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.