Venison Italian Sausage Stuffed Delicata Squash

Get your fall cooking started off right with this classic squash recipe.

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Stuffed squash is one of the first things I make every fall. I LOVE squash season, and seriously get giddy when I start seeing the seasonal squash in the produce section. I inevitably buy ALL the squash, and my husband wonders when he’ll ever eat a meal without squash again 😉

But even better, squash season also lines up pretty nicely with the timing of when we start to get meat back from the butcher from the year’s deer season harvest. I’m a SUCKER for venison grind, so I am always so excited to start using it, and a stuffed squash recipe is always in order.

Unfortunately, with the Napa fires this year, my husband wasn’t able to harvest any deer (he hunts in Napa county, and the fires started right after the season opener and ran through all of the land that they hunt on, pretty much wiping the season out), so our venison grind stash won’t get replenished. Luckily, we still have some from a good harvest last year, so I was able to whip up my favorite version of stuffed squash, using venison Italian sausage and delicata squash.

The real beauty of this recipe is that you can virtually substitute any ground meat and/or squash (although you may have to play around with the number of squash you buy to ensure you have enough filling. Use a ground sausage style meat, or use with plain ground meat. My favorite squash to stuff is delicata, but I also love kabocha and acorn (very seasonal if you are cooking for an occasion!).

One thing to note — if you decide to make this with plain ground meat (e.g., ground beef), but still want the Italian sausage style seasonings, consider adding some extra spices in like red chili flakes, onion powder, and oregano. One (1) teaspoon of each should do the trick!

Have you made these? Let me know what you think or any questions you have in the comments below!


RECIPE (Serves 4)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 lb. venison Italian sausage (regular Italian sausage works here, too!)⁠
  • 2 delicata squash⁠
  • 1/2 bunch kale (I like lacinato), chopped⁠
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced⁠
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced⁠
  • Salt & pepper⁠
  • Avocado oil⁠

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat your oven to 400. Slice your squash in half, and remove the pulp. Brush with avocado oil, and season with salt and pepper. Roast until fork tender, about 25 mins, and remove from oven.⁠

In a saucepan over medium heat, heat about 1 tbsp. avocado oil. Add in onions and garlic, quickly cook until fragrant (15-30 seconds), and then add in the venison sausage. Once almost browned, add in your choppe kale, Stir and cook until wilted and the venison sausage is fully browned.⁠

Spoon the desired amount of filling into each squash half, and serve!⁠


Dairy-Free Fall Kabocha Potato Soup

It’s fall, which officially means one thing – it’s squash season!

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The transition from Summer into Fall this year is a little crazy because of all of the smoke in the Bay Area from the California fires. While it LOOKS like it is cloudy and fall-like outside, it is just the smoke and it is really 90+ degrees! I want it to be Fall so bad that I just crank up the air and turn on the fireplace to give me all the fall vibes and just pretend. And this soup is the perfect meal to top off a Fall day, even if it is a wannabe Fall day.

I chose to use Kabocha squash because it is one of my all-time favorites. It is sweet, yet warm, and everyone in the family likes it. While Butternut is oh-so-popular, my husband isn’t a big fan of it because he says it reminds him of the smell of skinning a deer (aka, gross), so I don’t use it often. Bruce is also a huge fan of Kabocha – it was one of his first foods, since he started eating solids in the Fall!

The one bummer about Kabocha is that it IS a little more difficult to dice if you are using a whole squash. The rind is tough to cut through, but once you get through it and get the ‘guts’ scraped out, it’s not too bad to skin, slice, and dice. That being said, if any of you have any hacks for dicing a Kabocha squash, help a sister out and send them my way!

You’ll notice that in addition to the squash, there are also two yellow potatoes in this soup. Now this is because I like my soups creamy and hearty y’all. I wanted the soup to have a creamy texture, but without the actual cream. And with no coconut cream or dairy-free creamer on hand, I decided to throw in a couple potatoes instead and they completely did the trick. The soup still has great texture and taste, seems light, but it fills you up for sure. Who needs creamer when you have potatoes?

While I used coriander and thyme to spice, you can switch these out with your favorite fall spices if you would like to make the soup more savory or sweet. I went savory, but if you want sweeter, you can consider cloves and cinnamon.

So, if you are looking to celebrate the beginning of Fall with a cozy squash soup like me, give this one a try!

A couple things to note – to save your hand from some serious cramping, you can also use pre-cubed kabocha squash if you can find it; I can find it sometimes at Whole Foods! Using frozen kabocha squash isn’t the best idea, as it will add moisture from being frozen that will thin out your soup.

Also, when blending your soup, I 1000% recommend an immersion blender, as it is SO much easier than transferring to a blender. A cheap one works just fine – I have this one and love it.

Have you made this? Let me know what you think or any questions you have in the comments below!


RECIPE (Serves 4)

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 medium kabocha squash, peeled and cubed
  • 2 large yellow potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1/4 yellow onion, cut into slivers
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. coriander
  • 1 tsp. thyme
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper

DIRECTIONS:

Heat a pot over medium-high heat, and add olive oil. Once the oil is heated, add onion slices and saute until the onions are translucent (about 3-5 mins). Add the cubed squash, potatoes, broth, and salt and pepper. Bring the contents of the pot to a boil. Once there, cover, and turn your heat down to low to simmer. Simmer for about 20 minutes, until both the squash and potato cubes are fork-tender. Add your coriander and thyme. Now, you will blend the soup either in batches using a blender, or in the pot using an immersion blender. Blend until smooth. Let cool, and enjoy!