Fall is upon us! I think I’d have liked it to creep on a little more slowly, but hey, I guess a 40 degree drop in less than 12 hours is appropriate for “Fall” right? I know, cheesy…
Anyway, as we all know, my recipe choices tend to be influenced by the weather and I LOVE Fall flavors. I actually made this as a weeknight dinner last week because I wanted something “Fall” and I wanted to just make something that was easy to throw together. Tim and I liked it so much that when I asked what he wanted for meal prep this week, his first choice was this stuffed acorn squash. The blend of spicy, savory, and sweet is so satisfying. Not only does it taste amazing, but acorn squash is packed full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. You can read about all the benefits here and enjoy the fact that something that tastes so good is also doing great things for your body.
On to the recipe! I tried to give accurate measurements on everything here, but I usually just toss it in the pan and adjust by taste so if you want more or less of something, go for it! That’s what’s great about one-pan meals.
2 Large Acorn Squash – Halved
1 LB Hot Italian Sausage
1/2 cup uncooked tri-colored quinoa
1 small onion – finely diced
2 large stalks of celery – finely diced
1 large apple – diced
1/3 cup dried cranberries (no added sugar)
1/3 cup slivered almonds
3 cups packed kale – torn and stems removed
1 TBSP minced garlic
1 TBSP cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
Salt & Pepper to taste
Start your squash first. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Brush a little olive oil on the inside and flat edges, sprinkle with salt and pepper and place face down on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until fork tender.
Follow the cooking instructions on your quinoa. Usually 1/2 cup of uncooked quinoa to 1 cup water, bring to a boil and then cover and simmer until fluffy.
While the squash is baking, heat a large pan over med-high heat and brown your Italian sausage. If using links, remove casings. Once meat is browned, remove from pan, pat dry, and set aside. In the same pan, add a little olive oil and saute the onions and celery until they start to soften (appx 3 min). Add the garlic and stir continuously for about 1 minute (don’t let it burn!) Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste.
Stir in your apples and kale next. You may have to pack the kale in a bit. Reduce the heat to med and put a lid on the pan. Allow the kale to steam for 3-4 minutes stirring as needed. Once the kale has softened and turned bright green, add the sausage back in. Add your almonds, cranberries, and quinoa and stir all the ingredients until well combined. Remove from the heat.
If your squash has finished backing, remove it from the oven and flip them over so the cut side is face up. Depending on how large the hole is, you may want to scoop a little squash out so you can fill it with a good amount of the filling. I usually scoop a bit out of each of them and place it in another dish to go with any of the leftover filling I may have.
Fill each squash with a heaping amount of filling (carefully!) Return them back into the over and bake for a another couple of minutes to heat throughout and gently brown the cut side of the squash.
Remove and serve immediately or pack in meal prep containers and enjoy later in the week!