Patricia Heaton's Kale and Wild Rice-Stuffed Winter Squash

Squash is rich in carotenoids which boosts your immunity, but Patricia Heaton took the fiber-rich vegetable a step further with this all-in-one recipe. Between dark, leafy greens, a healthy carb, and winter squash, this meal is full of antioxidants and minerals as well - plus the warm, salty punch of Pecorino Romano cheese gives it the feeling of comfort food. This can be enjoyed as a filling side, or you can add shredded chicken to the stuffing to make it into a light entrée. Find more recipes like this one here

From Patricia Heaton's Food for Family and Friends: 100 Favorite Recipes for a Busy, Happy Life by Patricia Heaton. Copyright © 2018. Reprinted by permission of Morrow Cookbooks, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

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Extra virgin olive oil
2 Acorn squash (cut in half and seeded)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup Wild rice
1 Shallot (chopped fine)
6 Tuscan kale leaves (ribs removed and leaves chopped fine)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Zest of 1 lemon
handful Fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves (chopped)
1/4 cup Toasted walnuts (chopped)
2 tbsp Grated Pecorino Romano cheese

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Rub a bit of oil inside the squash and season with salt and pepper. Place the acorn squash cut sides down on a baking sheet. Bake until tender, 35 to 40 minutes.

In a medium saucepan, combine the rice, 1 3/4 cups of water, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the liquid is absorbed, about 40 minutes.

Swirl a bit of oil in a medium skillet and heat it over medium heat until shimmering. Add the shallot and sauté until softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the kale and sauté just until the leaves begin to wilt, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the cooked rice, Dijon, and lemon zest and stir to mix well. Cook for 2 minutes more, adding some oil if the rice seems too dry. Stir in the parsley, walnuts, and Pecorino Romano.

Remove the squash from the oven. Spoon the rice filling into each half and serve hot.