Nuts & Bolts Squash

In case you've procrastinated on making your Thanksgiving menu, I have just the side dish for you. First, though, I must introduce you to Butternut Squash's wonderful cousin: Acorn Squash.

Acorn has a green outer skin and is typically a little smaller than Butternut, but he also has lots of delicious meat inside. Also like butternut squash, it is super good for you.

Acorn Squash from Peas and Hoppiness - www.peasandhoppiness.com

Fiber: While acorn squash is counted as a starchy vegetable (1 cup cooked squash has about 30 grams of carbohydrates), it is an excellent source of fiber - 10 of those 30 grams of carbs come from fiber. This means that it is a quality source of carbohydrate that will help maintain blood sugar levels rather than causing a quick spike followed by a drop.

Acorn Squash from Peas and Hoppiness - www.peasandhoppiness.com

Vitamins & Minerals: Acorn squash has a lot of vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, several B vitamins, magnesium, and even iron. You won't go wrong choosing this squash to have as one of your starchy veggies; it's packed with nutrition.

Phytochemicals: Carotenoids, lutein, and xeoxanthin are the main phytochemicals found in acorn squash (just like pumpkin and butternut). They're no big deal. They just help fight free radicals in an effort to prevent cancer, keep your eyes healthy, and help your immune system fight disease. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'd recommend keeping these phytonutrients around.

Acorn Squash from Peas and Hoppiness - www.peasandhoppiness.com

This weekend I made an oldie-but-goodie recipe with two of my acorn squash. I haven't made it in a while, but it's one of my favorite ways to prepare this squash. If all you have is a butternut squash, this dish is just as good made with one of these, as well.

Note: this recipe takes 90 minutes to bake. If you don't have that much time, you can speed up the process by microwaving the squash for about 10 minutes before adding the filling and baking.

Acorn Squash from Peas and Hoppiness - www.peasandhoppiness.com
Acorn Squash from Peas and Hoppiness - www.peasandhoppiness.com
Acorn Squash from Peas and Hoppiness - www.peasandhoppiness.com
Acorn Squash from Peas and Hoppiness - www.peasandhoppiness.com

Begin by cutting the stem off two medium-sized acorn squash, then cut in two lengthwise. Scoop out seeds with a spoon and discard. Arrange the squash in a baking dish with the cavities facing up.

Acorn Squash from Peas and Hoppiness - www.peasandhoppiness.com

Chop dried apricots (enough to make a half of a cup), one-fourth cup pecans, and one-fourth cup walnuts. Add these and a half cup of raisins to the empty cavity of the squash. Pour one cup of orange juice over fruit and nut mixture to fill the squash cavity.

Acorn Squash from Peas and Hoppiness - www.peasandhoppiness.com
Acorn Squash from Peas and Hoppiness - www.peasandhoppiness.com
Acorn Squash from Peas and Hoppiness - www.peasandhoppiness.com
Acorn Squash from Peas and Hoppiness - www.peasandhoppiness.com

Cut a tablespoon of butter into four pieces and lay one piece of butter on each squash. Add 1-2 cups water to the baking pan, just enough to cover the bottom of the pan.

Acorn Squash from Peas and Hoppiness - www.peasandhoppiness.com
Acorn Squash from Peas and Hoppiness - www.peasandhoppiness.com

Cover dish loosely with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 90 minutes. When cooked through, squash will be soft enough to easily poke with a fork.

Acorn Squash from Peas and Hoppiness - www.peasandhoppiness.com

Once baked, scoop innards with the fruit and nut filling into a dish, mix to combine orange juice and squash, and serve hot, or enjoy leftovers cold!

Acorn Squash from Peas and Hoppiness - www.peasandhoppiness.com

Enjoy!

Nuts & Bolts Squash

Ingredients

  • 2 medium acorn squash
  • 1/2 c. raisins
  • 1/2 c. dried apricots
  • 1/4 c. chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 c. chopped pecans
  • 1 c. orange juice
  • 1 Tbsp. butter

Instructions

  1. Cut the stem off the acorn squash, then cut in two lengthwise. Scoop out seeds with a spoon and discard. Arrange in a baking dish with the cavities facing up.
  2. Chop dried apricots, pecans, and walnuts. Add these and raisins to the empty cavity of the squash. Pour orange juice over fruit and nut mixture to fill the squash cavity.
  3. Cut the tablespoon of butter into four pieces and lay one piece of butter on each squash.
  4. Fill baking dish with 1-2 cups water, just enough to cover the bottom of the pan.
  5. Cover dish loosely with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 90 minutes. When cooked through, squash will be soft enough to easily poke with a fork.
  6. Once baked, scoop innards with the fruit and nut filling into a dish, mix to combine orange juice and squash, and serve hot.

Serves 8 - Serving Size: 1 cup - Nutrients per serving: 239 calories -- 7g total fat -- 1g saturated fat -- 0g trans fat - 4mg cholesterol -- 20mg sodium -- 47g total carbohydrates -- 11g fiber -- 4g protein