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When I made huge lifestyle changes two years ago, I was genuinely sad to say goodbye to one of my all-time favorite recipes: Mushroom Sausage Stuffing. It was one I only made on Thanksgiving, because I always felt it was so special. But alas, it was full of bread, something I was committed to cutting out if I were ever to find health. Every person is different, of course, but bread is one thing that causes inflammation and misery in my body.
Thankfully, I’ve learned that there are ways to revamp my old favorite recipes so I can still have all of the good stuff without needing the bad! It’s not about what you’ve cut out, it’s all about the good stuff you’ve added in! In this case, I took out the bread, and instead, I paired it with a beautiful acorn squash. The flavors went from just wonderfully savory to explosive!
So if you’re like me, and you need a great Paleo-friendly stuffing alternative, this one is WONDERFUL, if I do say so myself! Super delicious! (If you want to make this a Whole30 stuffing recipe, use chicken broth instead of wine.)
If you are making this for a special occasion like Thanksgiving, definitely prepare this the day before as it is a bit more time-consuming and you will already have your hands full that day as it is! It keeps nicely in the refrigerator and reheats well.
Preparing the Acorn Squash
I should also note that in the images for this recipe, I used just one large acorn squash cut into two halves and really HEAPED the stuffing on top. But if you want to spread it out even more, go with two acorn squash, to make four halves total. There will be plenty of stuffing to go around!
Preparing the squash is easy, it just takes some muscle, so a sharp knife definitely helps!
- 1-2 large acorn squash (see notes)
- 2-4 Tbsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 10-oz cartons sliced mushrooms
- 1/2 cup white wine (you can substitute chicken broth instead)
- 2 tbsp grass-fed butter (or ghee)
- 1 lb sweet Italian sausage
- 2 small tart apples, I used Granny Smith, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley
- 1 tbs chopped fresh sage
- 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
- 1 tsp crushed fennel seeds
- 1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Prepare acorn squash by slicing off the top and bottom, just enough so that it will sit flat on those ends.
- Cut acorn squash in half, open squash halves and scoop out the seeds using a spoon. Place them onto a baking sheet.
- Coat squash with olive oil, just enough to coat the inside of the squash, and then reserve the rest of the olive oil for sauteeing your vegetables. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Bake for 40 minutes, in 400 degrees F. (When you take the squash out of the oven, keep oven on. You will be putting the squash back in again later.)
- While your squash is roasting, preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Add remaining olive oil to pan. Add onions, celery and garlic. Stir until vegetables are transluscent. Turn up to med-high and add mushrooms, for about 10 minutes, until mushrooms are crisp on the edges.
- Turn up heat to high and add white wine. Allow the wine to cook off for a bit, then lower the heat and simmer for ten minutes. Stir in butter one tbsp at a time until it is well mixed. Remove from heat, and move vegetable mixture to a bowl and set aside for later.
- Remove sausage from casings, and cook over med-high for 5 to 7 minutes, breaking up the meat into bite-sized chunks as you go. Add vegetable mixture back to the skillet. Add apples, parsley, sage, thyme, fennel, and rosemary. Stir to combine. Add vegetable mixture back to skillet and stir until just heated through.
- Stuff mixture into the acorn squash halves. Place back into oven for 20 minutes.