I have always loved delicata squash because preparing it is so much easier than other winter squashes. The skin is totally edible, so you don’t have to deal with peeling any tough rind and there is, of course, also the amazing flavor to mention, which is like a cross between sweet potato and butternut. You can go as simple as just slicing and roasting it, but one of my favorite ways to prepare it is to stuff it with all sorts of goodies like ground turkey, apples, spinach, fresh herbs, pecans and dried cranberries for a nutritious meal with a delicious sweet and savory balance.
As far as hard squashes go, delicata is pretty quick to cook through but you’ll still want to give this a little head start in the oven while you work on the filling. Just halve the squash and scoop out the seeds, and then coat it with olive oil, salt, and pepper and stick it in a hot oven until the flesh is approaching fork tender. (That should take about twenty minutes.)
While the squash bakes, you brown ground turkey and onion, and then stir in fresh spinach, chopped apples, rosemary, thyme, and sage. You only need to cook it long enough for the spinach to wilt, the apples will soften further in the oven.
You’ll want to let the filling cool a bit, and then mix in a beaten egg (just to help it all hold together) and a handful of dried cranberries. The filling goes into the squash and gets topped with some chopped pecans before heading back into the oven where the filling sets up a bit and the pecans get nice and toasty.
It’s a dish that has it all – lean protein, plenty of nutritious veggies, an ideal sweet and savory balance, and a nutty crunch. It’s a great fall dinner, but it’s one you’ll want to make for as many months as you can find Delicata squash in your grocery store!
Turkey Stuffed Delicata Squash
10m prep time
30m cook time
- 3 medium delicata squash, halved lengthwise
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
- 1 small apple, diced
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
- 1/4 cup unsweetened dried cranberries
- 1/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped
- 1 egg, beaten
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Scoop out seeds from squash and discard. Brush cut sides of quash with about 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on baking sheet and bake until starting to soften, 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the turkey and onion, season with salt and pepper and cook until no longer pink, 8-10 minutes. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds.
- Add spinach, apple, rosemary, thyme, and sage. Cook until spinach has wilted, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Remove from heat and stir in cranberries. Let cool 5 minutes, then stir in beaten egg.
- Spoon mixture into squash halves and top with the toasted pecans. Return to oven and cook until tops are golden brown, 10-12 minutes. Enjoy!