Every dinner needs a side dish, whether it be a veggie combo or a simple salad. Yet serving the same old sides can become boring. So why not liven up your side dishes a bit with pecans? These savory little nuts are loaded with 19 vitamins and minerals, protein, heart-healthy fats and fiber. Today we have two pecan recipes that you and your family—or friends—are sure to love.
Pecan-Cranberry Stuffed Acorn Squash
This flavorful recipe is portioned just right so you’re not enticed to overindulge on the yummy filling. Plus, you’ll get 15% of the daily recommendation for iron and 40% of Vitamin C. If your store doesn’t have acorn squash you may substitute small dumpling squash. The recipe serves 8 but can be expanded for entertaining or scaled down to feed only 4 if needed.
- 4 acorn squash, cut in half
- 1 c. of brown rice
- ¼ c. of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 1½ tbsp. of fresh, chopped thyme
- ⅓ of dried cranberries
- 1½ tsp. of EVOO for brushing on squash
- ¾ c. of wild rice
- ¼ c. of Sherry wine vinegar
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- ⅓ of chopped pecans
Preheat your oven to 400˚ F.
Spoon out and discard the squash seeds and membranes; then, to make all the squash halves sturdy, cut off the rounded bottoms and use the 1½ tsp. of EVOO to coat the flesh of each squash half.
Face the cut side of the squash down in a baking pan—not on a cookie sheet. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until the squash is cooked through a bit. Remove from the oven and set aside. Note: To prevent the squash from sticking, add some water to the pan halfway through the baking time.
Cook each rice using the box directions. While they’re cooking, in a small bowl whisk the wine vinegar, salt and pepper, the ¼ cup of EVOO and thyme.
Combine the dressing with the rices in a large bowl until everything is well coated; then blend in the pecans and cranberries. Spoon the filling into each squash half until it’s heaped above the squash line.
Stuffing side facing up, put the squash back in the pan; cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes or until each squash half is tender. Transfer to dinner plates and enjoy!