Polenta Stuffed Mexican Acorn Squash – Blogger Secret Ingredient

When Sabrina picked polenta as this week’s Blogger Secret Ingredient, I was a little apprehensive.  I had never cooked with polenta before, and I’ve only had it a handful of times.  But instead of opting out this week, I came up with a new recipe!

Since polenta is basically corn, I thought I would give this a southern, Mexican twist – but at the same time use some of the lovely seasonal squash I have sitting in my kitchen.  I was lazy and bought the pre-cooked kind of polenta, but you could make this from scratch as well.  This week my high school friend (HI LAURA!) asked me for a good acorn squash recipe, so I tried to use that too.  I came up with this:

Polenta Stuffed Mexican Acorn Squash – 2 ways (vegetarian and with chicken)

Servings: 2

Prep time: 1 hour


  • 1 acorn squash
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup chopped sweet onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped (or garlic powder! – 1 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (or pumpkin pie spice, or just leave this out – I add cinnamon to almost everything and I think it’s awesome)
  • 2-3 veggie dogs (chopped up) OR 2-3 chicken breast tenderloin (chopped up – I used the frozen kind from Trader Joe’s – just defrost in the microwave for a minute before using)
  • 1/2 large carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup of corn
  • 9 ounces of pre-cooked polenta (it looks like a sausage; I got mine at Trader Joe’s and used half of it – if you’re starting from scratch, this was 2.5×70 calorie servings)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 medium roma tomatoes, chopped (slightly smaller than a fist)
  • water, as needed
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 400F.  Cut the acorn squash in half, and place them (face down) on a baking sheet that’s been sprayed with cooking spray.  Cook for 40-45 minutes, or until soft.
  2. In a saute pan over medium-high heat, heat the oil.  Add the onions and spices; cook for 1-2 minutes.  Add the veggie dogs OR the chicken and cook for another minute.  Add the carrot, pepper, and corn – cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  3. Mash up the polenta in a bowl with a fork.  Add a few tablespoons of water.  Add this to the pan.  Cook for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add the salt and tomatoes and a splash of water (1/4 – 1/3 cup).  Reduce heat to low.  Continue to cook, adding water periodically to keep the mixture moist, for 5-6 more minutes.
  5. Once the squash is finished, remove it from the oven.  Fill each half of the squash with the polenta mixture and top each squash with 1/4 cup of cheddar.  You will have extra filling!  You can eat it plain or have it with rice, etc…
  6. Return the squash to the oven (face up this time) and cook for 5 minutes or so; if you let the polenta mixture cool before adding it or if you let the squash cool – cook for longer (10 minutes).

I actually ended up cooking the polenta mix in two separate batches (each half-sized) because I wanted to keep mine vegetarian and Bobby wanted chicken.  So here is the vegetarian one:

And the chicken: (Bobby was excited for the cheese and got extra)

Turns out I love polenta – who knew? Have a great night everyone 😀

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