Acorn squash originated in North and Central America and was used frequently by Native Americans. As a nutrient dense vegetable, it also has many health benefits. Rich in dietary fiber while also being low in fat, cholesterol, and sodium it can help with lowering blood sugar levels and assisting with weight loss efforts. Acorn squash is also filled with loads of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants giving it truly impressive health benefits from improving immune system function to preventing some cancers.
I have always loved acorn squash in the winter months due to it’s sweet and savory flavor. Something about it just reminds me of cooler weather and warm fires. It is easily eaten as a side or can be easily stuffed with a variety of meats and other vegetables to make a complete meal.
Grass-fed beef? Is it necessary? Well, for this single recipe, no. It won’t make too much difference. However, consider this. If you are a meat eater, know that there IS a difference in the type and quality of meats that are available. Grass-fed beef comes from animals that have been fed on mostly on grass, while grain-fed cattle generally feed on an unnatural diet of corn and soy products. While there is still ongoing debate about their pros and cons, grass-fed beef generally wins out for having more nutrients, less fat, richer in antioxidants and is often much more flavorful. It’s becoming easier to find grass-fed beef in stores, at least in larger cities, and albeit it comes with a slightly higher price tag, if you are looking to put the some of the healthiest foods in your body it’s definitely worth cutting the price on something else.
Garlic is generally my go to! Some love it and others not so much. Science has shown that garlic has so many health benefits as well, including combatting illnesses such as the common cold (hmmm, maybe why I haven’t been sick in the last several years) and includes many antioxidants to combat other diseases.
You definitely could leave it out but if you are a garlic lover like me, it’s a definite must in this recipe!
Garlic Beef and Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash
- 3 Acorn Squash
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2-3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- 1 lb grass fed lean ground beef/bison
- 6 oz. baby bella mushrooms, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1/2 cup red onion, chopped
- 1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
- 2 tsp garlic pepper
- 1 cup organic long grain white rice
- 2 cups organic chicken broth
- Sea Salt
Preheat oven to 400F
Cut each squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds.
Place the halves skin side down on baking sheet. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oils and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 50-60 minutes or until soft.
While squash are roasting, place 1 tsp olive oil in large deep skillet over medium high heat and add fresh garlic, and ground beef. Cook thoroughly until meat is no longer pink. Add mushrooms, celery, and onion. Continue cooking until vegetables are soft and tender. Add seasonings and rice and stir well. Add the chicken broth and mix ensuring all rice is submerged. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until rice is tender. Remove from heat.
Once squash is roasted, remove from the oven. Scoop the cooked beef and rice mixture into each half, filling it up as much as possible. Return to oven and bake for another 10 minutes.