Stuffed Acorn Squash with Beef, Apple & Rice - The Rising Spoon

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Beef, Apple & Rice

Yum
An easy recipe for baked acorn squash that's stuffed with a savory, slightly sweet & buttery filling of ground beef, apple, and rice. Fix this in about 40-45 minutes for an easy and healthy fall dinner recipe. This is a great meal to make when you're in a ground beef rut and need some fresh ideas using seasonal fall and winter ingredients.

Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe with Beef, Apple & Rice

Have you ever tried acorn squash? It's not as popular as the slightly sweet butternut squash or trendy striped delicata squash, but it definitely deserves a spot at your dinner table. Acorn squashes are a deep orange color, often flecked with dark green spots, and--as the name implies--shaped like an acorn. 

If you're looking for a beautiful, eco-friendly fall accent for your home, grab 2-3 acorn squashes and let them hang out on your counter (or wherever you want to put them) until you're ready to cook them for supper. 



Healthy Seasonal Fall Food: Acorn Squash


Stuffed Acorn Squash


Since an acorn squash is relatively small and almost heart-shaped it's perfect for stuffing. I like to bake mine in the oven until fork-tender then stuff them with seasonal ingredients + a protein. In the past, I've stuffed my acorn squashes with chorizo, black beans & rice (SO yummy, although I really need to re-photograph the post). I want to try ground Italian sausage or Cajun sausage with apple, cranberries & stuffing (a.k.a. dressing) soon. 

Today's recipe is actually a version of a baked stuffed acorn squash with ground beef, diced apple, and brown rice that I published back in December 2012. It's adapted from this stuffed sweet acorn squash recipe, with a few tweaks that make it non-Whole 30 compliant (sorry, rice just sounded good).


Healthy Baked Then Stuffed Acorn Squashes

The fact that it's October and some states are experiencing fall weather (ahem...not Northern Texas) was reason enough for me to dig back into my archives + this post was begging to be updated (at least the photos).

That and it gave me an excuse to fix winter squash again for my squash-hating boyfriend (as he's fondly known here on the blog). I actually shared quite a few squash recipes in my first year of blogging and it was a running joke back then that I'd have to try every single winter and summer squash recipe out there in order to get my beau to like one of them.

Did it work? Mmmmm...not really. I mean, he'll either tolerate it (he likes my roasted butternut squash soup) or just eat everything else on the plate except the squash. I'm still holding out that his taste buds will change in a few years and he'll magically enjoy it all of a sudden. 

Hey, it could happen! I used to hate blue cheese and onions and now I eat them every chance I can get. The beau has also started eating yogurt this year, where he wouldn't touch it before.  

Healthy Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe


Beef, Apple & Rice Filling For Acorn Squash


Although acorn squash makes a beautiful and healthy vessel for a meal (winter squash is super duper good for you), my favorite part of this recipe is undoubtedly the filling. 

Even though it uses humble ingredients like ground beef and short grain white rice, it's laced with buttery coconut oil and fragrant thyme + oregano. Let me tell you, coconut + thyme is a heavenly combo!

Of course, I think it's even better when you use a batch of my easy coconut rice with coconut milk, which takes the same amount of time & effort to fix on the stove-top as plain rice. 

So altogether you have a mixture of slightly sweet (apple + squash) and buttery (coconut oil + coconut rice) ingredients tossed with savory protein (beef) and fragrant herbs (thyme + oregano). 

Oh, but you can't forget the shredded cheese that you sprinkle on top then melt quick-like under the broiler. Well, unless you're avoiding dairy. In that case...totally forget it.


Easy Fall Dinner Recipe (Even For A Weeknight)


If any of this seems fancy or complicated, please know it's not! This recipe is actually easy and semi-quick enough to fix on a weeknight. Simply cut the squash in half, season it, pop it in the oven to bake for about 35-40 minutes, and fix the filling + rice on the stove while the acorn squash is baking. 

If the squashes aren't too big (you could raise the temperature slightly so they bake faster) you can have this whole meal done in 40 minutes--maybe even 30!




Psssst...If you happen to make one of my recipes or DIY crafts and share it on InstagramFacebook, or Twitter make sure to use the hashtag #therisingspoon and tag my account @therisingspoon so I see it! It helps me so much to get feedback on my creations and it totally makes my day. :)

yield: 4 servings + 2 cups of leftover fillingprint recipe

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Beef, Apple & Rice

prep time: cook time: 45 MINStotal time: 45 mins
Baked acorn squash stuffed with a savory, slightly sweet & buttery filling of ground beef, apple, and rice + dried herbs. Fix this in about 40-45 minutes for an easy and healthy fall dinner recipe. It's also a great way to use up leftover rice or ground beef!

INGREDIENTS:


  • 2 acorn squashes, cut in half + seeds & guts removed
  • 3 cups of cooked short-grain white rice (I use this coconut rice recipe - for a grain-free version use cauliflower rice or omit the rice altogether)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of unrefined coconut oil (I love THIS coconut oil)
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 organic apple, cored and diced
  • 1 1/2-2 tablespoons of dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon of granulated garlic
  • 2 teaspoons of dried oregano
  • Sea salt, to taste (I love THIS salt)
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup of shredded cheese (optional - I like mozzarella or cheddar)

INSTRUCTIONS:


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice the squash in half and scoop out the insides (seeds & guts). Line a roasting pan with foil and place each half cut side up on the tray. Rub the squash lightly with cooking oil. Sprinkle with a tiny bit of salt & pepper. Pour 1 teaspoon of water into the middle of each half, then an additional 1/2 cup into the pan. Tent the roasting pan or baking sheet with foil and bake for 35-45 minutes (adding more water to the squash if necessary - I've never had to do this) or until the squash is fork tender.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the rice on the stove-top according to the directions on the package (or you can follow my recipe). peel and dice the onion, and core and dice the apple. Heat a skillet to medium and add the coconut oil. When that's melted and the skillet's hot enough, add the onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the ground beef, apple chunks, thyme, oregano, garlic powder, sea salt, and pepper. Saute the mixture until the beef is cooked completely and the apples have softened a bit (they don't need to be as soft as a potato). This may take anywhere from 10-20 minutes, depending on the temperature of your stove. If this finishes before the squash, turn off the heat but leave it in the pan with a lid on to keep it warm.
  3. When the squash has cooked, remove from the oven and carefully dump out any excess water. You can either leave the squash as is and stuff them with the filling OR scoop out some of the cooked acorn squash to add to the filling, but make sure to keep the shell (skin) intact. Add the cooked rice to the beef & apple mixture, taste, and add more seasoning if necessary.
  4. Keep the acorn squash halves in the same roasting pan and stuff them with heaping spoonfuls of the filling, then sprinkle each half with shredded cheese. Place back in the oven at the same temperature (or the broiler setting) for a few minutes so the cheese melts and filling warms back up. Serve the stuffed acorn squash immediately by itself or with your favorite side salad.
Created using The Recipes Generator

Notes & Tips
  • The original recipe that I adapted this from back in 2012 called for 1/2 tsp sage and dried cranberries, but I didn't have any so left it out. If you make the recipe and add either of those ingredients, let me know!
  • If you don't want to scoop out the cooked squash, you can simply spoon the filling on top. I've tried it both ways and prefer having the squash mixed with the filling so I get a bit in every bite. Do it however you like! 
  • To make this recipe grain-free, simply leave out the rice and make sure you scoop out the squash and mix it into the filling. OR you can substitute cauliflower rice instead. Either way, it'll still be yummy. :) 

I'd like to hear from YOU!

What's your favorite way to fix acorn squash?


Fall Dinner Recipe: Baked Acorn Squash Stuffed With Beef, Apple & Rice


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Elaina Newton is the creator, writer, and foodie behind the blog, The Rising Spoon. She's a self-taught cook and passionate about spreading basic cooking skills and information about real foods. She loves reading fiction, crafting, video games, dark roast coffee, cats, and rainy days. Connect with her on Pinterest, Facebook, Google +, and Twitter

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