in an effort to balance out all of the holiday baking and treats that are likely coming our way over the next few weeks, let’s find a tasty way to add some kale into our diet, shall we? may i suggest sausage, kale, and apple stuffed spaghetti squash? it’s yummy. and easy. and the leftovers are good. if that’s not the holy trinity of weeknight dinners, i don’t know what is.
(fair warning though: the squash does have to roast for about an hour – but you can get the rest of the meal ready in a fraction of that time, so it feels doable on a weeknight.)
if you enjoyed (by which i might mean pinned but haven’t gotten around to making yet) either the recent spaghetti squash bowls with sausage and spinach or the pierogies with sautéed apples and sausage, this is basically the happy union of those two recipes. what can i say, sausage, greens, and squash go together so well, i just can’t help coming up with more “new” ways to combine them.
in this case, we throw a halved spaghetti squash in the oven to roast (she says casually, as if slicing a squash in half is no big deal…), grab a few ingredients out of the pantry and the fridge, and throw together a quick stuffing/topping/filling for those soon-to-be squash bowls while they roast.
the stuffing part is so quick, in fact, that you can have the stuffing made and the kitchen basically cleaned up before the squash even comes out of the oven. (i get way too much satisfaction out of recipes that bake for long enough for me to clean the kitchen before we sit down to eat. it’s just so nice not to walk into a messy kitchen after dinner…)
anyway, in case you pick recipes to make based on taste, rather than how much of the kitchen you can clean while it bakes, know that this combination is a winner (see: all those other times i used it). the sweetness of the squash and apple perfectly balance the not-sweetness of the kale and the sausage/onion/garlic/herbs add a nice savory touch.
and my last selling point: all of these ingredients are happy to hang out in the pantry/fridge, just in case a last minute holiday party/too-good-to-pass-up sale/gingerbread house emergency derails your plan to make dinner. i know i sometimes (read: almost always) get a weeee bit ambitious when planning my menu for the week and inevitably one or two recipes get pushed to the following week.
this sausage, kale, and apple stuffed spaghetti squash is totally game for that – just toss the kale in the freezer if you’re not sure it’s going to make it. i freeze a couple bags a week of trader joe’s refrigerated, washed, and chopped bagged kale and it works really well in my smoothies/any sautéed application. i probably wouldn’t use it defrosted and raw in salad but it’s perfect in this sausage, kale, and apple stuffed spaghetti squash. and that, my friends, is how we get kale on our plate in december. go team!
- 1 medium spaghetti squash
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, sliced pole to pole into half moons
- 2 precooked chicken sausages (4 – 5 oz. / 113 – 142 g.) (an apple or roasted garlic flavor works well), sliced
- 4 large cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 medium size crisp, tart apple, cored and diced
- 4 oz. (113 g.) kale, ribs removed, leaves chopped
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ teaspoon dried sage
- 1/3 cup (1 1/8 oz. / 34 g.) pecans, toasted and broken into pieces
- preheat the oven to 450° F. using a sharp chef’s knife (affiliate), cut the stem end off the squash. see if the squash will stand up without wobbling on the other end. if not, trim that end so that you have a flat surface to stand the squash up on its end. stand the squash up and carefully cut the squash lengthwise (this is not easy! if you want an easier/safer method, give this tutorial a try; i haven’t tried it yet but it seems sound.). set the squash halves cut sides up on a rimmed baking sheet (so they roast instead of steam). roast until tender (check with the tip of a sharp knife) (timing depends on your squash, but plan on 55 minutes – 1 hours and 10 minutes).
- when the squash is almost done roasting (or about 45 minutes after you start cooking it), heat the oil in a large skillet (ideally one that has a lid) over medium heat. add the onion, stir, and sauté uncovered for 3 – 4 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is beginning to soften and turn a bit translucent.
- add the chicken sausage and garlic, stir, and sauté for 2 – 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is fragrant and sausage is beginning to brown a little bit.
- add the apple and kale, stir, cover with a lid, and sauté for 3 minutes, until the apple begins to soften and the kale turns brighter green.
- add the rosemary, thyme, and sage, stir, and recover. sauté for another 3 minutes, until the kale is a little bit wilted.
- remove the pan from heat. put a lid on the pan to keep the food warm if the squash isn't quite done yet.
- to serve, either spoon the sausage/kale mixture into the hollows of the squash and cut the squash in half cross wise or use a fork to tease the squash strands out like spaghetti and then top with the sausage/kale mixture. either way, sprinkle with pecans and enoy. leftovers keep well for a few days in an airtight container in the fridge and heat up nicely in the microwave!
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