I have always thought of myself as a summer girl, through and through. I live for warm, sunny weather and daylight at 7pm. But I find myself drawn to fall food. There is something about the flavor, textures, and comfort of fall food that I don’t think you can beat. I love squash and I love stuffing food in other food so this is a win win for me.
Here are a few things to note about the way I cook. I am learning to do my best with recipe instructions and measurements. I have always subscribed to the thought that if a recipe calls for 1 clove of garlic that really means 3 cloves and maybe even 4 if I feel like it. Also I live for dairy and cheese, so I’m not even going to try to hide it, but I find that it’s all about moderation. Tell me I can’t have cheese and you’ll find me in the kitchen at 3am eating shredded cheese from the bag straight out of the fridge. But I do my best to keep them in moderation – because it’s all about balance! So most recipes you’ll find from me will have cheese, dairy, butter, probably something else that most diets don’t want you have and that’s just the way it is. Obviously if you are not able to eat those items you can leave them out or substitute with your compliant food item of choice. I absolutely did not mean to get on a tangent about cheese but anyway, back to the squash. I wanted to be able to use all the fall flavors I love, have it be a little rich & decadent, stuff it in an acorn squash and let magic happen.
Acorn squash has a very mild taste so I find that it’s perfect for stuffing with other food because it doesn’t overpower your filling. It can be used with sweeter foods or savory, I love a versatile gourd. They are easy to cut in half, which sometimes can be half the battle. Scoop out the fibers & seeds, drizzle with olive oil, salt & pepper, and stick them in the oven at 400 while you prepare your filling.
Now for the filling! I like a combo of turkey sausage and hot Italian sausage, but you do you. In a large pan, add your sausage, onion, and celery and sauté until sausage is cooked through then turn off heat. Drain out any excess fat – depending on your sausage situation. Yeah, I really typed sausage situation, and I laughed, because aren’t we all still in junior high? Just me? Cool cool.
Next I add my garlic, seasonings, chopped apples, dried cranberries, and greek yogurt. Something about the greek yogurt takes this dish to the next level for me. It adds just enough richness and turns the filling into this creamy masterpiece that I think is perfection by itself. I want my apples to retain a little bit of a crunch which is why I wait until the heat is off to add them. You may end up with more filling than squash and that’s okay! I will sometimes heat it up on the stovetop and add it to the base of my plate when serving the squash – because there really is never enough filling. Or I’ll eat it by itself.
Now take your squash from the oven. I do this pre-baking step because you want the squash to be tender, but also not overcook your filling. Fill the squash with the yummy sausage mixture. And now, because I can’t help myself, sprinkle with just a little teensy bit of cheese. I like an Italian blend (mozzarella, fontina, parmesan, romano) because they are all good melting cheeses and add a nice golden brown color to the dish. And also because cheese makes things better.
Bake until your cheese is nice and golden and the squash is fork tender. This can vary depending on your squash size and oven but I’d check in at around 10-12 minutes! And there you have it! This is a great easy weeknight meal that is an excellent leftover! It’s also good for a dinner party or a Thanksgiving/Friendsgiving get-together!
Fall Stuffed Squash
- 4 medium acorn squash
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1lb turkey sausage
- 1lb hot Italian sausage
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 4 celery stalks, diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 apples, cored and diced – I prefer a Honeycrisp or Gala
- 3 tbsp Rosemary, fresh
- 2 tbsp Sage, fresh
- 1tsp Thyme, dried
- Salt/Pepper/Red Pepper Flake, to taste
- 3/4 to 1 cup Greek Yogurt (I always use 2%)
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- Shredded Cheese, for topping – optional
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Halve your acorn squash and remove seeds and fibers. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper and place in oven to bake. In large pan, over medium-high heat, sauté sausage, onion, and celery until the sausage is cooked through then turn off heat. Drain off excess fat. Add minced garlic, apples, seasonings, dried cranberries, and greek yogurt and stir to combine. Remove squash from oven and fill with sausage mixture. Sprinkle with shredded cheese, if using. Place back in the oven and turn the heat down to 375. Bake for 10-12 minutes until your cheese is golden brown and the squash is fork tender (timing may vary depending on squash size and oven). Remove from oven and enjoy!