Rather than stuffing all the components that traditionally go into stuffed acorn squash, this recipe achieves the best of both worlds. A combination of quinoa, sausage, cranberries, and cheese are combined with chunks of acorn squash to create the perfect casserole. It’s perfect for any fall day and special enough for the Thanksgiving table!
Preheat oven to 425°F. Cut each acorn squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Slice the squash into ½-inch pieces and cut it into half again. Place the squash on two parchment-lined baking sheets. Drizzle with oil, rubbing the oil around the squash to coat evenly. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper and place in the preheated oven. Roast until the squash is deep brown and caramelized, 24-28 minutes. Once the squash is roasted, remove the baking sheets from the oven and turn the heat down to 375°F.
2 large acorn squash, 1 tsp salt, ½ tsp black pepper, 2 tbsp neutral oil
In a 2-quart saucepan, bring the vegetable stock to a boil. Add the quinoa, cover, and simmer until the quinoa has absorbed the stock and becomes light and fluffy, 20 minutes. Once the quinoa is cooked, remove the saucepan from the heat and set aside.
1 cup quinoa, 2 cups vegetable stock
Heat 2 tbsp neutral oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, salt, and black pepper. Sauté until the onion and celery are softened, 6-8 minutes. Add the garlic, sage, and thyme leaves. Stir to warm the garlic and add the sausage. Break the sausage into small bite-sized pieces and cook until it browns, 8 minutes. Once the sausage is cooked, remove the skillet from the heat.
1 medium onion, 3 ribs celery, ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp black pepper, 3 cloves garlic, 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, 1 tbsp minced fresh sage, 1 lb ground sausage
Add the quinoa, lemon juice, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, and feta cheese to the sausage mixture and stir. Add half of the roasted squash to a greased 9x13 baking dish. Pour the filling mixture over the squash in the baking dish and top with the remaining roasted squash. Stir and arrange the squash into the filling and sprinkle the Parmesan cheese. Place in the 375°F oven and bake until warmed through, 24-30 minutes.
1 tbsp lemon juice, ½ cup roasted pumpkin seeds, ½ cup dried cranberries, 4 oz feta cheese, 2 oz Parmesan cheese
Make sure to slice the acorn squash into uniformly-thick slices. This will allow for even roasting of the squash. Using two baking sheets while roasting will allow for plenty of room around each piece of squash, which helps them to roast evenly and prevent certain pieces from getting too dark.
If you allow your oil to come up to heat before adding your onion and celery, the mixture will actually sauté better. Instead of adding the oil, onion, and celery all at once and then turning on the stove’s heat, simply allow a few extra seconds for the oil to heat. Then add the onion and celery.
Adding lemon juice is an essential part of this recipe. Adding lemon juice will not make the entire mixture taste like citrus. Instead, it simply brightens everything and enhances all of the flavors. It’s a necessary component that will be missed if left out.