Sausage-Stuffed Acorn Squash with Pinenuts and Cherries
- 2 acorn squash, sliced in half and seeds scooped out
- 4 tablespoons olive oil, for brushing, plus more for sautéing
- 4 tablespoons maple syrup, for brushing
- Salt, to taste
- 2 large yellow onions, finely diced
- 6 turkey sausage links, removed from casings
- 1/3 cup dried cherries
- 1/3 cup pinenuts, toasted
Squash can be intimidating. Ok, steam it and serve it as a purée, or peel, cube, and roast it until crispy in the corners, tender inside, and with a rich caramelized exterior. Delicious. But after a couple of times, it can get monotonous.
For someone gluten- and corn-free like me, finding healthy carbohydrates to satisfy my hankering can be a challenge. Stuffed acorn squash is one of my new favorite go-tos. Start with sausage, or for vegetarians, a base of brown rice. Supplement with sweeteners (honey or maple syrup) and spices as you wish, then add a variety of flavorings from cherries and pine nuts to something exotic, like pineapple, coconut, and chopped macadamia nuts. You can even try greens — kale, miso, and a garnish of scallion sounds delicious, doesn’t it?
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Trim off the bottom of each squash half so each sits flat. Brush with olive oil and maple syrup. Season with salt and bake for about 1 hour, or until the flesh is tender when pierced with a fork.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. Add the onions and turn the heat to medium high. Cook for about 10 minutes or until onions are golden and translucent. Season with a pinch of salt and add the turkey sausage. Cook about 10 minutes, or until the meat is cooked most of the way through. Add the cherries and remove from heat. Set aside.
Once the squash is tender, fill each with stuffing. Bake for about 10 minutes, until everything is warmed through. Garnish with pinenuts and serve immediately.