This quinoa stuffed acorn squash is nutritious and satisfying! It contains several of my favorite ingredients in the kitchen: quinoa (an ancient grain), kale, and lean ground turkey. Plus, this recipe is gluten free, each serving contains 3 veggie servings and the dish is rich in fiber and protein. Enjoy it as a stand alone meal or alongside a salmon fillet or garden fresh salad. Bonus- it reheats well so you can cook once and eat twice!
I tend to prepare a lot of acorn squash and butternut squash recipes for dinner. Squash is a versatile whole food that can be spiralized, cubed, stuffed, etc. Acorn squash is a healthy carbohydrate option as it is rich in beta carotene, vitamin B6, dietary fiber, vitamin C, magnesium and potassium. Compared to other common winter squashes, acorn squash has a milder flavor making it a bit more versatile in the kitchen. And in addition to being healthy, it also hits home with that satisfying texture of traditional comfort food. If you are on the lookout for an acorn squash recipe that is gluten free, a good source of protein and pretty darn satisfying then look no further!
How to make quinoa stuffed acorn squash
Yield: 4 servings. 1 serving = 1/2 of an acorn squash stuffed with ~ 1/2 cup of filling
2 medium acorn squash (cut vertically in 1/2 and remove all seeds)
Canola oil cooking spray
2 tsp olive oil
6 oz raw Italian flavored ground turkey
1 medium leek, diced into small pieces
Ground fresh black pepper to taste
2 small garlic cloves
3 cups fresh kale, chopped
1/3 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup cooked quinoa
1/8 cup chopped walnut pieces
2 T parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Rinse and clean 2 medium sized acorn squash with water. In general, raw squash is difficult to cut. Make sure you have a sharp knife available when cutting the squash in 1/2. I prefer an 8-inch chef's knife to cut the squash vertically. Make sure to stabilize the squash with one hand and cut with the other. To scoop the insides: I used a grapefruit spoon to scoop out the seeds and extra pulp.
After cutting the squash, place it flesh side down on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
Bake squash until tender, about 30 minutes. You will know the squash is cooked when a fork is able to completely pierce the flesh.
Using a sturdy spatula, remove hot squash from cookie sheet and flip over, placing it on a cutting board to cool.
While squash is cooking
Prepare quinoa, following package instructions. It will take quinoa about 20 minutes to cook. I tend to measure out 1/2 cup water + 1/4 cup of dry quinoa + 1/2 tsp olive oil. This will produce a bit extra quinoa. I will save any leftover quinoa and add it to a green salad the next day for some extra texture.
While squash and quinoa are cooking, cook other ingredients to be stuffed inside the squash:
Saute leeks in 2 tsp of olive oil. This will take about 6 minutes until the diced leeks are tender. Be careful not to burn the leeks.
Add Italian flavored ground turkey to the skillet, crumble and cook thoroughly. This will take about 10 minutes. Stir frequently, to ensure turkey is cooked throughout.
Add crushed garlic, kale, fresh ground black pepper to taste and chicken broth, stir well and cover to cook. It should take about 5-7 minutes to wilt the kale.
Finally, mix in 1/3 cup of cooked quinoa to kale/turkey sauté.
Then divide the quinoa, kale, ground turkey filling and stuff inside each acorn squash. Each squash will take about 1/2 cup of filling.
Sprinkle even mixture of chopped walnuts and parmesan cheese on top of each stuffed squash.
Return squash to the oven to melt the parmesan cheese and rewarm the squash. This will take about 10 minutes on 375 degrees F.
This recipe (found under the name: acorn squash with quinoa and ground turkey) is one of 200+ dietitian approved recipes that will be available with the Premium membership this fall