Sausage Stuffed Butternut Squash with Spinach, Pecans, and Cranberries
In the world of culinary delights, few dishes can match the comforting and savory goodness of Sausage Stuffed Butternut Squash. This delightful recipe combines the sweetness of butternut squash with the savory flavors of sausage, the earthiness of spinach, the crunch of pecans, and the tartness of cranberries. It’s a harmonious blend of flavors and textures that’s sure to impress both your taste buds and your guests. Let’s dive into the details of this delectable dish!
Before we start cooking, let’s gather our ingredients. Here’s what you’ll need:
For the Stuffed Butternut Squash:
- 2 medium-sized butternut squashes
- 1 pound of ground sausage (you can choose your preferred type)
- 2 cups of fresh spinach, chopped
- 1/2 cup of pecans, chopped
- 1/2 cup of dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the Seasoning:
- 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon of dried sage
- 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
Step 1: Preheat the Oven
Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
Step 2: Prepare the Butternut Squash
Cut the butternut squashes in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and place the squash halves on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes or until the flesh is tender.
Step 3: Cook the Sausage
While the squash is roasting, in a skillet, cook the ground sausage over medium heat until it’s browned and cooked through. Break it into smaller pieces as it cooks.
Step 4: Prepare the Filling
In a large bowl, combine the cooked sausage, chopped spinach, chopped pecans, dried cranberries, minced garlic, shredded Parmesan cheese, and the seasoning mixture (dried thyme, dried sage, nutmeg). Mix everything thoroughly.
Step 5: Stuff the Squash
Once the butternut squash halves are done roasting and are tender, remove them from the oven. Carefully scoop out some of the flesh from the center of each squash half to create a well for the stuffing.
Step 6: Stuff and Bake
Fill each butternut squash half with the sausage mixture, pressing it down gently. Return the stuffed squash to the oven and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes or until the filling is heated through and the top is golden brown.
Remove the stuffed butternut squash from the oven and let them cool slightly. Slice each squash half into individual portions, and serve them on a platter.
Sausage Stuffed Butternut Squash with Spinach, Pecans, and Cranberries is a delightful dish that combines sweet and savory flavors in a beautiful, visually appealing way. It’s perfect for a special occasion or a cozy family dinner. The butternut squash provides a creamy, slightly sweet base for the hearty sausage filling, while the spinach, pecans, and cranberries add complexity and texture. This dish is sure to become a favorite in your repertoire of recipes.
1. Can I use other types of squash for this recipe?
Absolutely! While butternut squash is the traditional choice, you can experiment with acorn squash, delicata squash, or even sweet potatoes for a different twist.
2. Is this dish suitable for vegetarians?
You can easily make a vegetarian version by substituting the sausage with plant-based sausage or extra-firm tofu seasoned to your liking.
3. Can I prepare this dish in advance?
Yes, you can prepare the stuffing mixture in advance and stuff the squash just before baking. This makes it a great option for dinner parties.
4. Are there any alternative ingredients for pecans and cranberries?
Walnuts or almonds can be used as alternatives to pecans, and raisins or chopped apricots can replace cranberries for a different flavor profile.
5. Can I freeze leftovers?
Yes, you can freeze leftover stuffed squash. Just make sure to wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and store them in an airtight container before freezing. Reheat them in the oven for the best results.
Get ready to savor the deliciousness of Sausage Stuffed Butternut Squash with Spinach, Pecans, and Cranberries. It’s a culinary masterpiece that combines flavors and textures to create a truly memorable dining experience. So, head to your kitchen and give this recipe a try—you won’t be disappointed.
Roasted Butternut Squash:
- 2 butternut squash medium or large
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt or more
- black pepper freshly ground
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion small, diced
- 14 oz Italian sausage spicy, crumbled
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 4 oz spinach fresh
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- ½ cup pecans chopped
How to roast butternut squash
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Prepare the butternut squash. Slice each one in half lengthwise. Keep fingers away from the knife to avoid injury. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and fleshy strands tangled with the seeds.
- Place butternut squash cut sides up on a baking sheet. Drizzle the cut sides of the butternut squash halves with olive oil and rub the oil into the squash. Season generously with salt and pepper.
- Turn the squash halves over, and place it cut sides down on a baking sheet. Tip: you can line the baking sheet with parchment paper for easy clean-up.
- Roast in the preheated oven at 400 F for 30 or 40 minutes.
Make sausage filling
- Make the sausage filling while the squash is being roasted in the oven.
- In a large skillet, heat olive oil, add diced onion, and cook it on medium-high heat for about 2 minutes until cooked and a bit charred.
- Add crumbled sausage, minced garlic, and Italian seasoning and cook for about 5 minutes or more on medium heat until the sausage is completely cooked through.
- Add fresh spinach and cook for another 5 minutes on medium heat until the spinach wilts.
- Add dried cranberries and chopped pecans and mix everything.
- Season with salt and pepper. Probably not necessary since the sausage is already usually salty (unless you use sweet sausage which I do not recommend).
- By this time, you have roasted the butternut squash for 30 or 40 minutes. Remove them from the oven and turn the cooked squash halves cut sides up.
- Let it cool slightly. Using a spoon, scoop out the flesh leaving about a 1-inch border along the sides. (For reference, I provide the step-by-step photos for this step above the recipe card).
- Reheat the sausage mixture in the same skillet in which you made it to warm it up.
- Divide the sausage filling among the 4 halves and stuff the squash until the mixture is leveled or a little bit higher.
- Top with freshly ground black pepper and fresh thyme.
Nutrition InformationYield 1 Serving Size 4
Amount Per ServingCalories 2578Total Fat 188gSaturated Fat 50gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 149gCholesterol 226mgSodium 3584mgCarbohydrates 151gFiber 28gSugar 79gProtein 90g
The information contained herein is subject to change.