The key to ensuring that dinner is both substantial and healthy? Fibre.
Adding plenty of whole grains and vegetables not only provides piles of nutrients, it also fills you up and keeps you full for long after the meal has finished. As well, these foods tend to be lower in calories, which means you can load up without getting weighed down.
This one-dish meal is rich in savoury flavours thanks to a blend of mushrooms and cheese, as well as plenty of fibre from the farro.
The flavours of the stuffing combine with the sweetness of acorn squash and fresh, bright citrus and herbs to create a meal that will feel less like you're leaving something out and more like you're indulging in something hearty.
Farro is an ancient variety of wheat common in Italian and Middle Eastern cooking. It usually is sold parcooked to make it quick-cooking, so be sure to check your package's instructions to determine the appropriate prep time.
Farro and Mushroom Stuffed Acorn Squash
Start to finish: 50 minutes
1 large acorn squash (about 750 g /1 1/2 lb)
125 ml (1/2 cup) farro
250 g (8 oz) mixed mushrooms, chopped
2 ml (1/2 tsp) salt
1 ml (1/4 tsp) ground black pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, chopped
500 ml (2 cups) baby spinach
2 ml (1/2 tsp) orange zest
15 ml (1 tbsp) chopped fresh thyme
5 ml (1 tsp) chopped fresh oregano
30 ml (2 tbsp) crumbled feta cheese
4 lemon wedges
Heat oven to 190 C (375 F). Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil.
Cut acorn squash into quarters. Scoop out and discard seeds. Trim off a small slice of skin from the curved side of each quarter to allow it to sit flat.
Spritz a 23-cm-by-23-cm (9-by-9-inch) baking dish with cooking spray and arrange squash in pan, skin side down. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until just softened.
Meanwhile, make stuffing. Add farro to boiling water and cook until tender but still al dente, about 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.
Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high. Add mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes or until well browned. Add garlic, shallots, spinach, orange zest, thyme and oregano, then cook for 3 more minutes. Stir in drained farro.
When squash is ready, spoon stuffing into centre of each quarter. Sprinkle feta cheese over stuffing and bake for another 20 minutes or until squash is tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. Serve each squash quarter with a wedge of lemon.
Makes 4 servings.
Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 170 calories; 15 calories from fat (7 per cent of total calories); 2 g fat (1 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 5 mg cholesterol; 37 g carbohydrate; 7 g protein; 5 g fibre; 320 mg sodium.
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