As with so many of us, we used January as a time to reset our healthy eating habits. I feel like we really feel off the rails from Thanksgiving to New Year’s and by December 31, we both felt like rolly pollies! This month we have been focused on clean eating and dry January.
We were doing great with our clean eating until we had to go to New Jersey for my grandmother’s funeral. While it wasn’t unexpected, it wasn’t planned either. Needless to say, we took a detour on clean eating, as we couldn’t not have breakfast at the diner or enjoy a glass of wine in memory of my grandmother.
My grandmother was an excellent cook. She wasn’t a fancy cook, but everything she made tasted delicious. Maybe it was because love was always sprinkled in whatever she made. When I was living in New Jersey, we had dinner together weekly, where she would always send me home with a container of lentil or escarole and bean soup. She also made the best cheesecake! It never cracked, just like what you find in the dessert pastry counter at the diner or bakery.
Acorn squash is another versatile and healthy vegetable that, while is considered a winter vegetable, is grown and eaten year round. The health benefits of acorn squash make it a great clean eating food.
Health Benefits of Acorn Squash
- Boots immunity with vitamin C
- Help keep you eyes and skin healthy with vitamin A
- A single serving contains 9g of fiber – great for keeping blood sugar levels regulated
- Regulates blood pressure with high levels of potassium
- Keeps your bones strong with a wide variety of minerals, including calcium, magnesium, copper, and iron
This stuffed acorn squash recipe is delicious. I use two ground meats for additional flavor – beef and pork. If you don’t eat beef, blend turkey and pork; or just use one type of ground meat. The acorn squash may take up to 40 minutes to roast. I like to start with the squash face down. I check the squash at 15 minutes, where I flip it over and let it continue roasting for another 15-20 minutes.
This is a good weeknight dinner, as it doesn’t take long to cook and assemble. While the acorn squash is roasting, you can prepare the stuffing. You may have additional stuffing left over, which makes for an egg-free, high protein breakfast or lunch.
Stuffed Acorn Squash
Author: The Food Allergy Foodie
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 40-45 minutes
2 acorn squashes, cut in half and seeds removed
¼ cup of melted coconut oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 shallots, minced
1-1/2 teaspoons of fresh thyme, finely minced
1-1/2 teaspoons of fresh rosemary, finely minced
1 lb. ground pork
1 lb. ground beef
2 cups of kale, coarsely chopped
Kosher or Sea salt (to taste)
Ground black pepper (to taste)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- To prepare the acorn squash, cut each squash in half. Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds and discard.
- If need, melt the hardened coconut oil. You will need about ¼ cup of melted coconut oil. I usually just place my glass jar (with the lid removed) in the microwave in 30 second increments until the oil has softened and become liquid. You could also scoop out the hardened oil and place in a separate glass container to microwave and soften.
- Using a pastry brush, oil the inside of the squash. Make sure to get inside the middle, where the seeds have been removed. Generously salt and pepper the squash halves.
- Line a baking sheet with alumni foil or parchment paper. Place each squash half cut side down on the baking sheet.
- Roast for 40 minutes at 400 degrees. Flip the squash so the cut side is facing up. Bake for an additional 5-10 minutes until the insides are soft. The squash will be done with the inside is soft and can easily be scooped out.
- While the squash is baking, prepare the stuffing. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef and ground pork. I used my hands to combine the meats, like you do when preparing meatloaf.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in a medium sauté pan or skillet. Add the minced shallots and garlic and let cook until the shallot is translucent and fragrant, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the ground meat to the skillet and cook for 5 minutes, or until the majority of the meat is no longer pink. Add the rosemary and thyme. Stir to combine.
- Let cook for another 5 minutes. Add the kale and stir to combine.
- Let cook an additional 5-10 minutes, until the kale is wilted and the meat is fully cooked.
- Once the acorn squash is cool enough to handle, gently scoop out the inside of each half and place into a large mixing bowl. The skins will become very fragile as you remove the inside, so be careful not to tear the skin.
- Add the cooked meat to the squash and stir to combine all of the ingredients.
- Scoop the squash and meat mixture back into each half of the squash. You may have leftover meat; if so, this can be stored and used in stuffed peppers or as a healthy egg-free breakfast.
- Serve and enjoy!