Our Longève Savory Breakfast Sausage recipe brings bold flavor, meaty texture and plenty of plant protein to this showstopper of a dish. While Acorn squash will work well here, go for the more flamboyant Carnival variety if you can find it. These gorgeous specimens will bring a pop of seasonal color to your table, making this dish perfect for holiday entertaining. Try to choose small to medium squashes of equal size to ensure consistent portioning. And don’t worry if your squashes are too small to hold all of the delicious stuffing – simply serve any extra alongside the baked squash (or enjoy it reheated for lunch the next day). Melted cheese makes good things even better, and this dish is no exception. Go ahead and melt a blanket of cheddar, gruyere, or your favorite vegan cheese over the top... You won’t be disappointed! For a more sophisticated finish, combine equal parts Longève Panko Breadless Crumbs and grated parmigiano reggiano, sprinkle generously over the stuffed squash and finish in a hot oven for a deeply flavorful, golden brown crust.
1 tsp. minced mixed fresh herbs (such as thyme, rosemary and sage)
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. black pepper
2 packed cups fresh baby spinach
1 cup shredded cheese (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a heavy-duty baking tray with aluminum foil or parchment paper and place squash cut-side down on tray. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes, or until squash feels tender when pressed gently. Remove squash from the oven and use tongs to flip each squash half so they’re cut-side up. Let cool while preparing the stuffing.
Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add sliced onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is soft and a deep golden brown. Add balsamic vinegar to pan and stir to mix through the onions. Raise heat to medium-high and continue to cook for a few minutes longer to caramelize, stirring to prevent scorching. When vinegar has cooked off and the pan is dry, carefully transfer onions to a large mixing bowl to cool.
Wipe out skillet and add another two tablespoons of olive oil. Add Longève sausage mixture and use a wooden spoon or spatula to press the mixture down into the pan. Let cook for one to two minutes before starting to break the mixture up with your spatula. Continue to cook and stir, breaking the mixture into coarse crumbles, for about five to six minutes, or until the sausage turns a deep, golden brown. Scrape sausage out into mixing bowl with caramelized onions.
Wipe out skillet again, and add the final tablespoon of olive oil. Add sliced mushrooms and cook over medium-high heat until soft and beginning to brown. Add diced apple and cook for another minute or two. Add minced garlic, herbs, salt and pepper, and mix through for about a minute. Add spinach and stir to combine. Cook for two to three minutes, or until spinach is wilted and apples are tender. Transfer mixture to mixing bowl and let cool for a few minutes.
Divide the stuffing mixture evenly between the cavities of each squash half, packing in the mixture gently, and topping it up into generous mounds. Sprinkle cheese over the tops (if using) and return pan to the hot oven. Bake for another 10 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and squash is hot throughout.
Serve one squash half per person as an entrée, or cut each in half again to serve as side dish.