Vegetarian Stuffed Acorn Squash

Vegetarian Stuffed Acorn Squash

Unlocking the Nutritional Treasure Trove: The Many Benefits of Acorn Squash

In the colorful array of fall vegetables, acorn squash often takes a back seat to the more celebrated pumpkins and butternut squash. However, this humble vegetable is a nutritional powerhouse that deserves a spotlight of its own. Rich in vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber, acorn squash offers a range of health benefits that make it a must-add to your seasonal menu.

A Nutrient Powerhouse
Acorn squash is brimming with essential nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B6, potassium, and magnesium. These nutrients play vital roles in supporting overall health and wellbeing.

Immune System Boost
The high vitamin C content in acorn squash strengthens the immune system, helping your body fend off illnesses and infections, particularly during the cold and flu season.

Vision Protection
The substantial amounts of vitamin A in acorn squash are crucial for maintaining good vision, especially in low-light conditions. This vitamin also contributes to healthy skin and mucous membranes.

Heart Health
Potassium and magnesium, both abundant in acorn squash, support heart health by regulating blood pressure and promoting proper heart function. The fiber content helps reduce cholesterol levels, further benefiting cardiovascular wellness.

Weight Management
Acorn squash's fiber content promotes a feeling of fullness, helping to control appetite and curb overeating. This can be particularly helpful for those looking to manage their weight.

Digestive Health
Dietary fiber aids in digestion and prevents constipation. Consuming acorn squash regularly can contribute to a healthy digestive system.

Antioxidant Properties
Acorn squash is a rich source of antioxidants, which help combat oxidative stress and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

Versatility in the Kitchen
From roasted acorn squash with a drizzle of maple syrup to savory stuffed squash recipes, this vegetable is incredibly versatile and can be prepared in numerous delicious ways.

Low in Calories
For those looking to watch their calorie intake, acorn squash is an excellent choice. It's low in calories but high in flavor and nutrition.

Seasonal Delight
Acorn squash is in its prime during the fall and winter months, making it a perfect addition to your seasonal menu and a great way to enjoy locally sourced produce.

Incorporating acorn squash into your diet not only elevates your meals with its sweet, nutty flavor but also offers a host of health benefits. Whether roasted, mashed, or blended into soups, this unsung hero of the squash family is a delicious and nutritious addition to any plate. So, embrace the autumn harvest and savor the many advantages that acorn squash brings to the table. Your taste buds and your health will thank you.





Try this recipe form our Warlick Family YMCA, Nutrition Healthwork Registered Dietitian, Nina Cassetta.


  • 1 medium acorn squash
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 shallot (minced)
  • 1 cup sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 cups cooked wild or brown rice
  • The juice and zest of 1 large orange
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries


PREP THE SQUASH Place the squash on its side, use a sharp kitchen knife, place it horizontally across the top of the squash and slice the top off about 3/4 inch below the stem. Then carefully place the knife horizontally in the center of the squash and slice it down the middle. You can cut the squash either vertically or horizontally down the center. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and scrape the inside to get it nice and clean.

ROAST THE SQUASH Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F, and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Brush each half of the squash with some of olive oil and sprinkle each generously with salt and pepper. Place the squash, face-side up onto the baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes, remove and let cool.

MAKE THE FILLING Heat a skillet to medium heat, and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Once hot, add in the minced garlic, minced shallots, and sliced mushrooms. Cook for 4-5 minutes, tossing gently as it cooks until the veggies start to brown.

Add in the spinach and sprinkle everything with salt and pepper. Cook until the spinach is slightly wilted. Push the veggies to the side of the pan and pour in the chickpeas and chopped walnuts. Sprinkle the chickpeas with the spices (onion powder, cumin, chili powder) and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss and let them cook for 2-3 minutes to get them nice and golden.

Add in the cooked wild rice, toss everything together and let cook for 2 minutes. Sprinkle in the parmesan cheese and let it melt into the mixture. Pour in the orange juice and zest and toss. Add in the dried cranberries and let that all cook for 1 minute to get the cranberries slightly plump.

FILL AND BAKE THE SQUASH Fill each squash with the filling, I like to fill them with a lot of filling. Store any remaining filling for another meal. Top each stuffed squash with more cheese if desired and bake in the oven at 425 degrees F for 4-5 minutes to get the tops nice and golden brown.

Warlick Family YMCA Dietitian
Nutrition Healthworks

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