It’s a fact…
Everything tastes better stuffed inside roasted squash.
At least in my opinion. I cook a bunch of it this time of year! Eggs in squash, meat in squash, squash in squash.
Plus, each squash offers such unique flavors – the opportunities are truly endless!
So let’s talk about acorn squash…
And how freagin’ delicious and versatile it is! AND it’s so cute. Let’s get real, it really is the cutest of the squashes.
Dressed up it’s the perfect vehicle for any hearty meat dish, veggie side, even dessert! (shocking I know, it can and has been done – hope to share a recipe for this soon)
So why should you make this Paleo Stuffed Acorn Squash tonight?!
There are so many reasons but to name a few…
- It’s unbelievably easy.
- It’s loaded with lean protein and nutrient dense veggies so you’ll be happily full and extremely satiated!
- The spices and veggies used in this recipe offer such incredible flavor there’s no need for a sugar filled sauce like most recipes – your body will thank you for this!
- Most importantly, it’s fall. Therefore, it’d be a shame if you didn’t eat squash as often as possible, right?!
So turn on your oven and let’s get to roasting shall we??
I’m not a huge meat eater.
Never have been. I’ve always been more of a SUGAR, (yes, it’s my vice) grain, bean and honestly vegetable (I know, I’m super lucky with that one) kinda-girl.
Don’t get me wrong, I eat and totally love the taste of meat. I just don’t eat it all the time.
Because of this, I have to be more conscious about my protein intake. I can always tell when I haven’t had enough protein – trust me, it’s not a fun feeling.
(If you’re like me and not a big meat eater, check out our plant based protein infographic to learn about different sources of protein!)
It’s super hard when it comes to cooking for others. Not everyone wants to eat “veggies with a side of veggies” as my family would say!
Meals like this are a great way to bring everyone together and keep the crew happy. You’ve got the perfect combo of veggies, meat and accoutrements in one simple dish.
The more I make meals like this, the less people seem to notice that I’m sneaking fruits, vegetables and sometimes even vegetarian food into their diets!
For those of you who aren’t big meat eater/cookers, fear not. This is a great recipe to get started cooking meat with.
When I first started cooking meat I found ground meats where the easiest to practice on as it’s simple to tell when they’re done cooking – there’s no pink left!
If you’re not a big vegetable person, then I’ve got great news for you too…
These are delicious vegetables to get started with. PLUS, roasting them brings the sugar in the vegetables to the surface which creates a caramelized crust.
In my opinion it’s the tastiest and easiest way to eat any vegetable!
There’s a common misconception that in order to be healthy, you must live off of salads alone. Well guess what – that couldn’t be further from the truth.
I’m all about finding interesting and way more delicious ideas (like this recipe) to pack fresh produce into my diet!
Because food shouldn’t be boring…
When it is, people have a tendency to give up healthy eating and revert back to old habits!
For more ideas on how to reignite (or just ignite) your love for vegetables check out my recipe section!
Paleo Stuffed Acorn Squash
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Carefully slice the squash in half and scrape out the seeds. This is best done with a spoon into the sink.
Coat the cut side of the halves with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place cut side down on a baking sheet.
Confession: The first time I roasted squash (and for a few years after) I placed the squash cut side up on the baking dish.
It wasn’t until I cooked dinner with a friend that I realized I had been doing it improperly!
FYI it takes at least twice as long to roast the wrong way, which is WAY too long to wait for veggies to cook!
The squash will cook in the oven for about 30-35 minutes (until it’s soft). Make sure the squash is soft all the way through before pulling it out of the oven, this is important for both the taste and texture!
Once it’s done cooking, flip the squash on the pan so it doesn’t continue to cook. Set pan aside.
While the squash is cooking, let’s make the stuffing!
In a saucepan, heat 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the turkey sausage and break the meat into coarse pieces. Cook until it’s brown.
Place the cooked sausage in a bowl and set aside.
In the same pan heat remaining olive oil and add the diced onion. Cook until the onions are soft. Add garlic and mushrooms – sauté until mushrooms start to soften.
Stir in the kale, broth and thyme. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to low. We want the kale to soften, this should take about 5 minutes. (For those of you who aren’t huge kale fans, this step will make the kale less bitter and far more palatable!)
Once the kale has softened, add the turkey sausage to the veggies and combine completely.
Scoop the turkey-veggie combo into each of the acorn squash halves. Cover each squash with pine nuts, tomatoes and fresh thyme.
If the pine nuts you purchased aren’t roasted, I suggest taking a few extra minutes to do this – they’re so much better, I promise!
Simply add them to a pan and sprinkle with salt. Stir constantly as they will burn easily – we just want the outer edge to brown SLIGHTLY. This brings out the oils and is so tasty you’ll want to cover everything you make with roasted pine nuts now!
What’s your favorite squash to eat this time of year? Let me know in the comments below 🙂
- 2 medium acorn squash, halved and seeded
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided + olive oil to coat pan
- 8 ounce hot turkey sausage, casing removed
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 cups mushroom, chopped
- 4 cups kale, chopped
- ⅓ cup broth (I used chicken - use whatever you prefer)
- 2 tablespoon thyme
- Salt + Pepper
- ½ cup pine nuts, roasted
- cherry tomatoes, quartered (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Brush the cut side of the squash with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and place the squash cut side down on the baking sheet. Roast in the oven until tender, typically 30-35 minutes.
- Once finished cooking, flip the acorn squash so it doesn't continue to cook and set aside.
- While the squash is in the oven, let's work on the stuffing.
- In a saucepan, heat ½ tablespoon of olive oil. Add the turkey sausage and break the meat into coarse pieces. Cook until it’s brown (no pink left!).
- Place the cooked sausage in a bowl.
- In the same pan heat remaining olive oil and add the diced onion. Cook until the onion is soft. Add garlic and mushrooms – sauté until mushrooms start to soften.
- Stir in the kale, broth and thyme. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to low. We want the kale to soften, this should take about 5 minutes.
- Add the turkey sausage to the veggies and combine completely.
- Scoop the stuffing into each of the acorn squash halves. Cover each squash with pine nuts, tomatoes and fresh thyme.