Protein-Powered Acorn Squash

It’s funny how your body just knows when you haven’t been eating right. Ever since I got back from a leadership conference I attended last weekend in Hartford, I haven’t been able to get my mind off vegetables. I have been craving them! At the grocery store the other day, I spent the majority of my time in the produce area, grabbing any green item I could get my hands on. I didn’t have a list of any kind, nor a remote plan of what I was going to make this week (like I normally do), so I was a bit aloof with my shopping. What did I end up with? Some staples like eggs, soy milk, cereal, tofu, etc., random items like acorn squash (which I have never tried before this recipe) and quinoa, then came my vegetable craze which included zucchini, spinach, asparagus, broccoli and a green pepper. Just what every typical college kid gets at the grocery store…Anyway, I needed to get my mind off midterms so decided to create something with the wide assortment of my arbitrary purchases and came up with my very own Quinoa, Veggie and Tofu Stuffed Acorn Squash. Filling, healthy, covered all the food groups and quite tasty if I do say so myself!

Ingredients
1 acorn squash
1/2 cup zucchini
1/2 block tofu, cubed
1/2 cup great northern beans, rinsed
1 cup dry quinoa
3 cloves garlic
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup chopped almonds
Handful of spinach
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt, ground pepper and parmesan cheese

Cut the acorn squash in half, stem to bottom. Scoop out the seeds. Place cut side up in baking pan, with about 1/4 inch of water in the bottom so the squash doesn’t dry out. Add a small amount of butter to each half (I used Smart Butter’s Omega-3 Light Buttery Spread, seen here). Cook for 45 minutes to an hour, or until lightly browned, at 400°F.

While that bakes, get started on the quinoa filling. Cook the quinoa (as instructed here). For more flavor, I cooked it in low-sodium chicken broth instead of water!

Cut up the zucchini.

Chop the almonds and garlic. Pour the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.

Add in the garlic and sauté the spinach until wilted.

Add in the quinoa, zucchini, almonds, beans…

…and tofu, which I had already pre-cooked the day before, to the frying pan. Add a little left over chicken broth for flavor over low heat while you wait for the squash to be done.

Spoon the quinoa mixture into the squash. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, kosher salt and freshly ground pepper before returning to the oven. Bake for 5-10 minutes more, until cheese melts and quinoa gets crispy.

And there you have it! My creative, healthy Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash! You have your legumes, nuts, carbohydrates, vegetables and dairy all in there…plus it was delicious! Next time I will definitely sauté onions in with the spinach for some extra flavor, although I do have to note that the sweetness of the acorn squash is delightful with the light and fluffy quinoa/veggie mixture. The occasional crunch from the almonds also made this a dish I will be recreating in the near future. I gave myself a pat on the back for this one! Try this recipe out with your favorite mix-ins and veggies!

Sprinkled with Love,
Lauren

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One Comment to “Protein-Powered Acorn Squash”

  1. Sounds yummy!! Great effort, I can’t wait to try this one!

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