, Food Network star, restaurateur, and author of Guy Fieri Food: Cookin' It, Livin' It, Lovin' It
, couples sweet squash with savory turkey sausage in this nutritious entrée. Acorn squash is the foundation of this fall dish—and for good reason! The vegetable boosts the immune system and is celebrated for its powerful antioxidant properties. Lean turkey sausage, used as stuffing in the squash, also serves as a healthier, low-cal meat option.
For the turkey sausage:
2 tsp. thyme leaves
2 tsp. rubbed sage
2 tsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper, plus more to taste
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 lb. lean ground turkey
For the acorn squash and vegetables:
3 acorn squash, cut in half
3 tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt, plus more for seasoning
1 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper, plus more for seasoning
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 c. 1-inch-sliced green cabbage
1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut in 1/4-inch-wide strips
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut in 1/4-inch-wide strips
1/2 large sweet onion, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 tbsp. minced garlic
4 oz. soft goat cheese (about 1/2 c.)
2 tbsp. chopped flat-leaf parsley for garnish
To make the turkey sausage, combine the thyme, sage, salt, pepper, and cayenne in a medium bowl. Add the turkey and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 8 to 24 hours. To prepare the squash, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Trim the ends off the squash so that it will sit flat. Scrape the seeds and membranes from inside the squash halves (if you go through the end, don't worry). Separate the seeds from the membranes and rinse well. Dry the seeds with a paper towel. Place the squash halves cut side up on a baking sheet, drizzle with 2 tbsp. olive oil, and sprinkle with 1 tsp. of the salt and the pepper. Place the seeds on a separate baking sheet or prepare a separate foil sheet for them to roast on. Place the squash and the squash seeds in the oven.
Roast the squash for 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden around the edges and a knife can be inserted easily into the flesh. Remove from the oven but leave the squash on the baking sheet. Stir the seeds every 5 minutes and check them for doneness after 15 to 20 minutes; you want them to be crisp and golden brown. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the seeds with the remaining 1/2 tsp. salt.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and pour in the remaining 1 tbsp. olive oil. When hot, add the turkey, making sure to leave large chunks, about 1 inch across. Let the chunks brown, then turn and cook through, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate and keep warm. In the same pan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the cabbage and cook until it starts to color and wilt, about 4 minutes. Add the peppers and onion and cook for 6 to 8 minutes, until the onions are soft and the peppers are still a little al dente. Add the turkey and the garlic. Cook for 2 to 4 minutes more to blend the flavors. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary. Turn the oven to a low broil. Divide the turkey mixture among the squash halves. Crumble the goat cheese over the tops, sprinkle with the roasted squash seeds, and place under the broiler just until the cheese is warm. Garnish with a bit of parsley and serve immediately.
Makes 6 servings