This week, local blogger, Jeanette's Healthy Living paid tribute to the season with a roundup of great recipes featuring Winter Squash. Growing winter squash can be done well into the winter, thus the name. These are hardy vegetables that can be found locally throughout the winter into the spring. Plus, they are a Power Food.
Winter squash comes in all different shapes, sizes and colors and I’ve started to see more at our local farmer’s market. I’ve tried the more common pumpkin, acorn squash and butternut squash, as well as spaghetti squash, kabocha squash, buttercup squash, (similar to kabocha), and delicata squash, and I’d love to get my hands on a blue Hokkaido pumpkin, a hubbard squash, or a red Kuri pumpkin.
I love using small winter squashes as bowls for serving soups and pilafs. They’re so elegant plus they’re edible!
So what makes Winter Squash a Power Food? They’re packed with beta-carotene (which your body converts to vitamin A) and vitamin C, plus they’re high in fiber, manganese, potassium, folate, vitamin K and vitamin B6. Winter squash’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds are believed to have potential in the area of cancer prevention and cancer treatment, as well as the prevention of cardiovascular disease.
To help get you started, I put together a roundup of 50+ Healthy Winter Squash recipes – Enjoy!
Roasted Acorn Squash Stuffed With Quinoa Mushroom Pilaf
This Acorn Squash Stuffed With Quinoa Mushroom Pilaf is pretty enough to serve to company, and provides a nice healthy addition to any Thanksgiving spread. It is such a versatile recipe – you can add your favorite ingredients for stuffing, such as chestnuts or butternut squash. Even some lentils would be nice to add a bit of protein. Not only can this be enjoyed as a main course by your vegan friends, but non-vegans will want a spoonful of this too. They might even take a scoop of it instead of more stuffing, and feel better for it…more room for pumpkin pie.
Roasted Acorn Squash Ingredients:
- 3 medium acorn squash, halved lengthwise, seeds removed
- olive oil for brushing acorn squash
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Brush tops and inside of squash cavity lightly with olive oil. Season lightly with salt.
- Roast in oven until fork tender, about 45 minutes to an hour. Roasting time will depend on the size of your squash.
- Remove from oven and set aside.
Quinoa Pilaf Ingredients:
- 2 tablespooons olive oil, divided
- 1 onion, finely chopped, divided
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed well and drained
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 cups mushrooms, finely chopped
- 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 4 sage leaves, minced
- 1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- salt and pepper, to taste
- While acorn squash is roasting, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a saucepan. Add half the onion and cook until softened, about 2-3 minutes. Add the quinoa, broth, water and thyme, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and cook, covered, until liquid has been absorbed, about 15-20 minutes.
- In a skillet, heat remaining tablespoon of oil, and add rest of onion, mushrooms, celery and sage. Saute until vegetables are soft and no more liquid from mushrooms remains.
- Toss mushroom mixture with cooked quinoa, along with pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Stuff acorn squash halves with Quinoa Pilaf.