Apple and Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash is THE dish you need at your Thanksgiving table. It’s packed full of fresh fall flavahs; crisp Pink Lady apples, apple cider, and nutmeg! Mixed with fresh spinach leaves, rosemary, and sprigs of thyme. It couldn’t be more basic of a fall dish – that’s not true. We could have stuffed pumpkins, instead of acorn squash. But still, this Apple and Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash is as fall as you’re going to get!
This post is sponsored by Sprouts Farmers Market – and you know how much I love Sprouts. In November, the produce department at Sprouts celebrates “Apple-anche!”, and obviously it’s all about apples. This is an event I will happily take part in! I knew that when I created a recipe using apples from Sprouts Farmers Market this time of year, I wanted to make a dish that would be delicious any day of the week, but also would be kind of a show-stopper for your Thanksgiving table, if you’d rather go that route.
And these Apple and Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squashes do it for me. They would be a great swap out for stuffing, since they have all the hearty flavors of stuffing, sans bread. You could use any sausage you like, but I opted for Mozzarella and Parmesan stuffed links for my filling. I loved the combo, and to be honest, that meant I was going to top these little acorn squash halves with less cheese that way.
Annnnnnd you can prep the stuffing in advance, and roast your squash the day you plan to serve. So even though this dish really shouldn’t take you more than thirty-five minutes from start to finish, you can save time the day you plan to dig into these Apple and Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash!
And honestly, you could prep the stuffing the day before a weeknight dinner too, so that all you have to do is come home, and roast yo’ squash babies up, and stuff them. And you can eat the roasted squash ‘bowl’, which saves you a dish. Though, you’ll probably want to put this on a plate, so maybe you’re not reallllly saving a dish to clean, but the presentation is still cute, right?
The recipe below will make six halves, but you WILL have leftover apple and sausage stuffing, which you could eat as is, or you could fill four more squash halves with. If you’re eating paleo, opt for a nitrate-free sausage (Sprouts offers all kinds), and omit the Parmesan.
Items used to make this dish:
- 3-4 acorn squash, cut in half, seeds removed
- 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
- salt and pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 pound ground pork sausage
- ¾ cup yellow onion, chopped
- ¼ cup apple cider
- 1 cup pecan pieces, chopped
- 1 cup apples chopped
- ⅛ tsp nutmeg
- 2 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped, plus more for garnish
- 2 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped, plus more for garnish
- 1 cup wild brown rice, cooked to package directions
- 1 cup fresh baby spinach leaves, chopped
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and set aside.
- Slice the acorn squash in half, and scoop out the seeds.
- Rub the squash halves with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place squash on baking sheet. Roast for 15-20 minutes or until squash is just fork tender.
- While squash is roasting, add one tablespoon of olive oil to a medium skillet on medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook until no longer pink, about 5-7 minutes. Drain off the grease and set the sausage aside.
- To the same skillet, add the onions, garlic and apples. Cook until tender, about 3-4 minutes. Add the apple cider to the pan. Deglaze the pan by scraping the bottom with a wooden spoon. Add the pecans, nutmeg, thyme and rosemary. Cook until the liquid is slightly reduced (4-5 minutes).
- Remove from heat and mix in cooked rice, spinach, and ¾ cup of Parmesan. Transfer mixture to a separate bowl.
- Stuff the squash halves with the sausage, rice, and apple mixture. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan, and fresh thyme and rosemary sprigs. Serve hot.
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