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This tasty chicken enchilada-stuffed acorn squash recipe is a healthier way to enjoy the flavors you love for a fraction of the calories, fat, and sodium!
Do you miss eating chicken enchiladas? The spicy flavors and creamy toppings are undeniably delicious!
Unfortunately, a typical serving in a Mexican restaurant can have upwards of 900 calories, 50g fat, and 1,500mg sodium. Yikes!
Instead, I satisfy my craving by making chicken enchilada-stuffed acorn squash right at home!
The customary tortillas have been replaced by squash, but all of the spicy enchilada flavors are still there. And I love the hearty texture you get from the acorn squash.
To get that amazing enchilada taste, this recipe includes flavor-packed ingredients like chiles, onion, garlic, spices, and enchilada sauce. So while it may look like there are a lot of steps, this recipe is really just about cooking all of the ingredients.
In fact, it’s as simple as roasting your acorn squash, whipping up the sauce in one pan on the stove, then assembling and baking the final dish!
How to make chicken enchilada-stuffed acorn squash
This recipe brings together an amazing list of ingredients for a meal that’s full of satisfying spice and flavor!
You can see how it’s made in this video or follow the step-by-step instructions below.
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Step 2: Place the acorn squash halves, flesh side up, in a 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Brush each half with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Step 3: Pour enough water in the baking dish to barely cover the bottom, then cover with foil, place in the oven, and bake for 1 hour.
Step 4: Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
Step 5: In a 2-quart saucepan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat.
Step 6: Add the onion and poblano, then cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to soften and look translucent, about 3 minutes.
Step 7: Add the garlic, cumin, and pepper, then cook an additional 3 minutes.
Step 8: Add the enchilada sauce and cooked chicken to the saucepan. Bring to a low boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes or until sauce thickens. Remove from heat.
Step 9: Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Step 10: Mix about 1/3 of the cheese into the chicken mixture, then divide the chicken mixture among the squash halves. Top with the remaining cheese.
Step 11: Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the cheese has melted.
Add your favorite enchilada toppings and dive in! I like to garnish mine with Greek yogurt or sour cream and some chopped cilantro.
The longest part of this recipe is cooking the acorn squash. To save yourself some time, you can cook it the day before and refrigerate it over night.
Or, to cook the squash the same day but speed up the process, cover the halves loosely in plastic wrap and cook them in the microwave for about 15 minutes.
Want to meal prep for the week? Just cook the squash and make the sauce minus the chicken ahead of time.
Once you’re ready to enjoy your meal, add the chicken to the sauce and reheat on the stove, then stuff the squash and bake!
Make your own enchilada sauce
To keep the recipe as simple as possible, I use enchilada sauce from a can. However, this can be high in fat and sodium and may also contain gluten.
For a healthier enchilada sauce, you always have the option to make your own! There are tons of recipes out there, and most of them will stay fresh in your refrigerator for a while.
If that seems like too much work, just be very diligent about reading the labels at the grocery store and choose the sauce with the best nutrition.
This dish is easiest to store before you assemble and bake it. If you cook the squash and sauce ahead of time, both will stay fresh in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Then, you can assemble and bake when you’re ready to enjoy!
If you have any leftover enchilada-stuffed squash, you can store it covered in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
It will still taste delicious, just keep in mind that the squash may get a bit mushy as it absorbs the liquids from the sauce and chicken.
Other healthy chicken recipes
Looking for some flavor-packed dishes that you can feel good about eating? Thankfully, eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice taste!
Here are a few more recipes I think you’ll enjoy:
I have also created this roundup of Easy Diabetic Chicken Recipes that you can check out for more chicken recipe inspiration.
When you’ve tried this dish, please don’t forget to let me know how you liked it and rate the recipe in the comments below!
Chicken Enchilada-Stuffed Acorn Squash
- 2 small acorn squash, (halved and seeded)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, (divided)
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- ½ medium onion, (diced)
- 1 small fresh poblano chile pepper, (seeded and minced)
- 1 clove garlic, (minced)
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper or Hot Shot, (combination of black pepper and cayenne)
- 15 ounces red enchilada sauce, (1 can)
- 2 cups cooked chicken breast, (shredded)
- 1 cup shredded Mexican-blend cheese, (4 ounces)
- Greek yogurt or sour cream, (optional)
- Fresh cilantro, (chopped — optional)
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Place the acorn squash halves, flesh side up, in a 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Brush each half with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.2 small acorn squash, 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- Pour enough water in the baking dish to barely cover the bottom, then cover with foil, place in the oven, and bake for 1 hour.
- Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
- In a 2-quart saucepan, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat.2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Add the onion and poblano, then cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to soften and look translucent, about 3 minutes.½ medium onion, 1 small fresh poblano chile pepper
- Add the garlic, cumin, and pepper, then cook an additional 3 minutes.1 clove garlic, ½ teaspoon ground cumin, ½ teaspoon ground black pepper or Hot Shot
- Add the enchilada sauce and cooked chicken to the saucepan. Bring to a low boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 5 minutes or until sauce thickens. Remove from heat.15 ounces red enchilada sauce, 2 cups cooked chicken breast
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- Mix about 1/3 of the cheese into the chicken mixture, then divide the chicken mixture among the squash halves. Top with the remaining cheese.1 cup shredded Mexican-blend cheese
- Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until the cheese has melted.
- Serve with Greek yougurt and cilantroGreek yogurt or sour cream, Fresh cilantro