Do you hear the call for fall cooking? This gluten-free acorn squash recipe bursts with flavor and packs a nutritious punch as a one-dish meal. Read on to learn how to prepare this unique cool-weather recipe.
Hearty side dish or stand-alone meal-what makes this gluten-free acorn squash recipe so healthy?
While acorn squash is technically a fruit, most people think of it as a starchy vegetable. It is naturally low in fat, moderate in carbohydrates, and high in fiber.
Plus, it has a generally mild to sweet flavor, so it doesn't overpower the additional ingredients.
Adding quinoa and kale pumps up the nutrition even more, while the Italian turkey sausage adds flavor to this hearty, reduced-fat, gluten-free dish.
Acorn Squash is a nutritious base
Nutrient breakdown of 1 cup of cooked acorn squash
Carbohydrate 30 grams
Fiber 9 grams
Protein 2 grams
30% of daily needs for Vitamin A, C, and Thiamin
If your goal is weight loss, consider swapping winter squash such as acorn, butternut, or spaghetti squash for pasta or rice in your favorite recipes. Winter squash contains half the calories of brown rice and three times the fiber!
One serving = 1/2 of acorn squash stuffed with ~ 1/2 cup of filling
Calories: 267 calories, 11g fat, 35g carbohydrate, 7g of fiber, 12.5g protein per serving.
2 medium acorn squash about 4 inches in diameter
1/3 cup of cooked quinoa
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium leek, diced small
6 ounces Italian style turkey sausage
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 small cloves of garlic
3 cups of fresh kale, chopped
1/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/8 cup chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and set aside.
Thoroughly rinse off two medium-sized acorn squash. Cut each squash in half and scoop out seeds and pulp. Save the seeds for roasting if you want. See how below.
Place each squash half flesh side down on a prepared cookie sheet.
Bake squash about 30 minutes, until tender enough to pierce flesh easily with a fork.
Remove hot squash from the cookie sheet and flip it over, placing it on a cutting board to cool.
While squash is cooking
Prepare quinoa, following package instructions. It should take about 20 minutes to cook. You only need 1/3 cup of cooked quinoa for this recipe, so store any extra in the refrigerator or freezer for later.
Dice leeks and saute in a medium skillet in olive oil over medium heat for 6 minutes. Be careful not to burn the leeks.
Add the turkey sausage to the skillet; crumble and cook thoroughly for about 8-10 minutes.
Add fresh-ground black pepper, crushed garlic, kale, and chicken broth. Stir well and cover to cook about 5-7 minutes until the kale wilts.
Stir in 1/3 cup of cooked quinoa to kale and turkey mixture and divide the filling among the four squash halves about 1/2 cup each.
In a small bowl, stir walnuts and parmesan cheese together. Sprinkle the topping evenly on top of each stuffed squash.
Return the squash to the oven to melt the parmesan cheese and rewarm the squash for about 10 minutes, watching it closely. Serve warm.
Prepare quinoa in large batches. This and other cooked grains can be safely stored for up to six months in the freezer. Defrost portions as needed.
Sautee the stuffing ingredients ahead of time. Store in the refrigerator until ready to stuff and reheat in the squash.
Cook a large batch of turkey sausage in advance and freeze in 6-ounce servings. Thaw it at least a few hours before cooking the meal and it is ready to add to the stuffing.
Bake the squash in advance and store it in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. When ready to make the dish, prepare other ingredients, stuff into squash, and reheat in a foil-covered dish, for about 20-30 minutes at 350F.
Craving crunch? Roast your acorn squash seeds using this recipe from Cookie + Kate for roasted pumpkin seeds
Be sure to log the seeds in MyNetDiary. In general, one-half ounce (about 3.5 tablespoons) of roasted acorn squash seeds without added oil has 63 calories, 3g fat, 8g carbohydrate, and 3g protein. It is easy to upload recipes such as this one for accurate tracking.
Access this gluten-free acorn squash recipe in MyNetDiary's Premium recipe collection. Upgrading to Premium provides access to over 700 dietitian-approved recipes already entered into the app. Enjoy!