Cozy, comforting and healthy apple, mushroom and sausage stuffed acorn squash covered in melted, bubbly and brown cheese is a perfect fall weeknight meal.
This post was originally published on September 5th, 2016. I recently updated the photos and made variations to the recipe to make it a little healthier. We eat it both ways still so choose your way! This recipe continues to be our absolute favorite fall meal 3 years running. I hope it will be one of your favorites, too!
This. This is THE fall meal in my house. It gets made over and over and over, week after week once squash season begins and right until the end. It is hands down our favorite meal that I have ever made and we never, ever tire of it. Not a single bit gets left and we’re generally pretty reluctant to share any.
It was originally made when Mark asked if we could have his sister over for dinner and I had absolutely nothing in the house to cook. I sat at the bakery pondering what on earth I was going to make from what I had at home: frozen salt and pepper sausages, an onion, a single apple, two eggs and butter. Yeah. That’s what was in our fridge.
We’re fortunate to have a small, quaint produce store just two blocks away so I headed straight there and started grabbing random things that I hoped would work well together, headed home and prayed it would all come together.
A grocery haul of celery, garlic, a couple of acorn squashes, fresh herbs, cheese and mushrooms, everything I could find in our fridge and an hour of wishful cooking later, we had this. This beautiful meal of the absolute best fall flavors, a bottle of white wine, and a silly, premature Christmas movie. It was perfect and continues to be so.
Make this on a cool fall evening and you’ll be hooked.
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- 2 medium acorn squashes
- 2 TBSP butter or 1 TBSP olive oil
- 1 lb salt + pepper pork or chicken sausage, casings removed
- 1 large sweet onion
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 large stalks of celery, diced
- 1 medium apple, peeled, cored and diced
- ½ lb cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced small
- 1 TBSP fresh thyme leaves
- ½ TBSP rosemary leaves, minced
- 1 TBSP fresh sage leaves, minced
- 1 large egg, beaten *see note
- salt and pepper, to taste
- ¾ cup shredded white cheddar, mozzarella or gruyere cheese
- Preheat oven to 400F
- Cut squashes in half, remove the seeds and place on a baking dish, cut side down and roast for 30-45 minutes or until flesh is easily pierced. Remove from oven, turn the temperature down to 375F, flip over and allow to cool until you are able to handle it.
- Meanwhile, heat a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat, cook sausage until browned. Remove sausage to a plate.
- Add 1 tbsp of butter to the skillet along with the minced onion, celery and chopped apple. Add a generous pinch of salt and cook, stirring frequently until onion is translucent and apple is soft.
- Add garlic and minced herbs and saute for 30 seconds.
- Remove onion and garlic mixture to another plate or bowl.
- Add remaining butter and mushrooms along with another pinch of salt. Cook, stirring every so often until brown and buttery, about 5-8 minutes.
- Return onion/apple mixture to the skillet along with cooked sausage and all accumulated juices.
- When squash is cool enough to handle, scoop out most of the flesh, leaving some in the skin for sturdiness.
- Add squash flesh to the pan and stir until well incorporated. Taste, adjust salt and pepper.
- mix in beaten egg and fill squash halves. You may have leftover filling- just add it to an oven safe dish.
- Top with shredded cheese, return to the oven on the same baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and brown.
- Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
- Eat hot with white wine and a cheesy Christmas movie.
If you know you don't need all of it right away, top extra with the melted cheese but instead of baking, place, wrapped up in the fridge and bake through when you plan on eating it- it saves it from getting baked three times.
Leftovers will keep for up to 5 days and remains equally delicious.
I included recent variations that I've been using- chicken sausage instead of pork, mozzarella instead of cheddar and 1 tbsp olive oil instead of 2 tbsp of butter. I've also excluded the egg to see how it would turn out. I still make it the original way, and the egg does help with texture/binding but you can leave it out with success.
The variations still make a delicious fall meal that's lighter in calories but just as cozy.
Craving more fall recipes?