Perfect Brunch: Stuffed Acorn Squash

Recently, I've really taken to postponing my old right-when-I-wake-up weekend breakfasts in favor of a more exciting, substantial brunch. This is one of my favorites - so much so that I made variations of it three weekends in a row. 

As far as brunch goes, it's easy to make - leisurely, not very time-sensitive, and flexible enough to use up whatever's you find in the fridge on Saturday morning. Depending on what you include, this stuffed squash clocks in around 250-300 calories, yet feels exciting enough for a special occasion.  

I've always thought acorn squash are the perfect size for two people, and they're seriously adorable. Problem is, the deep side ridges that are so cute make peeling a huge annoyance. Roasting them in halves and then stuffing them is perfect - no peeling required.

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Serves: 2
Serving Size: 1 stuffed squash half
Nutrition: 250 Calories | 19g Protein | 6g Fat

Time to Food: prep time + cook time

Ingredients

  • 1 Acorn Squash, 12-14oz
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • Handfuls of Spinach (substitute kale or any other leafy greens)
  • 1 Chicken Sausage (I recommend Trader Joe's 110 calorie garlic sausage)
  • Egg Beaters (or whole eggs, see variation below)
  • Rosemary & Garlic Salt (substitute your favorite spice blend)

Instructions

  1. Cut the squash in half and scoop out seeds. Lay cut side up on a sheet pan, spray lightly with oil of choice, and hit it with salt and spices of choice (in my case, rosemary and garlic). Put in the oven (again, cut side up) to roast at 450 for about 30 min, until the insides are soft.
  2. While the squash is roasting, cook your diced onion on the stovetop on low heat, stir occasionally. Add some spices - garlic especially. The longer you let it cook the sweeter the onion will be - if you are very patient and let it really caramelize, it pays off.
  3. After about 15-20 min, add diced sausage to the pan. Cook with the onions for about 8 min, depending on size and frozen-ness of your sausage bits.
  4. By this time, the squash should be done - pull it out and let it cool for a minute. Once you're able, scoop out 80% of squash so what's left is a little squash bowl with some structural integrity. (I like to weigh the scooped out squash at this point, then estimate calories up like 50% for the parts I didn't scoop out.)
  5. Add spinach to your onion and sausage mix - let it cook down, stir it around. Should only take a minute or two to wilt. Add scooped out squash into the onion sausage mix too. Mix it all together really well and let it combine for a minute or two in the pan.
  6. Take your mix and scoop it back into your squash bowls to stuff them. (Pro tip - make a little well in the middle, like a donut - that's where your eggs will sit.)
  7. Pop squash back in the oven. While they're in, make some eggs of your choice in the now-empty sausage pan. (I used just egg beaters because that's what I had, but this is SO GOOD if you crack an egg into the top of your squash before you put it back in the oven. See variations below.)
  8. When your eggs are ready, pull out your squash and top it with the egg. You did it!

Variations:

Beyond preparing the eggs different ways, this can be done in hundreds of different ways - different squashes (fantastic with spaghetti squash) or different fillings (scallions, peppers, anything you'd put in an omelette) or different spices (try cinnamon / pumpkin pie blend).

Variation Inspiration