The end of October, a time for tricks and treats, is dominated by an iconic orange gourd. But we’re trying something different, flying in the face of Big Pumpkin to see what its close relatives have to offer. And with sensational Southwestern tastes, this stuffed squash recipe may very well become a new reason to embrace the spooky season.
Starting with a foundation of acorn squash, this dish is full of vitamins and other nutrients. Black beans and ground lean turkey provide a one-two punch of protein, set off by warm touches of chili, cumin, and garlic. Limited fat and cholesterol contents make this recipe a heart-happy choice, and seeking out no- or low-sodium canned ingredients further helps to keep salt intake low.
Stick-to-Your-Bones Stuffed Squash
Servings: 6 | Time: Less than 2 Hours
3 acorn squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeds scraped out
5 ounces lean ground turkey
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 bell pepper, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 can (15-ounce) no salt added diced tomatoes, drained
1 can (15-ounce) no salt added black beans, drained
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Prepare a large baking sheet with a light application of cooking spray. Place squash halves on the baking sheet with cut sides down, then bake about 45 minutes, until tender.
- While the squash halves are baking, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook turkey for 3 – 5 minutes, until lightly browned. Add onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring frequently, for an additional 3 – 5 minutes, until softened. Stir in garlic, chili powder, and cumin for about 1 minute. Add the drained tomatoes and beans, stirring to incorporate. Reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook 10 – 12 minutes, until tomatoes break down.
- Remove the tender squash from the oven and reduce heat to 325°F. Turn each half cut-side up and fill with turkey and bean mixture. Return the baking sheet to the oven and bake for an additional 8 – 10 minutes.
- Let stand to cool, then serve with a fork or spoon to scoop out the cooked squash and filling. Enjoy!
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
Calories: 214; Total Fat: 2.1 g; Saturated Fat: 0.5 g; Cholesterol: 14.6 mg; Sodium: 325 mg; Carbohydrates: 41.2 g; Sugars: 4.6 g; Fiber: 9.8 g; Protein: 11.4 g
- Because most canned foods contain diet-busting amounts of sodium, it’s important to make sure that your canned beans and tomatoes specify low or no sodium, or ‘no added salt.’ As an alternative, you can rinse canned vegetables thoroughly to reduce the amount of salt in the dish. To lower sodium levels even further, use less chili powder.
- You can garnish this dish with a little fresh cilantro, or sprinkle on some shredded cheddar cheese. Remember that any additions can alter your calorie and nutrient counts — especially a high-fat option such as cheese.
- Try adding a grain to further round out your meal. Quinoa is an ancient grain that pairs well with lots of flavors and can be prepared on the stovetop. Bonus: quinoa cooks quicker than brown rice, and has huge nutritional advantages over white or instant rice.