Stuffed Acorn Squash with Kale and Turkey Sausage

I had an unexpected night off from the gym, so I decided to use my free time to test a new recipe for you! 

Thanksgiving is a week away and I am so excited because my mom is coming to visit! I think this recipes gives away my Turkey Day excitement though. Come on. Turkey, squash, and cranberries, all in one recipe? I can't promise that I'm not working on a gluten-free, cleaned-up pumpkin pie bar recipe later tonight. 

(WHAT?! This is what I do when I have free time, okay?! :)

This stuffed squash recipe is adapted from Epicurious.com. I took out the breadcrumbs and upped the lean protein by adding ground turkey. You can easily adapt this for your personal preferences and it will still taste great. Leave out the Parmesan if you need to make it dairy-free. Ditch the nuts in the topping if you have a nut allergy. It's so hearty and filling and combines protein, non-starchy veggies, and good carbs all in one dish! 

Gluten-free - Adapted from Epicurious.com

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

2 medium acorn squash, halved down the middle, seeds removed

sea salt and fresh black pepper

olive oil cooking spray

4 tsp. olive oil, divided

8 ounces spicy Italian turkey sausage, casings removed

8 ounces ground turkey (we prefer 93/7 lean)

1 large leek, white and light green parts only, halved and sliced thin

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 cups kale, stems removed, tightly packed

1/3 c. low-sodium chicken stock

2 Tbs. dried cranberries

For Gremolata:

2 Tbs. walnuts, chopped

2 Tbs. grated Parmesan

2 Tbs. fresh Italian parsley, chopped

DIRECTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut a thin slice off the bottom of each squash to create a stable base. Spray each squash with olive oil cooking spray and season lightly with salt and pepper. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. Place squash cut side down on prepared baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes in preheated oven. While the squash bakes, prepare filling.

2.  In a large nonstick skillet, heat about 2 tsp of olive oil over medium heat. Add turkey sausage and ground turkey, breaking into pieces with a wooden spoon, until browned. Transfer to bowl and set aside. To the same skillet, add another 2 tsp. of olive oil and leeks and reduce heat to low. Cook until leeks are softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

3. Add kale to the cooked leeks and garlic and toss. Add dried cranberries and chicken broth, then cover the skillet, cooking until kale is wilted and tender. Season lightly with sea salt and black pepper. Add kale-leek mixture to the cooked turkey mixture, and stir to combine. 

4. Scoop kale-turkey sausage mixture into baked squash. Preheat broiler.

5. In a small bowl, combine walnuts, Parmesan, and Italian parsley. Toss with a fork to combine and divide evenly among the tops of each stuffed squash. Place stuffed squash under broiler for 1-2 minutes until topping is lightly browned. 

Remove from oven and serve warm.

COOKS' NOTE: I was able to fit about 2/3 of a cup of filling into each squash and had some filling leftover, which I ate with a spoon because it was delicious!