I love winter squash. I actually love summer squash too, but I won’t get to talk about that for about 6 more months…so, back to winter squash. I love everything about it! I love roasting the seeds…they’re nutty and crunchy and delicious on their own or as a garnish for infinite dishes (more on roasting seeds in another post!). I love the way squash can be used (and is equally delicious) in sweet or savory dishes. I love squash’s lovely rich autumn color…which of course is because of the carotenes, which leads me to the next thing I love about squash – its health benefits!
Squash is a wonderful source of a multitude of vitamins, and it’s full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents, which help to prevent several types of cancer (including lung and colon), help to prevent the progression of atherosclerosis, protect against diabetic heart disease, and help to reduce the severity of conditions like asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. (For more information on the health benefits of squash, see here.)
With all of these reasons to love squash, I think my favorite reason to eat it is because of how delicious it is. Served with salad greens, this recipe makes the perfect meal (especially brunch with its maple, sausage, and eggs). And I think this dish would also make a lovely side dish to a Thanksgiving supper!
Roasted Acorn Squash with Maple-Sausage and Egg Filling
(Yield: 4 servings)
1 small (about 1 ½ pounds) acorn squash, halved and seeded
4 tsp olive oil, divided
½ small white onion
¼ lb ground turkey
1 TB pure maple syrup
¼ tsp fennel seeds, slightly crushed
¼ tsp sage
1 egg plus 1 egg white, beaten
2 TB milk
Salt and pepper
1 oz sharp white Cheddar, shredded
Chives (optional, for garnish)
Salad greens (optional, for serving)
Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette (see below; optional, for serving with salad greens)
Maple Dijon Vinaigrette (4 servings):
4 tsp organic, unfiltered apple cider vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp pure maple syrup
3 TB olive oil
Pinch salt and pepper
For the vinaigrette: Whisk together all ingredients.
Preheat the oven to 375F. Put the squash (cut side up) in a small casserole dish. Brush the inside of each squash with 1 tsp oil, then sprinkle in a pinch of salt and pepper. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for about 45-60 minutes, until the squash is starting to get tender (but isn’t fork-tender yet).
In a small pan, heat the remaining 2 tsp oil over medium heat; add the onion and sauté 5 minutes, then add the turkey and cook until browned. Transfer the turkey mixture to a bowl and add the maple syrup, fennel seeds, sage, and nutmeg. Allow the turkey mixture to cool completely, then add the eggs, milk, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Turn the oven down to 350F. Divide the turkey/egg mixture between the two squash halves (it should fill each one about ¾ of the way). Cook for about 30-45 minutes, or until the filling is set and the squash is fork-tender.
Preheat the broiler. Sprinkle the cheese on top, then broil until the cheese melts (keep your eye on this because it happens fast). Sprinkle with chives and serve alongside salad greens dressed with Maple-Dijon Vinaigrette.