin glowing, our teeth strong, and our eyesight 20/20 vision!
- Vitamin C is important for wound healing, and for keeping our immune system strong to fight off that pesky common cold!
- A good source of…you ready for all this nutrition goodness?…potassium, calcium, magnesium, folate, iron, and fiber! Yup! You can find all those vitamins and minerals just in acorn squash!
- Are you thinking, yeah, but I want some numbers, how much are we talkin? Well, one cup of acorn squash has 9 grams of fiber and 895 mg of potassium!
- A medium-sized acorn squash has only 172 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 13 mg sodium, 45 grams carbohydrate and 3 grams protein.