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Posted on Sun, Feb 5, 2012 : 5:26 a.m.

Fiber is key to a healthy, delicious winter dinner

By Staff


This one-dish meal is rich in savory flavors.

AP Photo | Matthew Mead

ALISON LADMAN,For The Associated Press

The key to ensuring that dinner is both substantial and healthy? Fiber.

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. These foods also tend to be lower in calories, which means you can load up without getting weighed down.

This one-dish meal is rich in savory flavors thanks to a blend of mushrooms and cheese, as well as plenty of fiber from the farro.

The flavors 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.



Start to finish: 50 minutes

Servings: 4

1 large acorn squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)

1/2 cup farro

8 ounces mixed mushrooms, chopped

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 shallots, chopped

2 cups baby spinach

1/2 teaspoon orange zest

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano

2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese

4 lemon wedges

Heat the oven to 375 F. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil.

Cut the acorn squash into quarters. Scoop out and discard the seeds. Trim off a small slice of skin from the curved side of each quarter to allow it to sit flat.

Spritz a 9-by-9-inch baking dish with cooking spray and arrange the squash in the pan, skin side down. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until just softened.

Meanwhile, make the stuffing. Add the farro to the boiling water and cook until tender but still al dente, about 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper and cook for 10 minutes, or until well browned. Add the garlic, shallots, spinach, orange zest, thyme and oregano, then cook for 3 more minutes. Stir in the drained farro.

When the squash is ready, spoon the stuffing into the center of each quarter. Sprinkle the feta cheese over the stuffing and bake for another 20 minutes, or until the squash is tender when pierced with the tip of a knife. Serve each squash quarter with a wedge of lemon.

Nutrition information per serving (values are rounded to the nearest whole number): 170 calories; 15 calories from fat (7 percent of total calories); 2 g fat (1 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 5 mg cholesterol; 37 g carbohydrate; 7 g protein; 5 g fiber; 320 mg sodium.