I'll be honest; squash rarely works for my family. Someone usually cringes at the sound of the word "squash". But squash symbolizes fall and it's one of the most nutritious veggies I know. So I gently urge - "force-feed" - them to try this wonderful gem of the earth at least once a season.
Look at this bin of farm fresh squashes, yearning for me to take home! I picked up a few of each at $1 per piece (what a deal!) Silver Kettle Farm in upstate NY in October. And they are still in great shape! ...another reason why I love squashes - they keep well for a long time.
Acorn Squash: Nutrition Packed Powerhouse
Acorn squash is loaded with Vit A, Vitamin B6, Magnesium, and folate. It's a good source for dietary fiber, Vitamin C, Potassium, Thiamin, and Manganese. It also has a decent amount of Omega 3 and 6 but has no fat, no cholesterol and low in carbs. Read HERE for more nutrition info. But it's not just the nutrition why I like acorn squash. It cooks well and it plates well too. You can cook the entire squash or you can cut them up and use in recipes. It's very versatile.
Like I said above, while the word "squash" doesn't exactly make my family salivate, this Acorn Squash Stuffed with Wild Rice, Apples and Raisins is their favorite recipe. I love stuffing the squash with rice because wild rice is unprocessed, nutritionally dense grain. Remember my Wild Rice and Garden Veggies Frittata as a main dish? Well, wild rice works great as a side dish or as a stuffing too. I normally buy my wild rice from Whole Foods' bulk bins but I've bought Lundberg Organic Wild Rice before and I like it just as much.
Back to squash stuffing, the best thing about making the stuffing is that you can vary the ingredients to modify the recipe to your taste, like I did. You can add some fruits like apples for added texture or walnuts or pine nuts for protein to the stuffing or you can add whatever you like! Have fun with it!
Acorn Squash Stuffed with Wild Rice, Apples & Raisins
- 2 acorn squash halved
- 2-3 cups cooked wild rice. (Soak the rice overnight and cook the next day as directed.)
- 2 celery stalks chopped
- 2 large carrots chopped
- 1 small onion chopped
- 1 granny smith apple diced with skin on. (any apples will do, really, but hard apples are best)
- 2 garlic clove minced
- 2 tablespoon butter (Or olive oil for vegan version)
- 2 Tbp Olive Oil (for brushing the top)
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon chopped ginger
- ¼ C raisins
- 1 teaspoon Sea Salt
- Maple Syrup to drizzle when eating
- Preheat oven to 400ºF.
- Wash the squash really well on the outside.
- With a sharp knife, cut them in halves and put them in a baking dish, flesh side up.
- Brush the flesh side with olive oil. Sprinkle pinches of sea salt.
- Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes or until the flesh is soft when poked with a fork.
- While squash is in the oven, melt the butter and sauté the veggies in medium high heat for about 5-7 minutes or until onions are translucent.
- Add spices and the wild rice. Sauté and mix well.
- Take the pan off the heat and add apples and raisins and quickly mix. Crunchy apples add texture so all you want to do is to mix them in and let the warm temperature of the rice cook them just enough.
- Add salt to taste.
- When the squash is done, remove the pan from the oven but don't turn off the oven.
- Stuff each squash with the wild rice mixture.
- Put the pan back in the oven for 10 minutes or so.
- Plate each acorn in a shallow soup bowl, drizzle with maple syrup and serve immediately. Enjoy!
P.S. Some people eat the skin and some people don't. Skin is totally edible. That's why you had to wash it thoroughly.