Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Acorn Squash Stuffed with Chard and White Beans

With the end of the holidays and the beginning of the New Year, my mind turns away from rich caloric food to something a little healthier. Some of my coworkers are participating in their own “Biggest Loser” challenge. Everyone involved forked over ten bucks, and whoever has the biggest percentage of weight loss, gets the kitty. With dieting in mind (read: no one at work would appreciate me bringing in a big chocolate cake), I flipped through Eating Well magazine for ideas. I found Acorn Squash Stuffed with Chard and White Beans, and I though it would be perfect for a light meal.

My family liked this vegetarian meal. I know! I was surprised too! I didn’t think my son would like the stuffed squash, and he didn’t like the squash itself (he reminded me of my childhood aversion of brussel sprouts when he couldn’t swallow the squash). I told him he didn’t have to eat the squash, but he needed to eat the filling. He ate every bite of the filling, and told me he liked it. I didn’t mind he didn’t eat the squash. I got him to eat chard, and I think that is quite an accomplishment! I also enjoyed Acorn Squash Stuffed with Chard and White Beans. The filling was delicious, and I especially liked the soft white beans with the crisp breadcrumb topping. A very nice combination.

Acorn Squash Stuffed with Chard and White Beans
From Eating Well
2 medium acorn squash
1 teaspoon plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
½ teaspoon salt, divided
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
½ cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon tomato paste
8 cups chopped chard leaves (about 1 large bunch chard)
1 15-ounce can white beans, rinsed
¼ cup chopped kalamata olives
1/3 cup coarse dry whole-wheat breadcrumbs
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

Cut the acorn squash in half and seed. (To make it easier to cut the acorn squash in half, pierce in several places with a fork and microwave on high for 45 to 60 seconds.) Cut a small slice off the bottom of each squash half so it rests flat. Brush the insides of the squash with 1 teaspoon of oil, and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon of both salt and pepper. Place the squash in a microwave-safe and oven-safe dish. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high until the squash is fork tender, about 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a skillet or Dutch oven, heat 1 tablespoon of oil, and add onion. Cook the onion until it starts to brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in water, tomato paste and the remaining ¼ teaspoon of salt and pepper. Stir in the chard and cook for 3 to 5 minutes or until tender. Stir in the white beans and olives and cook until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes more. Remove from heat.

Preheat the broiler. Combine breadcrumbs, Parmesan and the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a bowl. Fill each acorn with the chard mixture, and top with the breadcrumb mixture. Broil the squash until the breadcrumbs are browned about 1 to 2 minutes.

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