By Vanessa Matthews, Guest Blogger
Nothing makes me feel warm and cozy like a good, home-cooked meal. And when I think winter, I think winter squash. Acorn squash is one of my favorites, because of its sweet, smooth flavor and the versatility of flavors you can pair with it.
It also happens to be one of the most nutrient dense squash varieties, with a wide range of vitamins and minerals. It contains high levels of vitamins C, A, and B6. In the mineral department, it packs in potassium, magnesium, manganese, iron, copper, phosphorous, and calcium.
As a health & wellness advocate, I say if you are going to eat a high-carb meal, make it count. Why waste carbs on empty calories from bread and pasta? The nutrients in acorn squash have the ability to improve vision, boost immune system, reduce blood pressure, regulate blood sugar, strengthen bones, and prevent cancer.
I also have a sweet tooth, so the combination of sweet cinnamon, apples, and cranberries, with turkey and spinach make this recipe like a cross between thanksgiving and grandma’s apple pie. The best part is it’s much lower in calories and empty carbohydrates than both.
Makes 2 Servings
- 1 large acorn squash
- 1 crisp apple, diced
- 2 tbsp chopped pecans, lightly toasted
- 2 tbsp dried cranberries
- 1 cup spinach, chopped
- 8 oz ground turkey
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp nutmeg, pumpkin pie spice, or apple pie spices
- Poultry seasoning and salt to taste
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp stevia
- 1 tbsp baking Splenda
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Cut the squash in half, and scoop out the seeds. Cut a piece off of the ends of each half so it can sit upright like a bowl.
- Place the squash on a baking pan with the center face down, and bake for 25-30 minutes or until squash is tender.
- Mix the cinnamon spices, Splenda and stevia in a bowl. Toss apples in half the mixture.
- Heat up a skillet and spray with Pam. Cook apples for about 5 minutes until tender.
- Brown turkey in a pan and add your chopped spinach, then cover with a lid.
- Once spinach is wilted, add your poultry seasoning, a dash of salt, and any other seasoning you wish. I used a blend called Sunny Paris that includes shallots, chives, green peppercorn, basil and tarragon.
- Mix the apples, almonds, and cranberries into the pan.
- Place the squash right side up and sprinkle the rest of the cinnamon mixture into the open face of the bowl.
- Scoop the mixture into each half of the acorn squash, and bake an additional 15-20 minutes. To keep in moisture, fill the bottom of the baking dish with some water and cover with foil.
- Serve and enjoy!
Nutritional information (per serving):