Because Fall is simply the best time of the year (in my humble opinion which I know you didn’t ask for but…it’s my blog) it is time to start breaking out the squash recipes! Whether you are needing a hearty and comforting dinner for the family, or a tasty and exciting Thanksgiving side dish, this Sausage, Sage & Apple Stuffed Roasted Acorn Squash covers your bases.
It is squash season ya’ll!
When I walk in to the supermarket and I see those beautiful, perfect little dark green squashes for the first time of the season, I get goosebumps. I know, weird right? But there is just something so incredibly comforting about a sausage & sage stuffed roasted squash that makes me feel so cozy and happy.
This dish has the prime flavor trio. Pork sausage literally pairs amazingly with sage, apples, and squash, pure and simple. And HI, it makes perfectly portioned lunches for the week!
How to cut your squash without cutting off a limb:
It is quite simple in fact. The hardest part is cutting the darn thing in half. It is not an easy feat so please, be careful! I like to cut the bottom off of the squash only to help give me a level surface to really get my knife in there. Once you cut a little off of the end, place it on the cutting board stem-side up. Using a big, sharp knife, wedge it into the crease of the squash and try to split the stem. I like to keep the stem because I think it adds to the visual appeal and lets people know “hey, I’m a squash”. Now, this is going to sound weird, but once your knife is good and wedged in the squash, pick up the squash with your knife handle and bang it back down a few times on your cutting board. This will help get your knife to actually cut the squash in half without your knife slipping out and cutting off a finger. Eventually it will make the perfect split and you will have 2 squash halves with guts.
You can cut your squash pretty too:
I do like cutting it the other way as well though, it creates a pretty acorn bowl with ridged edges. But because I have cut myself with a knife on several occasions, I play the safe card and do it the way that suits me. Please feel free to do it the prettier way!
Next, scoop out the guts (I know but it is just what I call them) and seeds and discard, allowing for your spoon to scoop out a clean half hole. Think of it like gutting your pumpkin at Halloween (again, sorry with the gross terms).
Place your clean acorn squash halves on a lined baking sheet. Brush on olive oil, minced garlic, dried parsley and a few cracks of salt and pepper. Cut side up, roast them for 1 hour. VOILA! Perfectly roasted acorn squash!
The inside mixture is super simple as well. While your squashes are roasting, brown your sausage in a hot skillet. Once browned, place on a plate lined with paper towels to soak up the grease. Do NOT get rid of the grease that is in the pan however, this adds so much flavor to the rest of the ingredients! Add onions and celery and start to scrape up the brown bits that are on the bottom of the skillet. Let these cook for about 3 minutes until slightly translucent. Add the diced apples and stir for another 2 minutes. Feel free to add in some olive oil here if it gets too dry! Next, add in the sage, breadcrumbs and 3/4 of a cup of the grated parmesan cheese. You will see it get nice and melty melty. Once you see if begin to melt, remove the skillet from the heat. I like to let the mixture cool for a bit so I set it aside in a large bowl, this will help cool it faster. Add the browned pork sausage to the bowl with the rest of the ingredients and give it a stir to combine. In a small bowl, beat one egg. Once the entire mixture is slightly cooled, add the egg and stir to combine. You want to do this when the mixture is cooled so it doesn’t scramble the egg. This helps keep the mixture moist!
Time to stuff!
Once your squash is done roasting, scoop the mixture into the acorn half. Really pile it in there! I like mine to be heeping with yummy sausage mixture! Sprinkle the top with more grated parmesan. Here I like to give the acorn squash some parmesan love along the edge so it gives it that crispy, cheesy, yum factor.
Once your little squashies are filled and sprinkled with cheese, put them back in the oven and bake for another 20 minutes.
Prep your squash and filling in advance for a quicker dinner!
Now, I never said this was a quick dinner by any means so to quicken the process for a weeknight meal, take some time the night before to roast all of the squash halves. You can also make the mixture ahead of time and add the egg right before you stuff the squash for dinnertime. You don’t want to add the egg too soon because the breadcrumbs will absorb all the moisture and that defeats the purpose of the egg.
This Sausage, Sage and Apple Stuffed Roasted Squash is the PERFECT chilly, Fall/Winter dinner and makes the best lunch leftovers. It is flavorful, not spicy so the kids will love it, savory and simply fun to eat! Enjoy!
- 3 acorn squash, halved
- olive oil (just have some on hand to brush on the squash halves, no measurement here)
- salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 pound ground pork sausage
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 large celery stalks, finely chopped
- 2 honey crisp apples, cored and finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage, finely chopped
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated and divided (save about 1/4 cup to sprinkle on top of the squash halves)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Using a sharp knife, cut the end of the squash off so you can use it as a flat surface (do not cut stem side, cut opposite end)
- Wedge your knife in the crease that runs through the stem (that is the halfway point)
- Once your knife is good and wedged in, pick up your knife handle with squash attached and give it a good whack against the counter. This will help get your knife through the squash and crack it clean in half without cutting off a limb!
- Scoop out the guts and seeds of squash and discard
- Brush the inside of the squash halves with olive oil, fresh garlic, dried sage, and salt and pepper. Evenly distribute all ingredients to each squash
- Bake for 50-60 minutes depending on size of your squash, until squash is tender and you can pierce it with a fork (this is why it is good to prep squash night before to cut out an hour of roasting time!)
- While squash is roasting, begin to brown the sausage for about 5 minutes, breaking it up into tiny chunks
- Scoop out the sausage with a slotted spoon and set on a paper towel lined plate to drain grease, but do not discard grease in pan! We want that for flavor!
- In same skillet, add onions and celery and saute for another 3 minutes (add a drizzle of olive oil here if necessary)
- Add apples and sauce for another 2 minutes until softened
- Stir in fresh sage and breadcrumbs
- Add 3/4 cup of the grated parmesan cheese, once it starts to melt, turn off heat
- Pour mixture in a large bowl to help cool off, about 10 minutes
- In a small bowl, beat 1 egg and pour into sausage mixture and stir (this will help keep it moist. You do not want to add the egg while mixture is too hot because it will scramble)
- Fill each squash half with a heaping spoonful of sausage mixture
- Sprinkle remaining parmesan cheese on top of each squash
- Put back in oven and roast another 20 minutes at 400 degrees
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