Squash Stuffed with Turkey, Apple, Cranberries and Quinoa

November 15, 2020
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Photo by Carissa Erzen
  • Prep time 25 minutes
  • Cook time 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Serves 4-8
Author Notes

Mmm the flavors of Thanksgiving - savory turkey, tart cranberries, sweet baked apples, fresh herbs like thyme... *wipes drool from chin*
I made this recipe because the year of 2020, will have many of us gathering in much smaller groups for the holidays. Roasting a whole turkey for just a couple folks seems like a lot of work. So instead, you can bake everything in one go with this Squash Stuffed with Turkey, Apple, Cranberries and Quinoa!

If you have any leftovers, refrigerate them in airtight containers. They are super delicious for the next few days after reheating them and adding extra fresh thyme on top. Stuffed squash is pretty versatile too. You can substitute the quinoa for rice, if that's more your grain of choice. Leave out the turkey or replace it with lentils to make this a delicious vegetarian dish, and adjust the cooking time as necessary. A whole stuffed squash will happily feed one person, and a half of a stuffed squash makes a delicious side dish (that may just steal the show from the main course!) —Carissa Erzen

What You'll Need
  • 4 small, round squash or pumpkin
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 cup quinoa or rice
  • ¼ cups dried cranberries
  • tablespoons fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 to 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • fresh thyme leaves, for garnish
  1. Cut off the tops of the squash and scoop out the seeds and pulp, like you are carving a jack-o-lantern pumpkin. If our squash doesn't stand up straight on its own, cut off a bit from the bottom, so they stand upright while they bake. Place the squashes in one or two casserole dishes (depending on the size of your dishes and if it can fit four squashes or just two.)
  2. Preheat the oven to 325°F. In a mixing bowl, make the filling by mixing together the ground turkey, quinoa or rice, apple pieces, dried cranberries, salt, cinnamon, paprika, and garlic cloves.
  3. Pour a large spoonful of the filling into each squash. Pour about a tablespoon of the broth on top of the filling. Continue filling, alternative between the turkey filling and the broth, until you use about 1 cup of the broth and all of the filling. Place 1 Tbsp of butter on top of each squash. Place the tops back on the squash.
  4. Bake for 1½ hours, then take them out and check if more broth is needed to keep everything moist. Bake for another 1 hour. Let them cool for at least 20 minutes, to allow all the flavors to meld together after coming out of the oven.
  5. Garnish with a generous amount of thyme (at least 4 sprigs of leaves per squash). A whole squash will make a delicious main course, and a half squash will make a delectable side dish. Enjoy!

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