Author Notes: This is my go-to "impress people" meal for winter time. It's easy to make, incredibly adaptable, wonderfully satisfying, and everyone I've made it for raves! —Jessica Lioon | garlicpressjess
whole acorn squashes
cups plain yogurt (Greek or whole milk recommended)
ounces bulk sausage (I prefer Italian Chicken Sausage from Whole Foods)
cloves of garlic
handfuls roughly chopped hearty greens (kale, chard, spinach, etc)
handful chopped fresh parsley, cilantro, basil or scallions
extra veggies of your choosing, chopped (bell peppers, leeks, carrots, etc)
glugs of cooking oil (grapeseed, canola, or olive oil)
salt and pepper to taste
- OPTIONAL but recommended prep step: Ideally the evening or a few hours before you want to serve this, wipe/clean the outsides of your squashes. Cut them in half, sticking your knife in at the top, going through or right next to the stem. Using your fingers, pick out the seeds and place directly on a baking sheet, trying to get as few stringy-parts as you can (a few are ok). Once you've pulled out all the seeds, place a dry paper towel on top of them and press it down all around them to absorb as much moisture as you can. The seeds will be sticky and will stick to the paper towel - that's ok. When the paper towel is mostly saturated, pick off the seeds sticking to it and discard the paper towel. Spread seeds evenly on the sheet and place in oven (turned off) overnight or for several hours to help dry out the seeds. If you are doing this the night before, at this point I recommend scooping out the stringy insides of the squash and discard. You can then put the squash halves back together, using a rubber band to keep them in place, and put in the fridge until the next day. When you check the seeds (the next morning or after a few hours), they should be noticeably dry and slightly stuck to the sheet, but will come off easily when scraped with a spatula or your fingers. Loosen them up and spread evenly again. Roast in a 250 degree oven for 5-10 minutes. Be careful - these are VERY easy to burn. I recommend continuously setting a timer for 3-min intervals and checking that often. Seeds are done when they are crispy to the bite. When finished, toss with a little oil and salt/pepper/spices of your choice.
- If you skipped step one, wipe/clean the outsides of your squashes. Cut them in half, sticking your knife in at the top, going through or right next to the stem. Scoop out the stringy insides of the squash with a spoon or grapefruit spoon if you have it. If you did not do step one, you can save the insides to pick out the seeds later, or just discard.
- Place squash halves on a roasting pan with the skin side touching the pan. Sprinkle each one with a little oil, using your fingers to spread the oil around each half, then sprinkle each with salt and pepper. Roast for about 35-50 minutes at 400 degrees, until they are golden and a fork goes in easily. When done, turn the oven off but keep squash inside to stay warm.
- While squash are roasting, place about 2 cups of yogurt into a small and pretty serving bowl. Wash, dry, and finely chop your handful of herbs (or scallions), then stir into the yogurt. Wash your lemon and zest it directly into the bowl. Cut lemon and squeeze half of it into the bowl, catching seeds with a small sieve. Stir and taste. Add more lemon juice if you like. Put yogurt sauce in the fridge until serving time.
- Wash and cut your kale or other greens into roughly bite-size pieces. If using greens with a thick stalk (like kale), I remove the stalks and chop them into small pieces to add to the stir-fry as well. Chop/dice your onion and any other veggies your adding. Crush garlic, peel it and then roughly mince.
- Heat your sauté pan on medium heat. Add a good glug of oil and your garlic, onions, chopped kale stalks, and any other hearty veggies (save greens for the end). Sauté until fragrant and mostly softened. Turn heat down if it's going too fast. Cut open your sausage packages and add directly to the pan. Using a spatula or wooden spoon, break up the sausage into bite size pieces. Allow to brown and cook thoroughly, flipping and mixing after a few minutes on each side. When you're pretty sure the sausage is cooked, place all the greens on top. Add about a quarter cup of water, then cover with a lid to let the greens steam. After about a minute or two, remove the lid. Greens should be brightly colored. Mix in thoroughly and turn off the heat.
- At this point your squash should be ready. Place squash halves on plates, one half per person. Carefully spoon sausage mixture into each squash to make a heaping portion. Top with a few spoons of yogurt sauce, and (optionally) some toasted squash seeds. (If you did not make the seeds, you could also top with a few nuts, breadcrumbs, or other crunchy topper of your choice. OR it's also perfectly delicious without a topper!) Serve with spoons and remind guests to scoop bites of squash along with bites of sausage mixture! Keep yogurt sauce on the table in case folks want extra.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for The Recipe You're Most Proud Of