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Stuffed Squash with Chickpeas and Olives
Geologists say the remains of squash in Mexican caves are at least 7,000 years old. With corn and beans, it was one of the basics of early American diets.
All squashes with hard rinds are loaded with vitamin C and beta carotene, antioxidant vitamins that have been shown to help prevent cancer, heart disease, and age-related eye problems. They also contain plenty of iron, potassium, and fiber.
There is a big variability in the amount of beta carotene found in squash. It can range from 0.5 to 5 milligrams. The darker the squash, the more beta carotene it contains. The shell of an acorn squash should be very dark green. Butternut squash should be butterscotch tan. Hubbards should be deep orange.
Simple baked squash is fine by itself and needs just a touch of thyme and salt to make a delicious dish. Or try a dressed-up entree like this one.
Use a heavy knife to cut 1 1/2 inches off the tops of four squashes that are about 4 inches across. Trim the bottoms so they’ll stand up. Scrape out seeds, and add salt and pepper.
In a bowl, add the following:
1 cup cooked rice
1 cup canned chickpeas
1 diced red bell pepper
2 chopped scallions
2 minced garlic cloves
1 tablespoon chopped pickled jalapeno
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/3 cup sliced stuffed green olives
1/3 cup chicken stock
Blend in 2 whisked eggs.
Divide the mixture among the squash, patting in to fill completely. Put the squash in a deep baking dish. Add water until it comes halfway up the sides of the squash. Cover with foil and bake 45 minutes at 350 degrees.