Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash

Thanksgiving has passed for us Canadians. American Thanksgiving is coming up very soon. I have been viewing an interview with the president of Butterball who was stating that this year in particular, turkeys would be much larger birds as a result of a shortage of workers to process turkeys during COVID, which resulted in turkeys growing much larger before they were sent to the processors. Small turkeys between 10 and 12 pounds will be extremely hard to find this year! And it definitely is squash season.

If you are not into a traditional Thanksgiving with turkey and all of the trimmings OR if you are not a large family but just a couple, then this could be perfect as a smaller dinner. You could make it vegan using no protein at all!

Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 medium acorn squash
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for brushing onto the squash
  • 1 yellow onion, small dice
  • 1 red bell pepper, small dice
  • 2 stalks celery, small dice
  • salt and pepper
  • 1-2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme or half a teaspoon dried
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb mild or hot Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 2 cups torn curly kale
  • ¾ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese, divided

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 400 °F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Slice a small piece off the top and bottom of the squash so it can sit upright, then slice the acorn squash in half width-wise (not through the stem). This will result in a pretty scalloped edge. Scrape out the seeds.

3. Place the squash halves on the baking sheet and brush with olive oil. Turn upside down (seed side down) and roast for 25 minutes or until the squash is fork tender.

4. Meanwhile, make the filling. Over medium heat, warm 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add the onion, bell pepper and celery and sauté until onion is softened and turning translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Stir in the chopped fresh thyme, then add the minced garlic and sausage. Continue to sauté for another 8 minutes, or until the sausage is fully cooked.

6. Place the torn kale on top of the sausage mixture and cover the skillet to steam for 1-2 minutes. Stir and re-cover to continue steaming the kale, if necessary. Once the kale is wilted, stir in half the parmesan cheese and remove the pan from heat.

7. Once the squash is done roasting, remove them from the oven and turn the heat up to broil. Flip the squash bowl side up and divide the filling evenly among them (pile it high, they’ll be overfull), then sprinkle on the remaining the parmesan cheese.

8. Broil for 2-3 minutes or until the cheese is melted, making sure not to over-brown the squash.

Serve immediately and store any leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Eat within4 days.

Nutrition

Garlic Kale

If you have not tried kale yet, now may be the time. This super green is packed to the max with nutrition that puts it high on the list of the world’s healthiest foods.

Even spinach cannot come close in comparison to the number of nutrients that kale provides. Including kale in your diet provides nutrients that support healthy skin, hair and bones, as well as healthy digestion and a reduced risk of heart disease.

Other possible health benefits of kale include improving blood glucose control in diabetics, lowering the risk of cancer, lowering blood pressure and lowering the risk of developing asthma.

OK…so you might not like it as a salad ingredient, but it really soars as a cooked side dish!

Garlic Kale
Ingredients
  1. • 2 bunches of kale, ripped, washed, and dried
  2. • 4 garlic cloves, sliced thin
  3. • 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  4. • 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
  5. • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Instructions
  1. Heat oil in large saute pan on medium. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant. Turn heat up to medium high and add kale, mixing it with tongs to coat it with olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Saute until kale wilts and turns a deep green, approximately 7 minutes. Season with salt, give another good mix, and serve.