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Stuffed Squash

October 10, 2011

By Brianne Harrison

Squash is everywhere this time of year, and although you may be sick of seeing it, hopefully you aren’t tired of eating it yet (especially since it may prolong your life). Squash is packed with nutrients and antioxidants that can help keep you healthy throughout the cold, flu, and stress season that is the month of December. Stuffed with a hearty mixture of sausage and wild rice or some other grain medley, it makes a delicious meal all on its own, and an easy one, too, if you have some already-cooked leftover rice!

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Serves: 4

2 medium acorn squash, halved lengthwise, seeds removed*

3T grapeseed or vegetable oil

2 tsp cinnamon

½ yellow onion, diced

4 stalks celery, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

3 sprigs thyme, stripped of leaves

2 cups cooked wild rice mix or other grain medley

½ cup cooked turkey sausage, crumbled**

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Brush the insides of the squash with a light coating of oil, and sprinkle with cinnamon. Place the squash cut side up on a baking sheet and roast until fork tender, about 25-30 minutes.

While the squash is roasting, heat a little olive oil in a frying pan on the stove and sauté the onion until it turns a creamy color, about 1-2 minutes. Add the celery and carrots and cook until they start to soften, about 6 minutes. Season to taste, and add the thyme leaves. Cook for another minute, until fragrant.

Remove pan from the heat and mix the vegetables with the rice and sausage.

Divide the filling between the acorn halves and return the stuffed squash to the oven. Roast for a further 20-25 minutes, until the squash is softened (but not mushy) and the filling is heated through.

Serve with a side salad or sautéed greens.

*Rinse the seeds and keep them for roasting later

**If you prefer to make a vegetarian version of this dish, replace the sausage with a cup of cooked lentils, tofu, or nuts such as pecans (great for wild rice medleys) or walnuts.

Healthy Roundup:

As I mentioned earlier, squash is a nutritional powerhouse. A cup of it provides a whopping 145% of your recommended daily value of vitamin A, and it’s also high in Vitamin C, potassium, fiber, manganese, folate, omega 3 fatty acids, thiamin, copper, and several B vitamins, all while being fairly low in calories. Squash is also rich in beta-cryptocanthin, a carotenoid that’s been found to have cancer-preventing properties, and beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant that can help prevent the oxidation of cholesterol in the body, which contributes to the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Wild rice (which is actually a marsh grass, not a rice at all) is high in fiber and protein and low in calories and fat. It contains phosphorus, potassium, and B vitamins, as well as vitamin E, folic acid, and antioxidants. In a face off with health-food-lover favorite brown rice, wild rice is found to have fewer calories per serving and fewer calories from fat while having more protein, vitamin E, and folate.

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