Acorn squash stuffed with quinoa, sausage, red pepper, chard, and pistachios makes for one impossibly tasty meal!
This meal was happily inspired by my CSA (community supported agriculture) box this week which included adorably sized acorn squash. I simply could not wait to make one of my husband’s favorite meals. Let me tell you, this one is a winner!
My sweet husband has always been incredibly supportive of my various kitchen escapades. I have had many, and I mean many, fails in the kitchen experimenting. These fails sometimes have been placed into the category of “we’re only going to eat this so we don’t waste it”. But I’m grateful for the failures, because they teach me as much, if not more, than the successes. But the dish I’m sharing with you today is far from those failures. It’s on the short list of requested meals by my husband. It is a conglomeration of many squash stuffed recipes that I’ve tried over the years.
Here are the secrets to making it a complete hit:
- Find a mild pork sausage. You don’t want a hot italian sausage stealing the show. (Use pasture raised organic pork if at all possible. There is a taste difference and it’s better for the pigs as well.)
- Use butter or ghee for the fat if you can tolerate dairy. Butter or ghee made from pasture-raised cows is the best choice.
- Acorn Squash – All members of the squash family are wonderful sources of smart carbohydrates and folate. Be sure and by organic as squash absorbs toxins in the soil that it grows in.
- Chicken Broth – I’ll post a recipe for chicken broth here soon, but a quick google search will provide plenty of options for making your own. Believe me, it’s worth it. The nutritional content is super to store-bought and this ingredient ups how nutrient dense this recipe is. Of course, if you’re in a pinch for time a high-quality store-bought broth or stock will work. Don’t stress! I recommend adding collagen or collagen peptides into any store bought chicken stock to take the healthy collagen up a notch. I like the Vital Proteins brand.
Quinoa and Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash
- 4 small acorn squash or two medium
- 1 1/2 cup dry quinoa rinsed
- 3 cups chicken broth or stock
- 3/4 - 1 lb smoked or mild italian pork sausage chopped or broken into small pieces
- 2 tablespoons butter substitute coconut oil for dairy-free version
- 1/2 medium red onion diced
- 1 small to medium red pepper diced
- 3 large handfuls of any dark greens I used swiss chard and spinach, finely chopped
- pinch of himalayan or sea salt
- pinch of pepper
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup pistachios
Preheat oven to 375
If you have 4 small squash, slice the top off and scoop out the seeds. If you have 2 medium squash, cut each in half and scoop out the seeds.
Place the squash with the inside down on a baking sheet.
Bake squash for 40-50 minutes depending on size. The squash will be easy to pierce with a fork when they are done.
Meanwhile, rinse the quinoa thoroughly to remove any bitterness.
Place quinoa and homemade chicken broth (or low sodium store-bought) in a small pot.
Bring to a boil, then lower heat, and simmer for 20 minutes. Quinoa will be light and fluffy when fully cooked.
Remove from heat and keep covered.
SAUSAGE AND VEGETABLES
While squash and quinoa are cooking, brown sausage in a medium pan on low-medium heat for about 10 minutes or until pink is removed from meat. **If your sausage is precooked, you can skip this step.**
Remove sausage from pan and set aside.
Add butter and onions to same pan and cook on low-medium heat for 5 minutes or until they begin to soften.
Add peppers and greens to onions. Sprinkle with a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.
PUTTING IT TOGETHER
Mix cooked quinoa, sausage, onion, pepper, greens and pistachios together in a large bowl. Add an additional pinch of salt if desired. Cover if the squash still have some time to cook.
Once the squash are ready, carefully stuff them full of the quinoa mixture. Add the tops of the squash for a decorative touch!