In case you missed it earlier this week: I’m giving away pasta! Pasta on Cara’s Cravings? You bet. Not just any pasta though. See why it’s special, how I’ve dressed it up, and how you can win 3 varieties of gourmet pasta! And, I’m spreading the word about a special campaign to feed hungry children in NYC. With a simple “like” on Facebook you can help to donate 30 meals. I feel like I’m a little late on this post. You’re totally squash-ed out, right? Squash is so…. last month, I take it you’ve moved on to sparkly candy cane martinis, powdery snowball cookies and peanut butter blossoms? I mean, that’s all anyone eats in December, right?

Personally, I’ve never had enough squash. I could make this in June and be a-ok with it. Whether everyone else would get excited is another question.Besides, don’t we always complain that the entire holiday season goes by way too fast? Starting with Thanksgiving (or is it Halloween?) and flying straight through to New Years? Therefore, I truly think squash is appropriate any time.Whether you’ve eaten enough oreo truffles that your body is actually begging for veggies. Whether it’s December 23rd and you’re thinking “Thanksgiving was so long ago! No wonder I’m craving more stuffing. And turkey.” Or whether you are the kind of person that stockpiles cases of pumpkin from BJ’s to last through 17 pumpkin shortages.I don’t know who that person is, but I’m sure she exists.  *wink*

So go ahead and make this stuffed squash. If you need more reasons to, I’m happy to go on about the awesome nutritional benefits of orange vegetables, swiss chard, and apples. And I’ll throw in a bonus about this being gluten-and-dairy-free, should that matter to you (ironically, I made this well before it mattered to me.) But who really cares? You don’t need any more reason other than it’s that good.

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Acorn Squash with Cornbread, Apple and Sausage Stuffing (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)

Ingredients:

2 large acorn squash, halved and seeded
3/4 lb Italian turkey sausage links, casings removed
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small bunch swiss chard, thick stems diced, and leaves roughly chopped
1 apple, cored and chopped
1/4 recipe Gluten Free cornbread, dried and crumbled* (recipe follows)
1 egg, beaten

Gluten Free Cornbread Ingredients:
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup quinoa flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/4 cup honey
3/4 cup unsweetened plain almond milk
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup pumpkin puree

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Place squash, cut side-up, into a 9x13" casserole dish. Pour about 1/2" of water into the dish, around the squash. Lightly mist the squash halves with cooking spray. Roast for about 45 minutes, until tender. Remove from oven.

Meanwhile, prepare the stuffing. In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, cook the sausage, stirring with a wooden spoon to crumble it. When the sausage is browned, transfer it to a medium-sized mixing bowl.

Reduce heat to medium and add the onions to the skillet. Saute for for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add garlic and swiss chard (both stems and leaves) and continue cooking for 5 minutes, until chard is wilted. Add the diced apple and cook 2 minutes more, stirring occasionally. Transfer this mixture to the bowl with the sausage.

Add the crumbled, dried cornbread to the bowl. Pour the egg over everything and gently fold to combine and moisten.

Divide the stuffing mixture evenly among the squash halves, packing in tightly. Return to oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until heated through and lightly browned.

*The cornbread may be prepared in advanced, cubed, and left on the counter overnight to dry out. Or, you may toast the cubes in a 325ºF oven until lightly browned and firm, about 15 minutes.

Gluten Free Cornbread Directions:
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Lightly spray a 9" round pie dish with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, combine cornmeal, quinoa flour, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine.

In a large measuring cup, whisk together egg, honey, almond milk, cider vinegar, and pumpkin puree.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. Pour the mixture into the pie dish and bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.

Nutrition Facts:

Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe: 4
Amount Per Serving
Calories 292.9
Total Fat 7.3 g
Saturated Fat 1.8 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.5 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.6 g
Cholesterol 88.9 mg
Sodium 615.0 mg
Potassium 1,197.1 mg
Total Carbohydrate 46.7 g
Dietary Fiber 7.6 g
Sugars 9.0 g
Protein 14.7 g

Gluten Free Cornbread Nutrition:
Servings Per Recipe: 12
Amount Per Serving
Calories 113.4
Total Fat 1.3 g
Saturated Fat 0.1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 0.2 g
Cholesterol 15.4 mg
Sodium 327.2 mg
Potassium 43.7 mg
Total Carbohydrate 23.2 g
Dietary Fiber 2.6 g
Sugars 6.2 g
Protein 2.9 g

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