Grocery stores and farmers markets seem to be overflowing with squash this time of year. I used to love acorn squash roasted with honey, butter and cinnamon, but thought it was time for a healthy and more filling alternative that could be eaten as a meal, rather then just a side dish.
The flavours in this filling are absolutely delicious, and taste so good when eaten with the inside flesh of the roasted squash. The filling consists of a mixture of ground turkey, leeks, onion and spinach that are all sautéed until tender. Due to the low fat and high protein content of turkey, it is usually my ground meat of choice, but you could easily substitute it for ground pork or chicken instead.
To save time, I baked the acorn squash while the filling was cooking on the stovetop, and then quickly broiled the stuffed squash for a minute or two right before serving. I topped each squash with a walnut and parsley mixture that adds a fresh crunchy texture.
I love that this stuffed squash is an easy all in one meal, you really don’t need to serve it with anything else for a satisfying dinner.
To make things even easier, you can bake the squash and prepare the filling up to 1 day in advance, and then combine it all together and bake until warm just before serving.
If you make this recipe let me know in the comment section below, I would love to hear what you think or take a photo and tag me (@everylastbite1) on Instagram, I love seeing your photos!
- 2 acorn squash
- 2 tsp olive oil
- pinch of salt and pepper
- 400 grams ground turkey (or chicken)
- 2 tsp paprika
- ½ tsp thyme
- 1 tsp cumin
- ¼ tsp chill powder
- 1 leek, cut in half lengthwise and then into small pieces
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 onion, finely diced
- ½ cup chicken stock
- 4 handfuls spinach
- 2 tbsp finely chopped walnuts*
- 1½ tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees celsius (390 degrees Fahrenheit)
- Cut the acorn squash in half lengthwise and remove the seeds from inside. Drizzle the 1 tsp olive oil inside each of the acorn squash halves and rub it around to evenly coat. Sprinkle the insides with salt and pepper and place them in a baking dish, flesh side down. Bake for 22-25 minutes until its tender in the center.
- While the acorn squash is baking, heat 1 tsp olive oil in a large pot on medium heat. Add the ground turkey, paprika, thyme, cumin and chilli powder to the pot and cook for approximately 5 minutes until golden and cooked through. Using a wooden spoon break the ground turkey into small pieces while it cooks so that its crumbly in texture. Remove the cooked turkey from the pot and set aside.
- In the same pot add the chopped leeks, garlic and onion and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until the leeks and onion soften.
- Add the chicken stock and ground turkey to the pot and then stir in the spinach. Once the liquid has reduced and the spinach has wilted, spoon the mixture into each of the acorn squash halves.
- Broil the stuffed squash in the oven for 3 to 4 minutes until the top of the stuffing is golden in colour. In a small bowl mix together the chopped walnuts and parsley and then sprinkle the mixture on top of each of the stuffed squash before serving.