Women Power Foods – Winter Squash
A winter time favorite! Winter squash is jam packed with both flavor and nutrients making it a perfect addition to your favorite meals.
When considering which vegetables are highest in antioxidants, leafy green veggies are usually the first thing to come to mind. Many people don’t realize the outstanding antioxidant benefits provided by winter squash. Winter squash is a paleo-friendly food and is more nutrient-dense than its summer varieties. It contains high levels of good-for-you nutrients like vitamin A, niacin, folate, thiamine, vitamin B-6 and is an especially good source of vitamin C. In fact, a ½-cup serving of cooked and cubed winter squash provides approximately 20 percent of the daily recommended dose of vitamin C. In addition to the surplus of vitamins, acorn squash also has an abundant source of minerals including potassium and magnesium.
Some people might think about winter squash as a starchy vegetable—and that’s not wrong considering about 90% of its total calories come from carbohydrate, and about half of this carbohydrate is starch-like in its composition. However, that doesn’t mean you should be reconsidering the benefits of squash so fast! Recent research has found that all starch is not the same and the starch content of winter squash has some key health benefits. Many of the starch-related components of winter squash have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic and insulin-regulating properties.
The American Dietetic Association lists winter squash as one of the best sources of the antioxidant beta carotene. Beta-carotene is a carotenoid that may specifically support eye health and prevent the development of age-related macular degeneration.
Different types of squash are available year-round giving us multiple options for delicious recipes!
Baked Acorn Squash Stuffed with Wild Rice and Kale Risotto
6 small acorn squash
1 bunch kale or 1 10-ounce package stemmed and washed kale
1 cup cooked wild rice (1/3 cup uncooked)
1 quart vegetable stock
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ cup minced onion
salt to taste
2/3 cup Arborio rice
1 plump garlic clove, minced
½ cup dry white wine, like pinot grigio or sauvignon blanc
¼ cup chopped fresh dill
¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley freshly ground pepper to taste
¼ to ½ cup freshly grate parmesan cheese (1 to 2 ounces) (optional)
Cayenne or freshly grated nutmeg to taste (optional)
1.) Heat oven to 425 degrees.
Line a baking sheet with foil and brush the foil with olive oil. Place the squash in the oven and bake 30 minutes. Each squash should be intact but beginning to give on the side it’s resting on, and soft enough to cut through. Remove from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes, until the squash has cooled slightly. Then, resting a squash on the slightly flattened side that it was sitting on in the oven, cut away the top third. You will be putting the top “cap” back on once the squash is filled, so cut it off in one neat slice. Scrape out the seeds and membranes from both pieces and set aside. Repeat for the remaining squash. Turn the oven heat down to 350 degrees. Oil a baking dish or sheet pan that can accommodate all of the squash.
2. Meanwhile, blanch the kale in a large pot of salted boiling water for 2 to 4 minutes, until just tender. Transfer to a bowl of cold water, drain and squeeze out excess water. Chop medium-fine and set aside. Cook the wild rice, following the directions below, and set aside.
3. Put the stock into a saucepan and bring it to a simmer over low heat, with a ladle nearby. Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat in a wide, heavy nonstick saucepan or skillet. Add the onion and a generous pinch of salt, and cook gently until it is just tender, 3 to 5 minutes.
4. Add the arborio rice and garlic and stir until the grains separate and begin to crackle. Add the wine and stir until it has been absorbed. Begin adding the simmering stock, a couple of ladlefuls (about 1/2 cup) at a time. The stock should just cover the rice, and should be bubbling, not too slowly but not too quickly. Cook, stirring often, until it is just about absorbed. Add another ladleful or two of the stock and continue to cook in this fashion, adding more stock and stirring when the rice is almost dry. You do not have to stir constantly, but stir often. Continue to add stock and stir until the rice is almost tender, about 20 minutes. The rice should still be a little chewy. Add another ladleful of stock and stir in the kale, wild rice and herbs. Stir together until the stock is just about absorbed, about 5 minutes, and add another ladleful of stock. Remove from the heat. Add pepper, taste and adjust seasonings. Stir in the remaining olive oil and the Parmesan if using.
5. Season the surface of the acorn squash with salt, pepper and nutmeg or cayenne (if desired). Fill the hollowed-out squash with the risotto. Place the tops back on the squash and put them in the baking dish or on the sheet pan.
6. Bake 40 minutes, or until the squash is tender all the way through when pierced with a knife.
* To cook the wild rice, bring 2 cups of the stock or water to boil in a medium saucepan. Add salt to taste and the wild rice. When the water returns to the boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer 40 to 45 minutes, until the rice is tender and has begun to splay. Drain and transfer the rice to a large bowl.
Yield: 6 to 8 generous servings
Advance preparation: The risotto can be made a day ahead, but you will want to heat it and add a little more stock to get the creaminess that will be lost overnight.
Nutritional information per serving (6 servings): 366 calories; 5 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 3 grams monounsaturated fat; 0 milligrams cholesterol; 75 grams carbohydrates; 9 grams dietary fiber; 53 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste); 9 grams protein
Nutritional information per serving (8 servings): 274 calories; 4 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 1 gram polyunsaturated fat; 3 grams monounsaturated fat; 0 milligrams cholesterol; 56 grams carbohydrates; 7 grams dietary fiber; 40 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste); 6 grams protein
- Posted by holx-admin
- On January 9, 2014