Okay, so we've accepted that summer is gone in Chicago and have decided to embrace the cooler seasons by celebrating winter squash! No we are not in a rush...it's not winter yet..but it's definitely squash season. To us, no other fall foods can really compete with the versatile squash. With so many varieties and preparations it's almost hard to find time for them all in one season! Say tuned because we have several squash recipes coming this fall including this week's, but let's learn more about squash first.
Squash can be categorized in two simple ways, summer squash and winter squash. When it comes to winter squash, the most commonly cooked include butternut, spaghetti, and acorn. Nutritionally, winter squash has more carbohydrates than summer squash but in our opinion remains a deliciously healthy comfort food while still being lower in calories. Now we bet you're thinking how can a food described as "comfort " be low in calories? Well let's compare - one cup of cooked acorn squash contains ~115 calories and 9 g of fiber where one cup of sweet potato contains ~185 calories and 4 grams of fiber. Once baked, acorn squash gives you that same warm, rich taste as other comfort foods but with a different nutrient profile. Not only is acorn squash lower in calories and higher in fiber than other comfort foods, but it also contains ~900 mg of heart healthy potassium and 2 mg of iron per cup. As if you weren't sold already on squash being totally amazing, we still have a delicious recipe to get to!
Overloaded Acorn Squash
PREP TIME: 25 mins
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 15 mins (includes baking of squash)
Servings: 4 (2 servings per acorn squash)
Squash and Filling
2 acorn squash
1 bunch kale, stems removed and chopped into 2 inch pieces (~2 cups prepared)
2 cups cooked garbanzo beans (prepared from dry using this recipe or 1 can)
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 Tbsp butter
1 tsp coconut oil
Drizzle of honey
Sprinkle of nutmeg
Sea salt to taste
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp pure maple syrup
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Carefully slice acorn squash in half from stem to tip using a sharp knife. Remove seeds and stringy flesh until the insides are smooth and place on a baking sheet. Spread butter evenly over all four squash halves, drizzle with honey, and sprinkle with nutmeg and sea salt. Bake, cut side up for ~45-60 minutes until the squash flesh is very soft and a knife will easily pass through the flesh and into the skin.
To prepare the glaze, add balsamic vinegar and maple syrup to a small saute pan and heat over medium heat until mixtures begins to simmer. Continue to simmer over medium-low heat stirring frequently. After ~10-15 minutes you should notice the mixture thickening and starting to stick to the sides of the pan. The glaze is done when it will stick to the back of a metal spoon without dripping. Once done, pour glaze into a glass bowl and set aside. Note the glaze will harden as it cools and can be warmed for 10 seconds in the microwave to soften.
Begin the filling by chopping onion and kale and shredding Parmesan cheese (if your Parmesan is purchased prepared make sure it is shredded and not grated). Heat coconut oil in a saute pan over medium heat, add the onion and a sprinkle of sea salt and saute for ~3 minutes until edges begin to brown. Add kale and garbanzo beans to the pan and continue to saute for another 3-5 minutes until kale becomes soft and turns a bright shade of green. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over kale and bean mixture and continue cooking until cheese starts to melt (~2-3 minutes) folding mixture with a wooden spoon to evenly coat kale and beans with melted cheese. Once the cheese is fully melted remove from heat.
Once the squash is done cooking, let cool for 5 minutes and then fill each halve with 1/4 of the kale, bean and cheese mixture, scraping any crispy Parmesan cheese from the bottom of the saute pan for an extra crunch. Drizzle balsamic glaze over the top and enjoy!
This overloaded acorn squash will be everything you're wanting on these cooler fall nights. With such a perfect combination of flavors we can bet you'll be making this recipe again and again. And we hope you agree that this one is a win for the wonderful winter squash.
Jess and Cecelia
Jess and Cecelia welcome you to our kitchen. We are fun-loving and passionate foodies working to make the world a healthier, happier place one plant based recipe at a time.