I love squash in the wintertime; it’s a creamy carbohydrate that is so versatile in the kitchen. I’ve made quite a few recipes this off season using squash as the star of the recipe, but I wanted to make a stuffed squash that was sort of a one dish meal. I love this stuffed squash recipe for a lot of reasons. The first is that I don’t want to have a meal full of carbohydrates; I found that most stuffed squash recipes had rice as the main stuffing ingredient. No thanks. I want protein and vegetables to complement my delicious squash, not mask it. The base of this recipe is ground turkey and spinach with a bit of an Italian flare. Oregano, basil, and parsley add a savory, herb flavor that makes this dish feel like you’re eating at your Italian Nonna’s house for dinner. Serve it alone or accompany it with a sauteed vegetable like broccoli.
Makes: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes Baking Time: 45 minutes Total Time: 1 hour
2 large acorn squash
1 lb ground turkey
1 vidalia onion, small dice
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups packed fresh spinach, stems removed and finely chopped
1 tbs tomato paste
1 small can diced tomatoes, drained
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried parsley
3/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, separated
salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Cut both squash in half with a serrated knife. Use a spoon to remove the seeds from the center. Drizzle each half with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Put 1 cup of water in the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish. Add the squash to the baking dish (so they are slightly submerged in water) and cover with aluminum foil. Bake the squash for about 30 minutes, or until they are tender by pricking them with a fork.
- While the squash are baking, heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Add a drizzle of olive oil and add the onion and garlic. Saute 3-4 minutes, or until the onions start to become translucent. Remove half of the onion and garlic and add the turkey, oregano, basil, and parsley to the pan. Saute until it is cooked about 80% through, for about 6 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook another 2 minutes. Remove from the pan into a large bowl.
- Add the other half of the garlic and onion back to the pan. Add the spinach and diced tomatoes along with 2 tbs water. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the spinach is wilted. Remove from the heat and add the turkey mixture back into the pan. Add half of the Parmesan cheese and season the filling with salt and pepper.
- When the squash is finished in the oven, remove it and drain the pan of excess water. Lightly scrape each squash half with a fork so that some of the squash mixes in with the stuffing. Fill each squash half with 1/4 of the stuffing; it will over flow off the top, but keep it as well packed as you can. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese over the top of the squash and put back in the oven for another 8-10 minutes.
- Serve immediately.
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