Acorn Squash with Wild Rice Stuffing & Winter Slaw*
Active Time: 50 minutes / Cook Time: 55 minutes / Total Time: 55 minutes
Makes 4 servings
Nutrition Corner: Soaking Grains
Soaking your grains helps to remove some of the natural phytic acids present. Phytic acids are used as part of a plant's defense mechanism, however, when we consume them, these antinutrients inhibit vitamin and mineral absorption in our digestive tract. Soaking also helps to break down proteins, making grains easier to digest, and can drastically reduce cooking time.
- 1/3 cup wild rice, soaked overnight*, rinsed and drained
- 1 tsp. coconut oil, melted and divided
- 2 (1 lb.) acorn squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt, divided
- 1 Italian sausage link, casing removed (use pork or turkey sausage, as desired)
- ½ cup chopped shallot (from about 1 large)
- ¼ cup chopped celery
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 oz. cremini mushrooms, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 2 large handfuls baby spinach (about 2 oz.)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, divided
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest
- ½ tablespoon lemon juice, from about ½ a lemon
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
- For the slaw:
- 1 large apple, peeled and shredded or julienned juice of half a lemon
- 4 cups shredded purple cabbage, from about ½ medium cabbage
- 1 large carrot, shredded or julienned
- 1 tablespoon diced shallot
- ¼ cup plain full fat yogurt
- ½ tablespoon cider vinegar, plus more to taste
- 1 tablespoon honey
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ cup roasted pistachios, roughly chopped*
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cook the wild rice: bring 1 cup water to a boil, add the rice, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook 40-45 minutes, or until the rice kernels start to puff open. Drain, if necessary.
- While the rice cooks: Brush cut sides of squash with ½ teaspoon coconut oil and sprinkle evenly with ¼ teaspoon salt. Place cut sides down on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, or until almost tender. Remove from the oven, but leave on the baking sheet and leave the oven on.
- While the squash cooks: heat the remaining ½ teaspoon oil in a large skillet over medium. Add the sausage and cook 5 minutes, using a wooden spoon to break it into crumbles.
- Add the shallot, celery, and thyme and cook 5 minutes, or until starting to soften.
- Add mushrooms and cook 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and spinach and cook, stirring, for 1 minute, or until the spinach is wilted.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the rice, ¼ teaspoon salt, ½ tablespoon parsley, lemon zest and juice, and black pepper.
- Spoon about ½ cup stuffing into each acorn squash shell and bake for 10 minutes. Sprinkle evenly with remaining parsley and black pepper to taste.
- While the stuffed squash bakes, make the slaw: in a large bowl, toss the apple and lemon juice. Add the cabbage, carrot, and shallot; toss to combine.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, vinegar, honey, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Taste and adjust the tartness (vinegar) or sweetness (honey) to your liking. Add the pistachios and toss to combine.
- Serve 1 stuffed acorn squash half and ¼ of the slaw per person for dinner, and package remaining squash and slaw in airtight containers for lunches tomorrow. Refrigerate until needed.
*Want to make this vegetarian? Omit the sausage and increase to 12 oz. of mushrooms, instead. Treat them the way the instructions say for the sausage, in step 4 (you’ll skip step 6). Increase the thyme to ½ teaspoon, and add ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning, plus more to taste.
*Soak rice in 2 cups warm water in a bowl overnight
*To toast nuts and seeds, place them in a dry skillet over medium-low heat and cook, stirring often, until they begin to turn golden and give off a nutty smell. Watch them carefully: nuts go from toasted to charcoal in no time flat!