As we pack away our shorts and sundresses, and haul out the corduroy, flannel, and down, it feels natural to do the same for our vegetable drawers, trading out hot-weather items like iceberg lettuce and watermelon for something with a little more heft. Enter Stuffed Delicata Squash with Sausage, Greens, and Garlic.
This is such a wonderful time of year to eat winter squash. Not only is is closer to the vine, and therefore still sweet and less starchy than the winter squash of say, February, but it just feels good to the body to eat it. Winter squash is what I like to call a warming food.
When fall arrives to the northern latitudes and our bodies struggle to keep warm as they adjust to the damp and chill (especially those of us with hypothyroidism), Mother Earth gives us these warming foods in abundance. Pumpkin, winter squash, beets, carrots, potatoes, dried beans, celeriac, and jerusalem artichokes all come to mind.
Delicata is a small, oblong squash variety, with thin, edible skin. This recipe plays off it’s natural sweetness with savory elements like sage, garlic, Italian sausage, Parmesan and Romano cheese. Like a favorite fall sweater, this piece of my cooking ensemble is something I’m always happy to dig out of the recipe files after a long, hot summer.
Swiss chard kicks up the nutrition without adding goitrogens, like those found in kale, collard greens, mustard greens, spinach, bok choy, and cabbage. However, if you would like to substitute any of those listed, by all means do so, and with peace of mind. Cooking goitrogenic foods greatly reduces or eliminates their goitrogenic compounds. As I outline in my recipe guidelines, the current thinking on goitrogens is that we should be eating them, just not in excess, and cooked when possible to reduce their thyroid inhibiting effect. Speaking of which, there is one goitrogenic food included in this recipe, which is pine nuts. They are toasted to reduce goitrogens, but feel free to substitute another nut of your choice. Pecans would be lovely.
I first devised this savory stuffed delicata while I was working as a cook at a Natural Food store in Juneau. I’ve made it every fall since, and long before my diagnosis, but it just so happens to fit the bill for this collection, and in a pretty big way as it turns out. Check out the hypothyroid-friendly details below in The BREAKDOWN, a feature I include with all my recipes:
- 1 cup of delicata squash contains over 200% DV for Vitamin A, which may reduce the risk of developing hypothyroidism in the first place.
- Though it is naturally sweet and filling, the glycemic load for winter squash is very low, with a score of 5 out of 250, making it a good choice for weight loss.
- Swiss chard is one of the few leafy greens that does not contain goitrogens, which can inhibit thyroid function. It is also a natural source of iodine, a key thyroid nutrient.
- Chard is also a good source of Zinc, and a very good source of Vitamin A, both key thyroid nutrients.
- A 3 ounce serving of pork contains 103% DV for tyrosine, 63% DV for selenium, and 17% DV for Zinc–3 key nutrients for thyroid health.