The acorn squash, also known as the pepper squash, is a type of winter squash that belongs to the Cucurbitacea family. It is so-called because of its shape, which resembles an acorn. This nutritious vegetable is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, and It can be baked, roasted, grilled, or sautéed. Acorn squash is a versatile ingredient that can be used in smoothies, soups, stews, and curries. The best part is that it is low in calories, making it an excellent choice for those who want to maintain a healthy weight.
What is the nutritional value of acorn squash?
Acorn squash is a nutrient-dense vegetable that is low in fat, contains no cholesterol, and is an excellent source of dietary fiber. One cup of cubed, cooked acorn squash has approximately 60 calories, less than 1 gram of fat, and 2 grams of fiber. It is also rich in vitamins A, C, and B6 and minerals such as potassium and magnesium.
Vitamins in Acorn Squash
Vitamin A – One cup of cubed, cooked acorn squash provides 26% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin A. This vitamin helps maintain healthy vision, promotes cell growth and development, and supports the immune system.
Vitamin C – One cup of cubed, cooked acorn squash provides 20% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C. This antioxidant vitamin helps protect the body against cell damage, aids in collagen production, and boosts the immune system.
Vitamin B6 – One cup of cubed, cooked acorn squash provides 11% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin B6. This vitamin helps the body convert food into energy, aids in brain development and function, and may help reduce inflammation.
Minerals in Acorn Squash
Potassium – One cup of cubed, cooked acorn squash provides 17% of the daily recommended intake of potassium. This mineral helps regulate blood pressure, assists in nerve and muscle function, and may reduce the risk of stroke.
Magnesium – One cup of cubed, cooked acorn squash provides 14% of the daily recommended intake of magnesium. This mineral is essential for healthy bone development, assists in muscle and nerve function, and may help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
How to prepare acorn squash?
You can prepare acorn squash in many ways, depending on your preference. The most common ways to prepare acorn squash are baking, roasting, grilling, or sautéing. Here is a simple recipe for baked acorn squash:
- Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Cut the acorn squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and stringy flesh using a spoon.
- Place the acorn squash halves cut-side-up on a baking sheet and brush the flesh with olive oil or melted butter.
- Season the flesh with salt, pepper, and any other herbs or spices you prefer.
- Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the flesh is tender and golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes before serving.
Acorn Squash recipes
Acorn squash can be used as an ingredient in many recipes, both savory and sweet. Here are some of our favorite ways to use acorn squash:
- Roasted Acorn Squash Soup
- Acorn Squash and Chickpea Curry
- Quinoa and Acorn Squash Stuffing
- Roasted Acorn Squash Salad with Arugula and Pomegranate
- Acorn Squash Smoothie
- Baked Acorn Squash with Maple Glaze
- Acorn Squash and Apple Pie
- Acorn Squash and Cranberry Bread
Is acorn squash good for weight loss?
Yes! Acorn squash is an excellent choice for those who want to maintain a healthy weight. One cup of cubed, cooked acorn squash has approximately 60 calories and 2 grams of fiber, which can help you feel full for longer and reduce overall calorie intake. This vegetable is also low in fat and contains no cholesterol, making it an ideal choice for those who want to cut down on calories and saturated fats.
The Bottom Line
Acorn squash is a tasty and highly nutritious vegetable that is low in calories and rich in vitamins and minerals. It can be prepared in many ways and used in both savory and sweet recipes. Whether you are trying to lose weight, maintain a healthy weight, or simply want to add more nutrient-dense foods to your diet, acorn squash is an excellent choice.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: How many calories are in one cup of acorn squash?
A: One cup of cubed, cooked acorn squash has approximately 60 calories.
Q: Is acorn squash low in fat?
A: Yes! Acorn squash is low in fat, containing less than 1 gram of fat per cup.
Q: What vitamins are in acorn squash?
A: Acorn squash is rich in vitamins A, C, and B6.
Q: What minerals are in acorn squash?
A: Acorn squash is an excellent source of potassium and magnesium.
Q: How can I prepare acorn squash?
A: You can prepare acorn squash by baking, roasting, grilling, or sautéing it. You can also use it as an ingredient in recipes such as soups, stews, and curries.
- Schwartz, S. P. (2003). How to Cook Vegetables. Compass Point Books.
- United States Department of Agriculture. (2021). Acorn Squash. Retrieved from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170329/nutrients