Baked Pumpkin Stuffed with Sausage, Quinoa & Cranberries

I found versions of this recipe while looking for a meal for my bible study group, one limiting gluten and dairy. Plus, I eat so much dairy that it is nice to have something else on the menu.

My mom, who tries to eat very healthy (you know, green stuff and mushrooms and what-not…) thought that this was one of the best meals she’s had lately. So, from an authority you have it: “This is a healthy meal!”

And from persnickety eater (myself) who generally forgets to put most vegetables in her meals: “This tastes delicious!”

Pumpkin4Step 1: Find a pretty, flatter pumpkin or squash:

  • Cut a circle around the top, like you are opening up a jack-o-lantern. Remove top, scoop out seeds and strings, replace top as a lid.
  • Bake the pumpkin for an hour or more at 350 degrees F. I used my largest cast iron pan to hold the pumpkin, just find something oven-safe that can hold a round pumpkin.
  • This recipe is also highly recommended for use with acorn squash, those are cut in half, scooped clean, topped with oil, and cooked 40-45 minutes.

Step 2: While the pumpkin is baking, prepare the following stuffing:

  • Brown 1 lb. sausage with coconut oil and seasonings (salt, pepper, herbs de province)
  • Cook 1 cup quinoa with 2 cups water. Bring to boil, then lower temp to simmer for 15 minutes or until barely cooked tender. You may also substitute chicken broth or apple cider for the water.
  • Carmelize vegetables starting with 1 cup shredded carrots and diced celery with ½ cup orange juice and some oil, then adding 1 cup diced onions, 1 cup cranberries, salt and pepper to taste.
  • Chop a few apples (around 1 cup) and set aside along with ½ cup sliced almonds.

Step 3: Add filling:  When the pumpkin is cooked (tender but not sagging), remove from oven. Carefully remove lid and lay onto a plate, set aside. Drain excess water that may have pooled inside. Start to layer stuffing in ½ inch layers. Be sure to fill the sides so that the pumpkin walls do not sink in. I did the filling in this order:

  • Quinoa
  • Apples & Almonds
  • Sausage
  • Vegetables

Pumpkin6Once full, sprinkle a few almond slices on top. Place pumpkin top back on, taking care to keep the stem attached.

Step 4: Return to oven, bake at 350 degrees F for 10-40 minutes. (Time varies due to when you want the meal ready to serve and how cool the fillings got before putting into the squash. You can check the internal temperature if unsure, 140 degrees is good.)

Step 5:  To serve: Remove top and set upside-down on a plate. Scoop through the filling into to squash to get some of both. If you dare, shredded Gouda can be sprinkled on top before serving. This meal also reheats well, as the flavors continue to blend.    ENJOY!

Pumpkin5

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