Are you looking for a plant-based meal that is full of festive flavor? If so, we have the perfect recipe for you! Our Chickpea Stuffed Acorn Squash combines nutritious ingredients and a warm blend of spices to create an absolutely divine holiday dish. In fact, it’s so good that we feel confident even the meat-eaters in the family will go crazy for it!
This is the time of year that we find ourselves surrounded by loads of fatty, sugary, high-calorie foods. While a little indulgence is in order from time to time, it’s best to choose healthy meals as often as possible! Luckily, this nutritious dish is also packed with so many delightful flavors, making it the best of both worlds!
Festive Flavor Full of Nutrients
For starters, this Chickpea Stuffed Acorn Squash is rich in plant-based protein, thanks to the wild rice and chickpeas. Wild rice is a complete protein. Like meat and eggs, it contains all nine essential amino acids that our bodies need. Chickpeas are also high in protein, although they’re not complete. Luckily, wild rice also contains the amino acids that chickpeas lack. The rice is filling, and the chickpeas offer a satisfying meaty texture.
Other healthy ingredients worth noting in this recipe are the acorn squash, Swiss chard, and pine nuts. Acorn squash is low in calories and a great source of vitamin C, which is crucial for a high-functioning immune system. Swiss chard is rich in magnesium, vitamin A, and vitamin K, all three of which help build strong bones. Lastly, pine nuts are loaded with heart-healthy fats and offer a significant amount of vitamin K as well.
The blend of spices found in this tasty vegan recipe is also a big flavor player. A mix of cumin, coriander, paprika, and cayenne pepper add a warm, earthy, and slightly spicy kick. It’s important to note that each of these spices also plays a role in weight loss and a healthy immune system!
If you’re not a fan of Swiss chard, or simply don’t have easy access to it, spinach or kale are a great alternative. Both of these greens are super healthy too, so you won’t be sacrificing any nutrients!
Another ingredient you may want to swap is pine nuts. They’re expensive, but they have a unique flavor and texture. Any kind of nuts can technically be used in place of pine nuts. If you’re going to swap them out, we recommend walnuts or pecans.
A Super Easy Plant-Based Meal
This recipe is actually pretty simple, but you can make it even easier by preparing it in advance. You can store the filling and the roasted squash in the fridge separately, or you can even pre-fill them if you’d like! Then, all you have to do is heat them through when you’re ready to eat!
Chickpea Stuffed Acorn Squash
- 3 acorn squash
- 1 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 1 cup wild rice
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 1 red onion diced
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- pinch cayenne pepper
- 15 ounces chickpeas canned, drained and rinsed
- 1 Swiss chard bunch thinly sliced
- kosher salt and black pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup pine nuts toasted
- fresh cilantro chopped for garnish
- green onions chopped for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Cut the acorn squashes in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and cut a thin slice from the bottom of each to allow them to sit flat.
- Place the squash on the prepared baking sheet, hollowed-side up. Brush each one with olive oil and bake until tender, 30 to 40 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook the wild rice according to the package directions.
- In a large skillet, heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the bell pepper and onion and cook until softened, about 10 minutes.
- Add the garlic, cumin, coriander, paprika, and cayenne. Cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- Add the chickpeas and Swiss chard, lightly mashing the chickpeas as they cook. Cook until the chickpeas are heated through and the chard is wilted, about 5 minutes.
- Stir the wild rice into the filling and season the mixture with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Divide the filling between the six squash halves. Return the squash to the oven to heat the filling through, if necessary.
- Top each squash boat with the toasted pine nuts, cilantro, and green onions before serving.
Are you going to try this Chickpea Stuffed Acorn Squash? Have you made it already? Be sure to let us know your thoughts in the comment section!