This recipe was born because I had an extra-large bunch of fresh cilantro on hand, a very large acorn squash, and I love Mexican Food! This dish is extra hearty with both beans and Beyond Meat Ground. I added smokey chipotle in adobo, cumin, and chili powder to generate a rich, slow-cooked flavor profile that pairs very nicely with the slight sweetness of the squash.
I went for Beyond plant-based ground this time around, but you could do a simple swap of a plant-based ground, or omit and use extra beans to make this dish meat-free and still packed with protein and fiber.
The Cilantro Goddess Dressing was a bit of an experiment that I’m not quite obsessed with. It pairs perfectly with this squash, but also serves as a fantastic, zesty, and creamy dressing that is light on fat and calories and dairy-free too! I used it on salad all week. It would also go great atop steamed or roasted veggies or used as a marinade for chicken breast.
Not a cilantro fan? Use another fresh herb. For this squash dish, I’d keep it simple with just parsley. In serving with salad or veggies, you can really have fun with it. A basil/parsley combination would be amazing. Dill, tarragon, or mint would also work great. This is a great dressing to wiz up during a Sunday meal prep session and keep all week in the fridge.
On the meal prep front, the squash part of this dish can be made a day or two ahead as well. About 35 – 40 minutes before you feel like eating, pop it into a 375-degree oven until it’s warmed through…or use your trusty microwave or toaster oven if you’re in more of a rush to eat.
Servings: 4 | Level: Easy | Prep: 15 min | Cook: 45 min
Calories: 489 | Protein: 30g | Fat: 19g | Carbs: 54g
Plus, 11g (45%) of your daily fiber!
Cilantro Goddess Dressing
Servings: 8 | Level: Easy | Prep: 3 min | Calories: 95
- 16 oz Beyond Ground or ground turkey (7%fat)
- 2 acorn squashes (2 – 3lbs total)
- 1 3/4 cup black beans (no salt)
- 14 oz diced tomatoes (no salt)
- 3/4 cup red onion, small diced
- 1/2 cup bell pepper, small diced
- 1/2 cup mushrooms, small diced
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 chipotle pepper, plus 1 – 2tbsp adobe sauce
- 3/4tsp + 1/4 tsp each ground cumin and ground chili powder
- 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 3/4 tsp dried oregano
- 1/2 – 3/4 tsp salt and pepper
- 1/3 cup fresh cilantro
- zest and juice of one lime
- 2/3 cup plain, unsweetened yogurt (dairy-free to make vegan)
- 1/4 jalapeno (optional), rough diced
- 2 green onions, rough diced
- 1/2 cup cilantro
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/3 cup olive oil
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Next, prep your squash. Cut the squash lengthwise and scoop out the pulp and seeds with a spoon. Place halves flesh-side up on a sheet pan or baking dish. If your squash likes to roll around, make a small slice off the back of the skin to make a flat surface so it sits still (this will keep your stuffing from spilling out everywhere).
Drizzle 1 – 2 tsp of extra virgin olive oil and rub evenly into the flesh part of the squash. Sprinkle a 1/2 tsp of each evenly on the squash: chili powder, onion powder, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Next, grab four cloves of garlic. Use the flat end of a chef’s knife on top of the garlic. Give it a firm crack with your hand on the flat part of the knife to just pop the garlic cloves. Keep them in their peels and place a clove in each half. Place squash in oven and let bake until fork tender. This can be 20 -50 min depending on how large your squash it. Give it a check every 20 minutes. Stick a knife or fork in the side and if it is soft, you’re done. If it resists, then it needs to cook longer. Remove squash from oven and set aside to cool so it is touchable.
Time for filling! Dice up onion, peppers, and mushrooms. Take the roasted garlic cloves out of the squash. Gently squeeze them to remove from their peels. Dice them up and set aside.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add a tbsp of oil followed by the ground meat. Break up the ground with a wooden spoon and let brown for a few minutes. Add 1/4 tsp (big pinch) of salt and pepper.
Add the onions, peppers, and mushrooms. Let those cook for another few minutes. Next add the roasted garlic and 3/4 tsp of each: chili powder, cumin, and oregano. Top with a can of (1 3/4 cups) diced tomatoes and a can (1 3/4 cups) of black beans with their liquids.
Nutrition tip – Salt is often hidden in canned goods and is a major contributor to inflammation (think puffy fingers and bloating) and exacerbating hypertension. If you’re watching salt intake, look for canned goods that say “no salt” or “low sodium”. Or, watch this video on making beans at home where you control every ingredient that goes in.
Prep the chipotle in adobo. It will come in a can of sauce – this sauce is so good and pretty spicy!! Add 1 – 2 tbsp of the sauce (less if you don’t like it too spicy). Remove one pepper from the can/jar and chop it into small pieces. Add it to the pan and stir everything together. Give it a taste and add salt and pepper. Turn heat to low and stir occasionally. The excess liquid will cook off. Add the 1/3 cup cilantro and lime zest.
Meanwhile, use a spoon to scoop the flesh out of the squash. Leave a layer of about 1/3 of the squash closest to the skin intact. Rough chop the squash into large chunks and add to the pan with the beans and ground. Squeeze the juice of the lime and gently stir to combine. Turn off the heat on the stove and make sure the oven is turned down to 375.
Keeping squash shells in the roast pan/sheet pan, scoop the meat/bean mix evenly into the shells. You can stuff them nice and plump, and tap down the top and sides to keep it all in place.
Extra stuffing is excellent in a bowl on its own or sauteed quickly in a pan with some wilted greens such as spinach or kale. You could also wrap it up in a tortilla as a burrito. YUM!
Place stuffed squash in the 375 degree oven and cook until warmed through. If you’re making this all in one day – about 15 minute. If reheating the next day, remove from fridge for about 20 – 30 minutes then cook another 30.
While your stuffed squash roast, make the Cilantro Goddess Dressing. Add all the ingredients to a blender until cilantro is completely ground up. The dressing should be relatively thin and a light green color. Taste and add salt if needed. Keep in a lidded container in the fridge for up to a week.
Let squash rest for a few minutes after they bake. Then top with the goddess dressing and maybe a little guac and fresh cilantro.
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