Sausage-stuffed butternut squash was one of the first things my husband cooked for me when we first started dating.
I was just under 21 at the time and that was actually the first time I had ever tried butternut squash.
If I’m being completely honest, I was the pickiest of eaters growing up, so my palate was embarrassingly limited for quite a long time.
Aside from grains and nuts, the only plant-based foods that I was willing to eat when I was younger were corn, potatoes, tomatoes (in the form of ketchup or tomato sauce), the very occasional banana, raisins, and grapes (in the form of grape jelly).
So, I pretty much lived off of cereal, Eggo waffles, pizza, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, burgers, fries, chips, mac & cheese, spaghetti, and PB&J sandwiches (plus the usual sweets — cookies, cakes, candies, etc, etc).
Not the type of diet you’d expect from someone who’s now a dietitian, amiright?
My food choices gradually expanded when I got to college, and, particularly, after I decided that I wanted to study nutrition.
When I met my husband, even though real food had started to make an appearance in my life, my diet was still pretty sparse compared to most others my age.
So, when I was presented with butternut squash for the first time, I, naturally, had a mini panic attack (though I think I hid it well) because I had no idea how I’d react to the dish…
Would I like it?
Would I gag?
Embarrass myself by my reaction in front of a guy I’d only dated for a couple weeks while I simultaneously made him feel like crap about his efforts?
I slowly and reluctantly took a bite and, to my surprise and relief, I actually enjoyed it.
Not long after this, I started taking cooking classes at college (they were part of the educational requirements for my major) and I discovered that I could, in fact, cook real food that didn’t come out of a box, bag, or can. And from that point on, pretty much all of the cooking responsibilities fell onto my shoulders.
(In fact, my husband now feigns some type of selective amnesia when it comes to tackling any cooking on his own… 😂)
I’ve since prepared butternut squash many different ways over the years and this sausage-stuffed butternut squash boat recipe is one of our favorites. I usually prepare this recipe several times throughout fall and winter and I serve it as the main course.
If you’ve never had butternut squash, it has a fairly sweet taste, sort of reminiscent of sweet potato or pumpkin. I like to pair the sweetness of butternut squash with spicier seasonings. You can also roast butternut squash seeds (and other winter squash seeds) just like pumpkin seeds.
What I love about butternut squash, nutrient-wise, is that it’s loaded with vitamin A and it also has a pretty good amount of vitamin C, magnesium, potassium, manganese, certain B vitamins, and a variety of other nutrients.
- 1 butternut squash
- 1 bell pepper
- 1/2 medium onion
- 1/2 pound ground pork sausage
- 1/8 tsp paprika
- few dashes of chipotle chili powder
- few dashes of ancho chili powder
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1/8 tsp garlic powder, or to taste
- 1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
- 1/8 tsp ground black pepper, or to taste
- 1/4 cup sour cream, or to taste
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Cut butternut squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds. Seeds can be saved for roasting or discarded.
- Place butternut squash halves cut side down in a rimmed baking dish. Add approximately 1/2 inch of water to baking dish. Place in preheated oven and bake for approximately 60 minutes, or until the flesh of the squash can be easily pierced by a fork.
- While squash is baking, heat a skillet on the stove over medium heat. Chop the bell pepper and onion and add them to the skillet along with the ground pork, breaking up the pork with a spatula. Add in paprika, chipotle, and ancho chili seasongs. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the bell pepper and onion are soft and the pork is cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside.
- When squash is fork tender, remove from oven and drain the remaining water from the pan. Flip squash flesh-side up and scoop the flesh out of each squash half and place in a bowl, leaving about 1/4-1/2" of squash around the edges of the skin intact. Add butter, sour cream, garlic powder, salt, and pepper to the bowl and use a mixer to combine ingredients with squash. Mix until squash is smooth and ingredients are thoroughly combined.
- Equally divide the mashed squash mixture among the squash skin halves. Add sausage mixture on top of mashed squash, then sprinkle with mozzarella.
- Return squash to oven and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and lightly golden. Remove from oven and serve.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 290Total Fat: 20gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 76mgSodium: 295mgCarbohydrates: 10gFiber: 2gSugar: 3gProtein: 18g
Let me know what you think about this sausage-stuffed butternut squash boat recipe in the comments below!
Amanda Austin is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified LEAP Therapist who approaches health and wellness from an integrative and functional perspective. She loves a good DIY, making a mess in the kitchen, and working up a sweat. She’s also obsessed with her incredibly spoiled fur-babies, which includes a rambunctious Boston Terrier, 2 cranky house cats, and 3 boisterous chickens.