The combination of sweet acorn squash balanced by the flavors of earthy shallots, bitter spinach and the tangy pop of pomegranate seeds makes this vegan stuffed acorn squash a recipe to excite your senses. Best of all, it’s deceptively delicious for an incredibly healthy dish.
Why this vegan squash recipe is healthy comfort food
Just look at the ingredients and you’ll see why this is an incredibly healthy but flavorful fall and winter dish. Squash, apples and spinach are all nutrition-packed foods. It’s low fat but calls for olive oil, which contains antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties. But the recipe’s colorful and nutritious ingredients are also hearty and warming. In fact, did you know that nutmeg, the main seasoning ingredient, is called one of the warming spices because it warms the body from the inside out?
How to prepare an acorn squash for stuffing
Diane Brown, our aphrodisiac dinner party guru as well as the creator of Family Farm Box made this recipe to combine her passions for healthy, seasonal produce and cooking with aphrodisiac ingredients. An authority on cooking with seasonal vegetables, Diane has several tips for working with squash.
Before stuffing your squash, you need to cut it and remove the seeds. For this recipe, Diane quarters the squash. This helps it cook faster.
Make sure your squash is ripe. Ripe acorn squash will have a beautiful, deep green color with a touch of orange. (The orange spot indicates where the squash sat on the ground.)
Once you’ve washed, quartered and removed the seeds from your ripe squash, you’re going to roast it in the oven until it is fork-tender, about 30-40 minutes. Be sure not to overcook the squash because you’ll be returning it to the oven later.
Note that if you don’t like the flavor of acorn squash, you can make this vegan stuffed squash recipe with butternut squash halves. Wash, cut and deseed the butternut as you would the acorn squash. Just make sure to roast it until fork-tender before adding the stuffing.
The importance of using organic produce
To maximize the flavor (and possibly the health benefits) of your seasonal, vegetable-based dishes like this roasted acorn squash with pomegranate, Diane recommends organic produce.
Buy it fresh from the farm whenever possible. There is a remarkable difference in flavor when you buy fresh produce. You may think your guests won’t notice the difference but this simple step can really make a dish sing. (And let’s not forget, it’s also good for your community and good for the planet.)
How to serve this vegan stuffed acorn squash
If you don’t want to make a vegan meal, you can use the recipe as a hearty side dish to replace both the starch and vegetables on your plate. Serve it with roast chicken, pork loin, white fish or even a steak. It is also a wonderful side dish choice (or even a vegan main course) for Thanksgiving dinner or a holiday meal.
Why this is an aphrodisiac dish
Not all of our recipes are the centerpiece for a romantic dinner for two. Some, like this vegan stuffed squash recipe, focus more on ingredients that can improve your sexual health and figure out how to make them incredibly tasty.
I already touched on the fact that squash, spinach and olive oil are all packed with nutrition for overall wellness. And don’t forget that nutmeg is an aphrodisiac that can produce some extra body heat. In addition, the benefits of pomegranate for men include several properties to help improve men’s sexual health. A surprisingly nutritious fruit with a tangy sweet flavor, pomegranate is sometimes called nature’s viagra because it is linked with diminishing erectile dysfunction. So it may not sound like the sexiest dish but this is definitely one to serve the man in your life!
Stuffed Acorn Squash with Spinach, Fuji Apples and Pomegranates
- 4 acorn squash cut into quarters, seeds removed
- 3 tbsp olive oil, divided 2 tbsp to coat the squash and one for sauteing
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 shallots diced
- 2 large Fuji apples cores removed, diced
- 4 cups lightly packed spinach thoroughly washed
- 1 tsp grated nutmeg
- 1/4 cup pomegranate arils (kernels)
- Heat oven to 375.
- Place acorn squash on a baking sheet and season generously with olive oil, salt and pepper.
- Roast in oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until tender to the probing of a fork.
- Remove from oven.
- While squash is roasting, heat a large skillet and drizzle with olive oil.
- Cook shallots, stirring occasionally, until translucent, then add apples and cook until browned and juicy.
- Add spinach to the pan and cook until wilted.
- Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
- Distribute the spinach mixture on top of the squash and return to oven until the squash and spinach are heated through.
- To serve as a main course, divide among the serving plates, sprinkle pomegranate seeds on top and serve.
A note on the provided nutrition informationThe nutrition information provided has been estimated by an online nutrition calculator and is not a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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