The acorn squash recipes I encounter usually swayed towards the sweet side. In fact, brown sugar seems to be the pairing of choice. After some digging, I was able to find several recipes that had more of a spicy flavor – specifically a cajun taste. I adapted a recipe that used andouille sausage. However, since vegetarian pre-flavored andouille sausage flavor does not seem to exist, I mimicked that flavor by adding smoked paprika and thyme. Onions, red beans and brown rice round out the flavors in this recipe.
Acorn Squash Stuffed with Vegetarian Cajun Sausage
2 acorn squash
Cajun or Creole seasoning (Emeril’s Bayou Blast)
1/2 tube vegetarian sausage or 3 vegetarian sausage patties (Lightlife Gimme Lean ground sausage)
1 small onion, chopped
1 small tomato, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup cooked brown rice
1 14.5 ounce can red beans
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
pinch of cayenne
salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 375. Meanwhile, wash outside of acorn squash and prick several times with a fork. Microwave squash for 45 seconds on high. (This will make the squash easier to cut.)
- Cut squash in half and remove seeds and pulp.
- Lightly spray baking sheet with cooking spray. Sprinkle cajun seasoning on acorn squash and place cut side down on baking sheet. Place in oven for 45 minutes or until soft on the inside.
- While acorn squash is baking, drizzle some olive oil in saute pan and place over medium heat. Crumble sausage into saute pan and add onions. Cook until onions are softened and sausage is cooked through. Add garlic and cook a little more. Add chopped tomatoes, kidney beans, paprika, thyme, cayenne, salt and pepper to taste. Cook a few more minutes until heated through. Finally, add brown rice.
- When acorn squash has finished cooking, scoop sausage mixture into acorn squash and sprinkle with additional cajun spice mixture, if desired. Place stuffed acorn squash back into over for an additional 10 minutes or until mixture is heated through.
I think I even surprised myself with how good this turned out. I had plenty of the stuffing remaining which was able to stand alone as a leftover. The stunning colors of the acorn squash and the presentation of this dish make it a strong contender to prepare when guests come over. (You could prepare the stuffing ahead of time and refrigerate, then bake the squash the day of your event, re-heat the stuffing and serve.)