Walnuts are one of my favorite foods because they are rich and satisfying but not overwhelming in flavor, so they blend well with many dishes. I also try to use walnuts whenever possible because they’re packed with omega-3 fatty acids, which my family needs to get through plant sources because we don’t eat fish.
Omega-3 fatty acids are extremely important for proper brain development. Studies have shown that children with good omega-3 intake do better in school and have fewer behavioral problems. Omega-3s are also instrumental in promoting cardiovascular health, reducing inflammation, and help to protect against certain kinds of cancer. They are an imperative part of our diet.
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil, plus more for greasing
- 4 whole acorn or butternut squashes
- 1 cup thinly sliced onion
- 1 cup peeled and finely chopped parsnip
- 2 firm sweet apples (such as Gala, Fuji, or Pink Lady)
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup chopped shiitake mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a small baking sheet generously with grapeseed oil.
- Cut 1 inch off the tops of the acorn squashes, and reserve the tops. Scoop out the seeds and all but ½ inch of the flesh from the inside. Discard the seeds and finely chop the flesh; set aside. Put the squash shells cut-side down on the baking sheet and bake until tender, 35 to 37 minutes. Let cool.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the onion, parsnip, apples, curry powder, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring, until the onions are soft, about 4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and reserved squash flesh and cook until lightly golden, about 4 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the parsley and walnuts. Set aside.
- Turn the squash shells right side up on the baking sheet and spoon the filling into each. Place the reserved tops on the baking sheet beside the filled shells.
- Bake until tender and the stuffed squashes begin to brown, about 15 minutes. Serve hot, with the squash “lid” next to the squash on the plate.