By Jenna Leland, Dietetic Intern [University of Minnesota – Fairview]
Eating local doesn’t need to end when the snow flies! Various types of squash can be found in stores and restaurants in Minnesota. One popular squash variety is acorn squash, which is a green color on the outside and shaped like an acorn.
There are many different ways that you can prepare acorn squash, including roasting or pureeing. This acorn squash dish goes above and beyond the basics and incorporates grains, vegetables and a touch of sweetness for a well-rounded meal, and to warm you up on a chilly day.
Not only does this dish taste delicious, it’s also very nutritious. Acorn squash contains beta-carotene, which is an antioxidant that gets converted to vitamin A in our bodies. Vitamin A is essential for healthy eyes, skin and bones. Additionally, acorn squash is an excellent source of fiber and is rich in vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese, and magnesium.
Stuffed Acorn Squash
Adapted from emilyjgoodman.com
Makes 2 servings
- 1 acorn squash
- Dash of salt and pepper
- 1 cup cooked long grain and wild rice blend
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- ¼ cup yellow onion, diced
- ½ cup mushrooms, diced
- 1 cup baby spinach
- ½ cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
For the baked squash:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Cut the acorn squash in half and remove seeds. Using a sharp knife, score the inside of the squash in a crisscross pattern.
- Place the squash cut side down in a baking dish with ¼ inch of water in the bottom.
- Bake for 50 minutes.
While squash is cooking:
- Cook the rice blend according to package directions.
- When there is 15 minutes left of cooking time on the squash, heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat.
- Cook onions and mushrooms until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the spinach, 1 cup cooked rice, black beans, and dried cranberries. Let cook for several minutes until spinach is wilted and beans are hot.
- Season with a dash of salt and pepper.
- Remove the squash from oven and let cool for a few minutes.
- Flip squash over and fill each with the mushroom, spinach, and rice mixture.
- Serve immediately.
- An acorn squash is ripe when it turns dark green in color and the part that has been touching the ground changes from yellow to orange.
- Try adding any other ingredients into the mixture that sound appealing to you. You can use quinoa or pasta if you don’t have brown rice. Most types of veggies will work well in this dish.
- To decrease sodium content, try preparing the dish without adding salt. Consider using seasonings such as cumin, cayenne, paprika, oregano, garlic, or sage instead of salt.
Per serving: 340 calories, 4g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 12g protein, 71g carbohydrates, 12g fiber, 220 mg sodium