Sausage & Seasonal Vegetable Stuffed Squash

Spaghetti, Kabocha, Pumpkin, Hubbard, Acorn and more. This time of year beautiful—and tasty—winter squash abound. Last night we made stuffed Delicata squash using seasonal produce and spicy Italian sausage. Delicata, also known as sweet potato squash, is creamy with a tinge of, well, sweet. Like Acorn squash, Delicata halves make perfect individual servings and dress up any plate. I'm eager to stuff a Spaghetti squash with this sausage stuffing for a dish that's a tad more savory than sweet. Just pick your favorite squash and go for it!

Sausage and Seasonal Vegetable Stuffed Squash

Gluten-Free | Casein-Free | Citrus-Free | Corn-Free | Dairy-Free | Egg-Free | Fish-Free | Peanut-Free | Potato-Free | Shellfish-Free | Soy-Free | Tree Nut-Free | Wheat-Free | Sweetener-Free | GFCF

Serves:  4
Prep Time:  40 minutes
Cook Time:  1 hour

Ingredients:

1 pound ITALIAN SAUSAGE, browned and crumbled (pick your heat)
3-5 medium DELICATA SQUASH
5 small dried SHIITAKE MUSHROOMS (or other dried mushroom)
1/2 cup very HOT WATER
3 tablespoons extra virgin OLIVE OIL
1-1/2 cups roughly chopped CAULIFLOWER
1/2 cup roughly chopped CELERY
1 small ONION, roughly chopped
3 tablespoons WHITE COOKING WINE
1 cup CHERRY TOMATOES
1 cup cubed ZUCCHINI
1/2 cup diced BELL PEPPER
1 cup cooked RICE
2 tablespoons fresh BASIL, roughly chopped or 2 teaspoons dried
1/2 teaspoon PAPRIKA
1/2 teaspoon SEA SALT or to taste
1/4 teaspoon dried SAGE
PEPPER to taste
CAYENNE to taste
1 cup DAIYA® CHEDDAR STYLE SHREDS or 1 cup shredded cheddar if diet allows (Optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375˚F.

Carefully cut squash in half lengthwise, scoop out and toss seeds, reserve.

Combine mushrooms and hot water and set aside to soak. When mushrooms are plump, roughly chop and reserve soaking liquid. Transfer mushrooms, cauliflower and onion to food processor fitted with the "S" blade. Pulse until the texture of rice.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat and add cauliflower mixture, reserved mushroom liquid and wine. Saute 10-15 minutes or until liquid has evaporated and cauliflower mixture is light and fluffy. Add browned sausage and remaining ingredients (except Daiya cheese shreds) to skillet, gently toss and heat through.

Scoop and gently pack sausage stuffing into squash and sprinkle with additional paprika. Arrange squash in shallow, oven-proof casserole dish with lid. Pour 1/4" water into bottom of casserole dish and bake covered for 45-60 minutes or until squash is tender when poked with a fork. Remove cover, sprinkle with Daiya shreds and bake uncovered for an additional 5-10 minutes or until cheese shreds have melted. Allow to cool a few minutes before serving.

Notes:

Unlike most winter squash, the skin of Delicata squash is thin and tender enough to be eaten when cooked. Personally, I still scoop the flesh out of the skin and eat that way.