Holiday Winter Squash with Cranberry-Nut Stuffing
So... you're at the market looking for something with which to prepare a special meal and find yourself surrounded by squash. Winter squash, acorn squash, butternut -the list of varieties is long! The vegetables come in all shapes, colours and sizes and have comparable health benefits - it's up to you to pick your favorite and then decide what to do with it. Fear not, you can't go wrong by opting to prepare any variety of squash; they're all delicious, their flesh imparting a mildly sweet, often nutty flavour and smooth texture to any dish. They're delicious and very healthy, being very low in fat and calories, loaded with carotenes, B vitamins and folate, dietary fiber as well as zinc and potassium. Carotenes in particular are known for being protective against many cancers as well as Type 2 Diabetes, B vitamins provide energy and fiber can help with weight maintenance as well as helping to promote regularity.
Need a recipe idea? This colourful vegetarian dish is perfect for a holiday meal or everyday dinner. Squash and Cranberries are in-season and can easily be found fresh in the fall and winter. Another benefit is that both are grown in Western Canada and northern United States, so can often be found at your local farmers markets. Can you ask for more?
3 Winter Squash, halved & seeded (acorn, buttercup, butternut, etc)
3 C Cranberries (fresh or frozen)
2 C Onions, diced (red or white)
3 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 stalk Celery, chopped
1 C Applesauce (unsweetened)
1 C Pecan halves
Peel and Juice from 1 Orange
¼ - ½ C Pure Maple Syrup
1 tsp Coconut Oil
½ tsp Salt/Herbamar (salt substitute)
Preheat oven to 375ºC
Lightly oil a baking dish. Lay squash halves cut-side down in the pan. Add ½ inch water, cover with foil and bake 30 minutes.
While squash is baking, sauté onions, garlic and celery in oil until soft. Add cranberries and salt/Herbamar, lower heat and simmer until cranberries have popped (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat and stir in applesauce, pecans, orange peel & juice and maple juice.
Note: Add just enough to offset the tart berries, not too much to make the filling sweet.
When finished pre-baking, remove the squash from the oven, flip and fill each with ½ C of cranberry filling.
Replace in the oven and bake, uncovered for 30-45 minutes until squash soft and tip is lightly browned.
Dr Katarine Holewa, ND