Recipe and photos courtesy of: Love and Lemons
We’ve still got time to take advantage of the delicious produce that the fall and winter months have produced! This Tuesday we’re bringing you a recipe that is absolutely to die for and looks pretty dang cute if you’re trying to impress dinner guests. In this dish, acorn squash double as a serving bowl which are then packed with quinoa, avocado, black beans, and all kinds of spices. Tasty, filling, and super healthy, what more could we ask for?!
Acorn squash are the star of this dish and for many great reasons! First off, they contain high levels of beta carotene, the antioxidant responsible for the orange color. Antioxidants are compounds that can prevent cellular and DNA damage by inhibiting the activity of unstable free radicals. A high intake of antioxidant-rich foods is linked to a lower risk of cancer, neurological disorders, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Beta carotene specifically has also been linked to supporting overall eye health. In addition, acorn squash are loaded with vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A and C, potassium, and magnesium. And as if you needed more reason to chow down on these guys, they provide a heaping serving of dietary fiber. Only 1/2 a cup provides 18% of your recommended daily fiber intake.
We can’t talk about this dish without mentioning one of our favorite ingredients… and favorite foods for that matter: AVOCADO. It’s safe to say we’re obsessed with anything and everything avo. Avocados are one of the great cancer fighting foods, rich in all kinds of nutrients, including many potent anti-oxidants and phytochemicals as well as vitamins, minerals, fiber and monounsaturated healthy fats. Most notable are its high levels of vitamin E, oleic acid, and Lutein, all of which have been linked to lowering a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer. Tasty and a cancer-kicking superfood, no wonder it’s one of our favs.
Lastly in this lovely dish is another one of today’s most popular ingredients, quinoa. The edible seeds of the quinoa plant are rich in protein, unsaturated fats, and essential vitamins and minerals. Quinoa also contains beneficial polyphenols that may help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. The popularity of quinoa has grown in recent years due to its high nutritional value, a high concentration of protein and essential amino acids, dietary fiber, unsaturated fats, and various vitamins and minerals. Quinoa is also naturally gluten-free, and has emerged as a good alternative in gluten-free diets.
This dish is simple to make and oh so worth the time in the kitchen. Packed with flavor and health benefits, this meal is sure to impress your taste buds and your guests! We know what we’re making for our dinner party this week!
- 3-4 small acorn squash, sliced in half
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 4-oz. can of green chiles
- 1.5 cups cooked quinoa
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- ¼ cup chopped scallions
- ¼ cup toasted pepitas
- ¼ cup feta cheese, optional
- 2 avocados, diced
- a few squeezes of lime
- salt & pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Cut acorn squash in half and scoop out the insides. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast cut side up for for about 35-50 minutes or until your squash is tender in the middle and browned around the edges. (The timing will depend on your squash. If it’s taking too long to become tender, flip it upside down for a portion of the roasting time).
- Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and a few pinches of salt and pepper. Cook the onion until translucent, then add the garlic, cumin, coriander and stir. Add the green chiles and stir again, then add the quinoa, black beans, scallions, pepitas, feta cheese, a squeeze of lime and a more salt and pepper, to taste.
- Remove skillet from the heat, let it cool, then stir in the diced avocado. Taste and adjust seasonings.
- Scoop the filling into the acorn squashes halves. (note: if you’re not scooping the filling into the squashes right away, scoop the mixture out of the pan and into a bowl and set aside.