Acorn squash is our favorite winter squash. So many recipes for it as a side dish include butter with brown sugar, maple syrup, nutmeg and cinnamon. I'm not one for really sweet foods other than desserts and candy so, I wanted to incorporate another vegetable with the squash for a more savory dish.
Acorn squash is filled with amazing health benefits:
- Cancer-fighting properties: Acorn squash contains a large amount of phytonutrients and antioxidants that have anti-carcinogenic effects on the body.
- Protects against birth defects: Expectant mothers would do good to add acorn squash to their diet this fall and winter.
- Immune system support: Eat acorn squash and protect yourself from this year’s cold and flu season.
- Lung health: Asthma sufferers can help alleviate their symptoms by consuming acorn squash.
- Heart and cholesterol benefits: The beta-carotene in acorn squash prohibits the oxidation of cholesterol in the body, thereby preventing the progression of atherosclerosis.
- Arthritis alleviation: By using its anti-inflammatory benefits, acorn squash can help ease the pain of rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
- Acorn squash is jam-packed with beta-carotene, folate, potassium, manganese, copper, omega 3 fatty-acids, vitamins B1, B3, B5 and B6 and Vitamin C.
These things are all great but, the very best thing of all about acorn squash is the taste. Acorn squash is distinctive in its color and shape and is mildly sweet and tender. It has a richer, meatier flavor and more nutrients than summer squash.
All of this leads me to the recipe. The squash is baked twice: the first time for making it tender and the second for incorporating the good flavors of spinach, Parmesan cheese, a little bacon and spice. I had a lone tomato and placed it on top before baking, for added color and taste. Serving it in the half-shell, makes for a perfect serving bowl for this absolutely delicious side dish!
Here it is:
Baked Acorn Squash with Spinach
|Ready for 2nd baking|
1 acorn squash
8 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
¼ cup onion, chopped
¼ cup Oscar Meyer Real Bacon Bits or fry crisp 2 strips bacon
1 teaspoon softened butter
¼ teaspoon salt and pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
2 tomato slices
Cut squash in half, discarding seeds.
Place upside down on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 50 minutes or until fork tender.
Scoop out pulp, leaving a ¼” shell.
In a large bowl, combine squash, spinach, onion, bacon bits, butter salt, pepper, cayenne pepper and 4 tablespoons cheese.
Spoon into shells.
Top with tomato slice and remaining Parmesan cheese,
Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes until heated through
This is absolutely delicious and I hope you try it and enjoy it as much as we do!
Check out my friend, Linda’s blog, at My Kind of Cooking for her great recipes and cookbook giveaway!