Stuffed Acorn Squash

This stuffed acorn squash certainly celebrates the changing of the season.  Everything about it screams fall – the apples, the walnuts, the dried apricots, and of course, the acorn squash.  It is so artful and appealing when the squash is also used as the vessel for serving.  There is a real balance of flavors here, a little salty & savory from the sausage, a bit of sweet and tart from the apples and apricot, nuttiness from the walnuts and an amazing flavor of spices from the Cairo nut & spice mix.  This flavorful recipe can be used to create a full meal or a side dish.  Don’t forget about Thanksgiving – it would be a beautiful addition to a large family gathering.  Happy fall!

Stuffed Acorn Squash

4 servings

Ingredients

  • Cairo nut & spice mix
  • 2 acorn squash
  • olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked
  • 6-8 oz. pork, chicken or turkey sausage, not flavored or spicy
  • 1 apple, diced into small squares
  • 5 scallions, chopped
  • ½ cup whole walnuts, lightly chopped
  • 1/3 cup dried apricots, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup Italian leaf parsley, fresh, roughly chopped
  • sea salt

Instructions

  1. Slice the two acorn squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds to clean the cavity. Using your hands, rub a bit of olive oil on the inside & outside of each squash. (You should have 4 shells). Season with sea salt and a sprinkle of Cairo nut & spice mix . Assemble the squash on a baking sheet, face up, and bake in a 375° oven for 1 hour or until golden brown. When ready, remove and cool.
  2. While the squash is baking, in a medium sauté pan, cook the sausage as directed, breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks (a potato masher works well). If you are using a low fat sausage such as turkey or chicken, you may want to add a bit of water during the cooking to keep it moist and from burning the bottom of the pan. Just before it is cooked through, add 1-2 teaspoons of Cairo nut & spice mix . Taste and add more depending upon how spicy you like the sausage. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. In another pan (I like to use cast iron), heat 1 tablespoon butter and a drizzle of olive oil together. When hot and slightly browned, add the chopped apple, spread in the pan and let it sit on the heat not moving it around so it will brown the small pieces of apple. Toss in the scallions, sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt, heat just until wilted and remove the apple/onion mixture placing it into a separate bowl to cool.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together cooked sausage, quinoa, walnuts, dried apricots, apples and scallions. Add the fresh parsley and toss together.
  5. Stuff each acorn half with the sausage mix, top each with another sprinkle of Cairo nut & spice mix and serve at room temperature or if you prefer to serve warm, return to the oven for 15 minutes or just until it is heated through.

Stuffed Acorn Squash with CAIRO nut & spice mix
Stuffed Acorn Squash with CAIRO nut & spice mix
Stuffed Acorn Squash with CAIRO nut & spice mix
Stuffed Acorn Squash with CAIRO nut & spice mix
Stuffed Acorn Squash with CAIRO nut & spice mix
Stuffed Acorn Squash with CAIRO nut & spice mix
Stuffed Acorn Squash with CAIRO nut & spice mix