Acorn squash is high in both vitamin C and magnesium – containing nearly 25% of your daily recommended intake in 1 cup. Magnesium is involved in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body, making it a very important mineral. Magnesium also contributes to the structural development of bone and studies have linked adequate magnesium intakes to lower rates of heart disease in adults. In addition to acorn squash’s nutrition power, the spinach also contributes a plethora of nutrients including more than 30% of your recommended intake of; vitamin C, A, K, folate, magnesium and iron in 1 cup. This low calorie recipe is heart healthy with almost all of the fat being from unsaturated (heart healthy) sources. In addition this recipe contains 22% of your daily recommended fiber intake. Fiber helps block the absorption of cholesterol and high intakes of fiber have been linked to lower rates of obesity, many cancers and heart disease.
- 1 large acorn squash halved and seeded
- ¼ pound ground chicken
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ of a yellow or sweet onion diced
- 1 large carrot diced
- 1 large celery rib diced
- 1 tsp chopped fresh sage
- 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
- ½ cup sliced mushrooms
- ½ of a package (drained and thawed) frozen spinach
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese
- Lemon juice to top
- Optional: can add 1/3 cup cooked quinoa or wheat berries or 1/3 cup cooked white cannellini beans at step 3 or can substitute one of the above (for the chicken) to make it a vegetarian dish.
- Cut each acorn squash in half and scoop out the seeds.
- Brush the squash with olive oil.
- Set squash on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a large sauté pan over medium/high heat cook carrots, onion, mushrooms and celery in oil until tender (about 2-3 minutes).
- Add the chicken to the pan and brown the chicken until cooked (about 3 minutes).
- Deglaze the pan with the white wine.
- Add the thawed and drained spinach, thyme, sage, oregano and salt and pepper, to taste.
- Stirring constantly, heat mixture thoroughly, approximately 2 to 3 minutes until most of the liquid is re-absorbed.
- Note: make sure that the thawed spinach is drained as much as possible to avoid extra liquid in the pan. This can be done by squeezing it with a paper towel once thawed.
- Remove from the heat.
- Divide the mixture evenly among the squash halves and top with parmesan cheese.
- Bake until tender (about 30 minutes).
- Squeeze a little lemon on top. Serve immediately.
Recipe makes: 2 servings; per serving: 400 calories, 24g fat, 34g carbohydrate (6.5g fiber), 19g protein