Squash is by far my favourite of the fall foods! As soon as the weather cools down a bit in September I throw the first
squash I can get my hands on into the oven and roast it until it starts to caramelize. It is so sweet and delicious, while being a fairly low concentration of carbs, so you don’t get whacked with a massive blood sugar spike. The ironic thing is when I was a kid I hated squash. It would literally make me gag, so I would mix ½ tsp in with a huge spoonful of mashed potatoes so I could taste it less..but then it would ruin my mashed potatoes. Siiggh, 8-year old problems. My brother and I would even fight about who had to carry it to the table, we hated it so.
That all changed when I was in grade 12. I randomly ended up at a sort of friend / acquaintance’s house for dinner one night and her mom served us a quarter of an acorn squash with a pat of butter and some brown sugar. I almost died when I saw it, but I sucked it up and ate it because I didn’t want to be rude. I was shocked to find out it was delicious and I’ve never looked back. Thank you social pressure! My brother still calls me a traitor…
My favourite of all the squash is the Delicata. These guys only seem to be out for a short while in the fall, so I scoop them up where ever I find them! I love them for a few reasons:
- small in size, so they cook faster
- thin diameter and thin skin, so they are less risky to cut open
- you can eat the skin!
Speaking of the risk associated with trying to hack open a raw squash. A few years back I was googling around trying to find an easier way to cut squash, because I was sure I’d lose a finger one day. I stumbled across the most incredible trick that I have used on every squash I’ve cooked since!
Wash the skin of entire squash well. Throw it directly into the oven while it is preheating to the eventual temperature you are going to roast it at. Depending on the size of the squash, leave it in there for 15-25 minutes.
At about the 20 minute mark, pull the squash slice it open and scoop out the seeds. You likely will want to wear oven mitts because baked squash retain their heat forever!
I have done this with acorn, delicata, buttercup, butternut, spaghetti…. it has never exploded because it’s not in there long enough, and I am much more confident in making it to my 30’s with all of my fingers!
Ok back to my favourite squash….today I bring you Sausage Stuffed Delicata Squash!
I was inspired by a traditional recipe for stuffed peppers, which typically uses rice and ground beef. I used cauli-rice (anyone who hasn’t tried it, do it! It’s delicious!) and farmer’s garlic sausage from our meat delivery guys because it was already spiced a bit, which made my job a whole lot easier! The recipe may look long and involved, but I promise you it is very easy. The only tricky part is there are multiple parts going at the same time. The good news is, it’s really hard to mess up any one part. So while the recipe may indicate that something needs to be cooked for 5 minutes, anywhere from 5-10 is okay! Just keep the heat below medium to prevent burning, and you can take it at your own pace.
PS. These guys would be amazing stuffed in mini pumpkins for Thanksgiving…just sayin’!
- 4-5 delicata squash
- 2 tbsp fat of choice (duck fat, lard, tallow, coconut oil)
- 2 onions, diced
- 1 large bell pepper, diced
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 pastured sausages
- 1 bunch kale, washed and chopped into bite sized pieces
- sea salt
- 1 head cauliflower
- 2 tbsp fat
- sea salt
- nutritional yeast
- Place whole squash in oven. Preheat oven to 400F. Leave squash in oven for 25 minutes (including preheating time).
- Remove squash from oven. Cut in half length wise and scoop out seeds.
- Place cut side down on a baking sheet and bake for another 15-20 minutes.
- When the squash gives under pressure, it is done. Remove from oven.
- While squash is in the oven, prep all veggies. Dice onions and peppers. Mince garlic. Wash and chop kale.
- Heat 2 tbsp fat over medium heat. Add onion and pepper. Season with sea salt and pepper. Sautee for 7-8 minutes.
- Add garlic. Cook for 2 minutes.
- Take sausage out of casings and add to pan. Season again with sea salt and pepper. Stir occasionally, until cooked through, approximately 5 minutes.
- When sausage has cooked through, add kale. Stir to combine and cook for another 5 minutes.
- Add to cooked Cauli-Rice (see below) and stir to combine.
- When sausage is cooking. Wash a head of cauliflower and chop into pieces.
- Using the shredder attachment on a food processor, shred cauliflower into rice-sized pieces.
- Heat 2 tbsp fat of choice in a large pan, over medium heat.
- Add shredded cauliflower and season very liberally with sea salt and pepper.
- Stir to combine, cover with a lid and let cook for at least 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- Turn the oven to broil.
- Flip the squash so it is skin side down.
- Fill the squash with the sausage and cauli-rice mixture, really packing it down. Top with more mixture.
- Sprinkle some nutritional yeast on top and broil for 3-5 minutes, being careful not to burn!
- Serve immediately.
- Most of this recipe can be made up to 24 hours in advance. Roast the squash and store in a sealed container in the fridge. Prepare the filling and store in a sealed container in the fridge. Assemble when you are ready to eat. Instead of broiling, heat the oven to 400F and cook for 15 minutes until heated through.
- - add or remove any vegetables you have on hand (eg. omit bell pepper if following a therapeutic diet)
- - substitute other ground meat or shredded chicken
- - substitute acorn, butternut or kabocha squash or even small or mini pumpkins
Preheat oven to 400F. Gather ingredients. Wash squash and throw in the oven as it’s preheating. Prep veggies. Gather spices. Take the sausage out of the casings.
Sautee onions and peppers until translucent. Add garlic, cook for a few minutes. Add sausage. Cook through. When the meat is cooked, stir in the chopped kale and cook for another 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, shred cauliflower and sautee in a covered pan with lots of salt and pepper. Cook for a minimum of 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Once the squash has been in the oven for 20-25 minutes or so, take it out, cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Place on a tray, cut side down and roast for another 20 minutes.
When both the sausage mixture and the cauli-rice are done, add together in the larger pan. In my case it was the cauli-rice pan. Stir to combine. It can sit at this stage until you are ready to assemble.
Pull the squash out of the oven and flip onto the round side. Turn the oven to broil. Stuff with cauli-rice/sausage mixture, packing down and adding more on top. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast and broil for 3-5 minutes, being careful not to burn. Enjoy every mouth-watering bite!!