A Heart-Healthy Vegetable Recipe
- 1 cup organic brown rice
- 4 cups vegetable broth or water
- 1 Tbsp. light olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- ¾ cup diced celery
- ¾ cup fresh cranberries; coarsely chopped
- ½ cup pecans or walnuts; coarsely chopped
- ½ cup dried apricots; diced
- ½ tsp. Celtic sea salt
- 1/8 tsp. each ground black pepper, ground cardamom, ground cloves
- 1 Tbsp. ground ginger
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 4 acorn squash, halved; seeds and membrane removed (see note below)
- Non-fat, plain organic yogurt (optional) as topping
- Grated nutmeg (optional)
Preheat oven to 375° F. Cook both varieties of rice together in broth or water with ¼ teaspoon of salt (omit salt if broth is already salted). Meanwhile, place squash halves into a large shallow baking dish (you may need two). Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. In a skillet, sauté onion in light olive oil until it becomes transparent. Add the celery and sauté a couple of minutes. Remove from heat. Using a large mixing bowl, blend this mixture together with the cooked rice, cranberries, nuts, apricots, and remaining seasonings.
When done, remove the partially baked squash from the oven. Press the rice mixture into each squash cavity, mounding rice as much as possible. (Depending on how large the squash are, you may end up with some leftover rice mixture, which makes a great side dish by itself.) Cover and bake for 30 minutes or until squash flesh is thoroughly tender. Serve each squash half with a dollop of yogurt and a sprinkling of grated nutmeg.
Note: Don't discard the nutritious squash seeds. Instead, rinse the seeds and remove the membrane. Pat dry. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil and spread the seeds evenly on the sheet. Spray seeds lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt or any other favorite seasoning (optional). Bake the seeds in a 375º F. oven for about 15 minutes, or until they're golden brown. Enjoy immediately as a warm snack, or store them in an airtight container for up to one week.
Makes 8 servings.
Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories 250, Fat 9.5 g, Sodium 633 mg, Carbs 43 g, Fiber 6 g, Protein 3.7 g