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Roasted Winter Squash with Quinoa and Sausage

Winter squash. It’s here. In all of its glorious array of colors and shapes. Just begging to be stuffed with some type of savory filling, and I was happy to oblige.

When winter squash makes its way to the grocer’s produce section, I always have grandiose ideas of how I’m going to dress them. A worthy vessel of so many tasty possibilities.

Pomegranate seeds with fig, morel mushrooms and sourdough bread stuffing, chestnuts and dried fruit. Really, it’s such a versatile fruit. (and yes, it’s classified as a fruit, odd I know) So many satisfying possibilities. How does one decide?

Stuffed squash is an excellent side dish, but it works equally as well as an entree. And today I was hungry for something hearty and something that spoke to the flavors of Thanksgiving. A little premature, I know….

After roasting the squash with a bit of olive oil, kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper, I cooked up some sausage and quinoa. Odd bedfellows? Maybe, but I had a hunch that the combination would be a fine tummy warmer on a chilly fall New England day.

Studded with sausage, apples, and sauteed onions with more than a hint of sage, it smelled like Thanksgiving here, albeit a little early.

A hearty and healthy meal that celebrates some of the best produce fall has to offer. If you are not convinced that you are a lover of quinoa, do yourself a favor and try this. I’m pretty sure I’ll convert you.

Roasted Winter Squash with Quinoa and Sausage

4 winter squash, halved and seeded
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper to taste


8oz pork sausage
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 cup quinoa, cooked
3 Gala or Granny Smith apples, cored and diced (peel on is fine, adds color)
1 cup bread crumbs
1/2 cup Parmesan or Romano cheese, grated
1/4 cup orange juice
1 1/2 tsp dried/ground sage
1 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350°. Brush the interior of squash with olive oil and sprinkle salt on top. Crank a few good cranks of black pepper on top as well. Flip upside down and cover with foil. Roast for 45 minutes or until fork tender.

Cook sausage in skillet. Reserve one Tbsp of sausage fat. Drain on paper towels and be sure to press more paper towels on top to soak up any residual fat. Cook diced onions in the reserved fat until translucent. Allow both sausage and onions to cool to room temp.

Place cooled sausage and onions in a large mixing bowl with cooked quinoa and the rest of the stuffing ingredients. Mix just until combined. Scoop into the cavities of the cooked squash. Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and cook in a 350° oven for 20 additional minutes. Serve as an entree or a hearty side.


  1. Anonymous says:

    Oh My! This recipe looks and sounds absolutely marvelous Melanie!! I can’t wait to try this as a dinner myself. The mix of squash, quinoa and sausage has me hooked already!!

    • It’s quite hearty enough to be a meal in and of itself. Michael plopped one in his lunch box today. Got to love that kid. 🙂

  2. Looks like I an off to buy some squash tomorrow. I can almost smell this through the screen!

  3. Great minds think alike — I make this constantly. We get tons of squash in our CSA shares in the fall and winter, so this is my go to. Make it for MeatlessMonday by frying up peppers, mushrooms, onions and herbs instead of sausage. So yummy.
    And the bonus is that you can roast the squash seeds like you would pumpkin seeds (with a sprinkle of salt) and they’re a delicious snack or as a little crunch in a kale salad.
    Love it Melanie!!

    • I didn’t even think to roast the seeds. Brilliant!!! I’ll remember that tip for next time. And I love the idea of stuffing them with fried peppers/onions/mushrooms. That sounds yummy. Really, you can do so much with squash. And they’re cheap!! Bonus!!

  4. Wow! Fantastic post, recipe and pictures! You’re rockin’ it Ms. Melanie! Perfect lighting and one of my favorite fall dishes. Love!

    • Thanks Karista! But I have to tell you, this post made me batty. Getting the white balance right with an orange subject was a bear. I shot over 200 pics to get just these few usable ones. And I’m not even thrilled with them. Not Foodgawker material for sure. As it gets darker earlier, I have less time to work with. I see dinner being made at noon and tossed in the fridge in the future, lol.

      • I think the first shot is incredible! As are the rest but the first I think would be a winner for Foodgawker. And I hear ya! I’ve actually started making dinner early and popping it in the frig. With all the low clouds and drizzle here it gets dark at about 4!

  5. Squash is amazing and delicious. It is considered a fruit because the seeds are on the inside. Same goes for tomatoes and eggplant.

    • Yes, and it so so very good for you too. Admittedly, the sausage isn’t so healthy, but there isn’t a ton in each serving. Just enough to give it a rich taste. And of course the quinoa is a nutritional powerhouse. But best of all, it just tastes good. 🙂

  6. I saw bags of quinoa at TJ Maxx the other day. I think they were $4 where the same size bag at Target is $8. Might be worth a trip if it or a Marshalls is close by. You all know there are plenty of other wonderful things to pick up there, so it won’t be a wasted trip even if they don’t have any quinoa. 🙂

  7. OK – I like the taste of squash but never really know what to do with it besides mash it up like a potato. Why can’t we live closer?!

  8. That is just beautiful! I love the photo of them on the pan! Love this recipe!

  9. This sounds (and smells?) incredible! I’ve been looking for something fall-esque that is something out of the ordinary, since if my kids think they’ve seen it before they won’t try it. I’ll definitely be adding this to next week’s recipes!

  10. That looks delish! Will your kids eat it? I am having trouble getting my kids to eat squash!

  11. Looks delicious! And I think you can put your food styling worries to rest.

  12. That looks amazing!! Cant wait to make it myself.

  13. I did something quite like this the other night but with pearl barley, spinach and walnuts. Amazing!


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