Stuffed squash with sausage and apple is the ultimate Whole30 comfort food for fall. You can make this with delicata, acorn, or any winter squash!
I’ve been making this dish since last fall, when I never managed to make it early enough to have decent light left for a photo shoot. It quickly became one of my very favorite meals. This stuffed squash with sausage and apple is beautiful, filling, delicious, and nutritious. The sweet squash is the perfect backdrop for savory sausage, onions, and mushrooms in a creamy cashew-based sauce, studded with little bits of apple for an extra layer of sweetness. And since these squash boats include a good dose of protein and veggies, I never feel the need to serve a side with them.
I first made these stuffed squash with sausage when I wasn’t doing a Whole30, so I stirred in sour cream and topped them with freshly grated parmigiano reggiano. However, the Whole30 version is shockingly similar. Once the cashew sour cream is stirred into the sausage mixture, it tastes just as creamy as the lactose-laden version. And a little nutritional yeast gets stirred in to add a bit of cheesy flavor. I replaced the parmesan on top with chopped fresh basil, which tastes great and looks even prettier. Basically, Whole30 or not, you can’t go wrong with this dish.
I like to make this with delicata squash or acorn squash, but you can use your favorite winter squash as long as you choose small to medium ones. Delicata squash has a milder flavor than acorn and the skin is edible, if you’re up for that! Acorn squash is a bit richer and creamier. I can’t decide which one I like best, so I grabbed both at the farmers market and went half and half.
I usually use a sweet/mild Italian sausage here, but hot works if you like things spicy, and other types of sausage would be delicious, too. This time I went with my current favorite sausage that’s fresh from Big Sycamore Farm; it’s more breakfast than Italian since it’s seasoned with sage, but it worked beautifully here. I’m thinking about trying chorizo next time!
I hope you give this stuffed squash with sausage and apple a try soon! As the new saying goes, it’s not fall until you’ve stuffed a squash.
- 4 small to medium winter squash (such as delicata or acorn)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound bulk Italian or your favorite sausage (or links with the casing removed)
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- ½ pound shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and finely chopped (optional)
- 1 Gala or your favorite apple, peeled, cored, and finely chopped
- ⅓ cup cashew cream* or sour cream
- 1½ teaspoons nutritional yeast, or to taste (optional)
- Parmigiano reggiano for topping (optional)
- Chopped fresh basil or parsley, for serving
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment. Carefully cut each squash in half lengthwise and use a spoon to scrape out the seeds and stringy pulp. Brush the cut sides of the squash lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Arrange the squash halves cut side down on the baking sheet. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the squash is fork tender (acorn squash takes a few minutes longer than delicata). Set the squash aside and leave the oven on.
- While the squash is roasting, make the filling. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add enough olive oil to coat it with a thin layer. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up the meat with a spatula, until browned in spots and halfway cooked, about 5 minutes. Stir in the onion and shiitake mushrooms (if using) and continue to cook, stirring often, until the sausage is fully cooked and the mushrooms and onions have softened a bit. Stir in the apples and cook for five more minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in the cashew cream sour cream and nutritional yeast (if using). Taste the filling and add salt, pepper, and/or nutritional yeast to taste.
- Turn the squash halves over so the cut sides are up. Spoon the filling into the squash halves and sprinkle a little cheese on top of each one, if using. Return the squash to the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until the tops are browned in spots. Let cool for 10 minutes and then sprinkle with basil or parsley and serve hot.
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