A cozy, delicious, hearty meal ideal for those chilly autumn + winter nights. This dish is super simple to pull together— your oven does most of the work while you get to sit back and relax. Naturally grain-free (and gluten-free) and packed with nutrients, this is a meal you can feel pretty darn good about! Every bite has the perfect combination of flavors and textures. The tender butternut squash, flavorful Italian sausage, crunchy walnuts, and delicious blend of garlic, onion, herbs, and spices….. this stuffed butternut squash is one flavorful, well-rounded meal.
Oftentimes, simple is best
And this butternut stuffed squash is no exception. Only seven ingredients when you don’t count the olive oil and spices/herbs. When you’re working with such flavorful foods like butternut squash and Italian sausage, you don’t need to add much. I like to let the ingredients shine all on their own!
And the addition of spinach and raw walnuts not only add spectacular texture + color to this meal, but round it out with an extra boost of vitamins, minerals, and omega 3’s!
Easily customizable to your preferences
There are plenty of swaps you could make in this recipe, and it would still be spectacular because, well, butternut squash is spectacular.
I have made this dish with ground turkey instead of Italian sausage. It’s delicious— I would just spruce it up with extra spices and seasonings. (Basil, oregano, thyme, fennel seeds, red pepper flakes).
Some other easy swaps:
- Another type of nut in place of walnuts
- Kale instead of spinach
- Parmesan or another type of cheese to substitute the mozzarella (or omit the cheese if you are on a specific diet or unable to have dairy)
- Other add-ins: cranberries, apples, mushrooms, quinoa, wild rice
Italian Sausage Stuffed Butternut Squash
Serving Size: 3-4
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 55 minutes
- 1 butternut squash
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 lb mild Italian sausage
- 1 cup spinach, chopped or torn
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 small onion
- 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil. Halve butternut squash, scoop out seeds, brush with 1 tablespoon olive oil, and sprinkle with a pinch of the following: salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Place in the oven face down and cook for 15 minutes. Then, flip over and cook an additional 30 minutes, or until fork tender and just about desired tenderness.
- While the squash is cooking, brown the Italian sausage over medium-high heat in a large pan. Once the sausage starts to turn golden brown (but still some pink in the middle), add 1 tablespoon olive oil, onion, garlic, 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, and 1 teaspoon rosemary. Cook about 5 minutes. During the last 1-2 minutes, stir in the walnuts and spinach. Remove from heat. Italian sausage should be just barely cooked through.
- After butternut squash has cooked for about 45 minutes total, remove from oven and top with Italian sausage mixture. There tends to be some Italian sausage leftover— perfect for leftover squash the next day. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese on each half. Return to oven and cook for an additional 10 minutes, until the cheese becomes golden brown.