I’m so excited to share with you my latest fall masterpiece – Stuffed Acorn Squash!  This is a perfect addition to your Thanksgiving meal repertoire.  It’s healthy and delicious … but best of all, it’s not difficult!

Acorn squash is a winter squash that’s also called “pepper squash” or “Des Moines squash”.  Although it’s considered a winter squash, it belongs to the same species as summer squash.  Interesting…

It’s not as rich in beta-carotene as other winter squashes, but it’s a great source of dietary fiber & potassium.  It’s also got a bit of vitamins B, C, magnesium, and manganese.   The other good news is that it’s low in calories and fat – so enjoy!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 medium-sized acorn squash
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 pound ground pork (or you can use chicken, turkey, or beef)
  • 1 small bunch of parsley, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • Crushed red pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Cut the acorn squash from top to bottom (stem to bottom) – so NOT as pictured below.  I wasn’t sure which way to cut it, so I experimented and tried both ways.  Stem to bottom is definitely the way to go!  Remove the seeds.
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Score the insides so it cooks thoroughly.  Place in a baking dish with sides and fill the pan up with about 1 inch of water.  Sprinkle the squash with a little olive oil and salt & pepper.  Place in the oven for about 1 hour.

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While the squash is cooking, cook 1/2 cup of brown rice according to the package.  I really like this brown basmati rice from Trader Joe’s.

image[6]While the brown rice is cooking, chop up the parsley, garlic, and onions.
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In a large pan, sauté 3 tablespoons of olive oil, the garlic, onions, crushed red pepper, and a dash of salt & pepper for about 3-4 minutes until they are soft, tender, and slightly golden.  image[9]

Add in the ground pork.  Again, you can use pork, chicken, turkey, or even beef!  We like pork because it’s healthy and lean, but something different from chicken.   Season with salt & pepper to taste – I recommend kosher salt (probably about a small handful).  image[8]

Let it cook until it is no longer pink – so about 5-8 minutes, stirring frequently.  Whatever meat you use, make sure that the meat is browned all the way through.  Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and cooked rice.  image[10] Stir thoroughly.  image[11]After 1 hour, take the acorn squash out of the oven and check that the squash is cooked enough by pricking the side with a fork.  The squash should be really soft.  If it’s still a little hard, sprinkle with a little more olive oil and put back in the oven for 15 minutes.  If it’s soft, let cool.
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Then you’ll want to scrape the squash out of the shell as best as you can, but try hard to keep the shell in tact.  Put the inside of the squash into the pan with your pork mixture and mix again.

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Next, scoop the pork/rice/squash mixture into the shells.  Stuff as much of the mixture in as you can.  image[13] Garnish with a little more parsley on top and if you’d like, even a little parmesan cheese.  image[14] image[15]image[17]Enjoy this awesome fall meal!

-Cristina