Spinach and Sausage Stuffed Butternut Squash

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Butternut squash is one of my favorite fall vegetables. The nutrient-dense vegetable is a comforting addition to any meal. It’s also easy to turn this beloved fall vegetable into a hearty dinner. I just add some meat and cheese to disguise the squash, and my family gobbles it up every time. This recipe elevates butternut squash to a comforting dish perfect for cool autumn evenings.

Let me know when you make this recipe. Take a picture and hashtag it #QUEENCITYKITCHEN. I can’t wait to see what you post! 

Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Butternut Squash
Makes 4 servings

1 large butternut squash (about 3 pounds)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ medium onion, chopped
½ red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound bulk Italian sausage (hot and/or mild)
½ cup chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
½ cup shredded Manchego cheese, plus more for sprinkling
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese, plus more for sprinkling
3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling
2 cups baby spinach, chopped
Kosher salt
Coarse-ground pepper
Red pepper flakes

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Wash and dry the outside of the squash. Make several large slits through the skin of the squash with the tip of a sharp knife to release steam as the squash heats. Microwave the squash on high until the skin softens, about 5 minutes.

Once the butternut squash is cool enough to handle, scoop out the seeds. Place squash, flesh side down, on a foil-lined  baking sheet and bake an additional 15 minutes. Cool the squash for 5 minutes. Scrape a bit of the flesh with a melon baller or spoon, leaving a ½-border around the edges. Coarsely chop the squash flesh and set aside until ready to use. Sprinkle each squash half with salt and pepper.

To make the filling, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook until tender, about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the garlic and cook 1 additional minute. Add the sausage. Cook the sausage, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, about 7 minutes. Pour in the chicken broth and heavy cream; stir to combine. Mix in the cheese and spinach. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir until well-combined. Remove the pan from the heat.

Add the squash flesh to the sausage mixture; stir to combine.  Fill the squash shells with the sausage mixture and sprinkle with additional cheeses and red chili flakes.

Place the baking pan in the oven and roast the butternut squash until very tender when pierced with a fork, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve.

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