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This Vegan Sausage Stuffed Butternut Squash is hearty and creamy and will keep you satiated for hours, but it’s still wholesome and won’t weigh you down. It features roasted butternut squash stuffed with an easy and delicious vegan “sausage” along with nutrient-packed quinoa and kale, all drizzled in a finger-lickin-good creamy garlic sauce.
Who should make this recipe?
Anyone who’s interested in eating more plant-based foods but fears that vegan meals aren’t hearty enough.
Anyone, vegan or not, who’s tired of eating the same boring meals every week.
Vegans whose family members think that vegan food is bland, boring, or too insubstantial
Anyone who’s veg-curious.
Anyone, vegan or not, who loves fall comfort food!
This recipe is made with some of my favorite wholesome plant-based ingredients–butternut squash, kale, quinoa–and gets an indulgent helping hand from store-bought vegan meatballs (that get turned into vegan sausage!) and a creamy garlic sauce. And you can find it all at your local ALDI grocery store at incredibly affordable prices!
Why you’ll love this Vegan Sausage Stuffed Butternut Squash
10 main ingredients. Okay, not counting salt and pepper. But yeah, just 10 main ingredients!
Crowd pleasing and impressive. Despite containing just 10 ingredients, this recipe is fancy enough to serve at a dinner party and perfect for all your holiday entertaining needs.
Budget-friendly. With just 10 main ingredients from your local ALDI store, this recipe is easy on the wallet (and the eyes!).
Fall comfort food. This stuffed squash recipe is hearty and meaty, thanks to the vegan meatballs, (but it’s not in-your-face meaty) and rich and creamy thanks to the garlic sauce. Hello, comfort food weather!
Popular with vegetable skeptics. As you might know, my partner Max is skeptical of many vegetables (including kale). But then he tasted this stuffed squash, he asked when I was going to make it next! So, if you have some veggie-skeptics in your life, here’s a great way to get them to eat more nutrient-rich winter squash and leafy greens.
Butternut Squash. Butternut squash is one of my favorite cold weather vegetables. It’s earthy yet slightly sweet, and once it’s roasted, it releases its natural sugars and the texture becomes velvety. Plus, it’s an amazing source of Vitamin A and fiber, as well as Vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium.
For this recipe, I recommend using medium-sized squash that weigh between 2 and 2 ¾ pounds.
Avocado Oil. We’re roasting at a relatively high temperature (the squash gets roasted at 425°F), I prefer to use a high-heat cooking oil, such as avocado oil. The Simply Nature 100% Pure Avocado Oil from ALDI contains one ingredient (100% pure avocado oil), is affordable, and is Non-GMO Project verified.
Vegan Meatballs. To bring some heartiness to this dish, I wanted to stuff some sort of vegan sausage in the butternut squash. And to keep things easy and affordable, I used the Earth Grown Classic Vegan Meatless Meatballs from ALDI. But instead of eating them like meatballs, I crumbled them into small pieces and then pan-fried them in a bit of oil until it looked (and tasted) like vegan ground sausage!
Both Max and I can be wary of freezer-section vegan meat replacements, but we were shocked at how delicious these were. They’re meaty and packed with garlicky flavor, and work incredibly well as “sausage.” Plus, one serving packs in 14 grams of plant protein.
Quinoa. In addition to the vegan “sausage,” the squash gets stuffed with cooked quinoa.
While quinoa might have only hit our grocery shelves in the last 15 years, it’s been a staple in the Andean cultures of Peru, Chile, and Bolivia for thousands of years. In the extremely high altitude climates of these areas, quinoa was one of the few crops that could survive and became an integral part of the regional culinary culture.
And its recent popularity here is understandable. It’s a naturally gluten-free ancient grain and an excellent plant-based source of protein and fiber, along with vitamins, minerals, and anti-inflammatory flavonoids.
Quinoa is kind of a sponge and easily absorbs the flavors of other ingredients, so I prefer to cook my quinoa in vegetable broth for extra flavor, but you can use water if you prefer.
Kale. If you’ve been following along for a while, you know I’m a big fan of kale. Leafy greens are packed with vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber, and kale just happens to be my favorite variety of leafy green so I love incorporating into recipes, especially hearty comfort foods that could use a little balance.
Kale is one of the vegetables I prioritize buying organic because it’s one of the crops that gets hit the hardest by pesticides. And at ALDI, buying organic vegetables is very affordable so you can have your cake (organic kale) and eat it too!
Creamy Garlic Sauce. This sauce is surprisingly easy to make given how tasty it is! It’s made with sautéed onions, garlic, flour, and creamy plant-based milk and then blended until smooth.
How to Make Vegan Sausage Stuffed Butternut Squash
First, slice your butternut squash in half, lengthwise, using a sharp knife. The butternut is a tricky squash to crack, so I usually microwave the whole squash for a minute or two to make it easier to slice.
Scoop out the seeds and gunk, then transfer the squash halves to a large baking sheet, cut side up. Brush each squash half with the avocado oil, then season with salt and pepper.
Roast the squash at 425°F for 45-50 minutes until fork tender. When cool enough to handle, you can cut crosshatch marks into the squash. This makes it easier to scoop out pieces of squash, but it’s not essential.
Run a spoon from the base of the squash through the neck to pop out most of the squash flesh from each half, taking care to not break through the skin and leaving a border around the sides and bottom.
Note: you’ll need to reserve the squash flesh from four of the squash halves; you can use the remaining squash flesh from the other two halves for another use.
While the squash is roasting, prepare all the filling ingredients and the creamy garlic sauce.
For the vegan “sausage,” transfer the Classic Meatless Meatballs to a shallow pan. Microwave for 1 minute, then test if they have thawed out. If not, microwave them for 30 seconds. It’s okay if the meatballs are still somewhat cold – they just need to be pliable enough to break up with your hands.
Using your hands, break up the meatballs into small chunks. Don’t worry about getting them too small, as you can break them up more during cooking.
Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat with a bit of the avocado oil. Add the meatball chunks and break up with a wooden spoon. Cook until browned and starting to crisp up, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to the shallow pan used to microwave the meatballs.
For the quinoa, bring the vegetable broth to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the quinoa, reduce heat, cover and maintain a simmer for 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit covered for 15 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
For the kale, heat a tiny bit of the avocado oil in the same frying pan used to cook the sausage. Add the chopped kale and cook until wilted, 3 to 5 minutes.
For the creamy garlic sauce, heat up 3 tablespoons of avocado oil or extra virgin olive oil in the same frying pan over medium heat. Once hot, add the diced onions and sauté until softened and starting to brown, 6 to 7 minutes. Then add the minced garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
Lower the heat to medium-low, add the flour, and stir with a wooden spoon to incorporate. Gradually whisk in the plant-based milk, whisking after each addition. Cook for 2 minutes, until it has thickened up.Transfer the sauce to a blender and season with salt and pepper. Blend until completely smooth and creamy.
Mix the cooked quinoa and kale into the cooked sausage, toss to combine. Fold in the reserved squash flesh from the 4 squash halves and season with a bit of salt and pepper
Stuff the sausage-kale-quinoa filling into each of the 6 hollowed out squash halves. Transfer to the baking sheet used to roast the squash.
Drizzle the creamy garlic sauce on top of the stuffed squash.
Return the pan to the oven and bake at 375° for 10 minutes, or until hot.
Tips for making Vegan Sausage Stuffed Butternut Squash
When you scoop the flesh out of the roasted butternut squash, be gentle so that you don’t scoop too deeply or forcefully, or you’ll cut through the skin of the flesh.
If you want to scale this recipe down a bit, I recommend using just 2 butternut squash (or 4 squash halves) and storing any leftover filling in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days (it makes a good lunch or side dish).
In terms of maximizing efficiency and time when making this dish, you have two options.
Option 1: Make some of the components ahead of time. You can make the creamy garlic sauce and assemble the sausage-kale-quinoa filling ahead of time. Then, on the day of serving, roast your butternut squash halves and then assemble the stuffed squash halves and return them to the oven to finish.
Option 2: Make everything on the day off. Start by pre-baking the butternut squash. As soon as you put them in the oven, start on the filling: cook the quinoa, make the “sausage,” cook the kale, and finally make the creamy garlic sauce. By the time the squash is done baking and cool enough to handle, all the components should be ready.
That’s all you need to know about making this recipe. Be sure to visit your local ALDI to stock up on all these delicious and wholesome vegan ingredients and get to cooking! If you try the recipe, drop me a note with your feedback and tag me with your remakes on Instagram!
- 3 medium butternut squash (2 to 2 3/4 pounds each)
- Kosher salt or sea salt to taste
- Black pepper to taste
- Simply Nature 100% Pure Avocado Oil
- 1 (16-ounce) package Earth Grown Classic Meatless Meatballs
- 2/3 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1 ⅓ cups vegetable broth, or water
- 10 cups Simply Nature Organic Chopped Kale
Creamy Garlic Sauce
- 3 tablespoons Simply Nature 100% Pure Avocado Oil, or extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 3-5 sage leaves, finely chopped (optional, for a subtle woodsy fall flavor)
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 14 ounces of creamy plant-based milk (such as unsweetened oat milk or carton coconut milk, or canned “lite” coconut milk)
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Black pepper to taste
- Roast the butternut squash in the oven. Preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C). Slice each butternut squash in half and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Place each squash half, cut side up, on a large baking sheet (you may need 2 baking sheets) and rub each with a bit of the avocado oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 40-50 minutes, or until the flesh is fork tender and lightly browned.
- While the squash is roasting, make the filling components.
- Make the “sausage.” Place the meatballs in a shallow microwave-safe dish and heat in the microwave for 1 minute to thaw. If not thawed yet, heat for another 30 seconds. Once cool enough to touch, use your hands to break up the meatballs into small chunks. Heat a large frying pan over medium-high heat with a few swirls of the avocado oil. Add the meatball chunks, breaking them up further with a wooden spoon, and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the mixture starts to crisp up and resembles sausage. Transfer the sausage to the shallow dish just used, or a large bowl.1. Note: if you don’t have a very large skillet, I recommend browning the meatball mixture in two batches for the best texture and even browning.
- Cook the kale. Heat a teaspoon or two of avocado oil in the same frying pan over medium heat. Add the chopped kale and cook until wilted, 3-5 minutes. Sprinkle with just a tiny bit of salt and pepper, stir to combine, and transfer to the dish with the sausage.
- Cook the quinoa. Rinse the quinoa under cold water, if desired (this helps remove any bitter taste some people experience). Add the vegetable broth (or water) to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the quinoa and return to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and maintain a simmer for 12 minutes, until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Take the pan off the heat and keep the pan covered for 15 minutes. Then fluff with a fork, and transfer to the dish with the sausage and kale.
- Make the Creamy Garlic Sauce. Heat the same large frying pan over medium heat with the 3 tablespoons of oil. Once the oil is hot, add the diced onion. Cook for 6 to 7 minutes, until the onion is softened and lightly browned. Then add the garlic and sage (if using), and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until the garlic is golden.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low, then add the flour, stirring constantly for a minute until it’s well incorporated. Gradually pour in the plant milk in stages, whisking after each addition to prevent clumps, then cook for 2 minutes until the sauce has thickened.
- Transfer the creamy garlic sauce to a blender and add the 1 teaspoon kosher salt and black pepper to taste. Blend until the sauce is smooth and creamy. Taste the sauce for seasonings, adding more salt or pepper as desired.
- Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F (190°C) (or turn off until ready to assemble the stuffed squash).
- When the roasted squash is cool enough to handle, use a large spoon to scoop out the flesh from each squash halve, leaving a ½ to ¾-inch -thick border around the sides and bottom.1. Optional: For a nicer presentation, score the flesh in a crosshatch pattern, but be careful to not cut through the skin. Carefully run a spoon from the base of the squash through the neck to pop out the squash cubes, taking care to not break through the skin.
- Add the squash flesh from four halves to the sausage-kale-quinoa filling. Sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper, and mix to incorporate. Reserve the squash from the other two halves for another use (soups, stews, risottos, etc.).
- Stuff the filling into the six scooped out squash halves. Pour the creamy garlic sauce on top. Return the squash to the oven. Bake at 375°F (190°C) until hot, about 10 minutes. Serve warm.