This sausage stuffed spaghetti squash, with all the flavors of Thanksgiving stuffing, is a great way to use up those holiday leftovers.
Who's ready to #VegItUp?
That's right, I'm kicking off a new series on my blog and I promise it involves an easy adjustment in your daily diet. This isn't a a challenge per se or a 30-day change of living, though those are good things, too. Instead, it's a small shift in thinking, focusing on adding one extra serving of vegetables into our daily diets. One extra serving. That's it. (If you're just here for the sausage stuffed spaghetti squash recipe, just scroll to the bottom of this post.)
I'm the first to admit that I need to #VegItUp as much as anyone. There are days when I easily consume four to five servings of vegetables. Other days, five o'clock rolls around and I realize that the only veggies I consumed are the cucumbers on my sandwich, which often explains why I feel bloated, tired and downright crabby. Whether you're trying to lose weight, lower your cholesterol or just live a healthier life, increasing your vegetable intake can bring about a multitude of benefits.
Talking about the benefits of eating vegetables could easily turn into five or six blog posts, so let's briefly hit some of the main points. Not only are veggies low in calories and fat, but they are packed with all sorts of nutrients, such as fiber, folate, potassium, vitamin A and vitamin C. Decreases in blood pressure, cholesterol, risk of certain cancers and heart disease have all been linked to vegetable consumption. (Let me clarify that I'm not a registered dietitian or a doctor, so be sure to check before making changes to your diet.)
The most recent recommendations from the USDA states that an adult female and male should consume 2 ½ cups and 3 cups of vegetables each day, respectively. Of course, not all human bodies are the same, so be sure to look up recommendations for your age.
So, what does one serving of vegetables look like?
- ½ cup of raw or cooked vegetables or vegetable juice
- 1 cup of leafy raw vegetables
- For more details on specific vegetables, check out this chart (open up the What Counts as a Cup of Vegetables? tab).
Easy enough to add in just one more serving, right? A half cup of baby carrots, a side salad, a half cup of steam broccoli.
Each week, I'll be featuring a new #VegItUp recipe and/or some tips on working more vegetables into your day. Be sure to follow the hashtag on Instagram and Twitter, and I would love to see your veggie creations. Just use the #VegItUp hashtag and tag @cookincanuck in your posts and I'll find them.
Who's with me?
Let's take just a minute to talk about this sausage stuffed spaghetti squash recipe because it was born purely from a craving for my dad's Thanksgiving stuffing. Sage, thyme, marjoram, parsley, sausage (actually, that part if my addition) and green onions - but without the bread. I cooked the herbs and green onions in a little butter, but what's Thanksgiving without a little butter? If you prefer, substitute olive oil for the butter.
Either way, you'll kitchen will smell like Thanksgiving and you'll be treated to a healthy, delicious lunch or light dinner.
The sausage stuffed spaghetti squash is the perfect way to #VegItUp!
Sausage Stuffing Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Recipe
- 1 small spaghetti squash
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 sweet Italian chicken sausages raw
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter or substitute olive oil
- 2 green onions thinly sliced, green & white parts separated
- 3 tablespoons minced flat leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh sage
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh marjoram
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- ¼ + ⅛ teaspoon grated nutmeg
- salt and pepper to taste
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Using a large, sharp knife, pierce a spaghetti squash in several places. Place the spaghetti squash in a glass baking dish and cook in the microwave on HIGH for about 15 minutes, turning the squash halfway through cooking.
- Before handling let the squash stand for 10 minutes. Cut in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds and fibers.
- Using a fork, twist out strands of the spaghetti squash flesh and place in a large bowl. Toss with the olive oil. Let stand at room temperature. Save the shells of the squash for stuffing later.
- Preheat the broiler.
- Set a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Lightly coat with cooking spray. Squeeze the sausage out of the casings into the skillet. Cook the sausage, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until cooked through. Transfer the sausage to a bowl lined with paper towel.
- Turn the heat to medium. In the same skillet, melt the butter. Add the white and light green parts of the green onion. Cook until starting to soften, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the parsley, sage, marjoram, thyme and nutmeg, and cook for 1 minute.
- Transfer the sausage and parsley mixture to the bowl with the spaghetti squash. Toss to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Scoop the spaghetti squash mixture into the reserved shells and top each with 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese.
- Place the stuffed spaghetti squash onto a baking sheet and place under the broiler until the cheese is melted, 1 to 2 minutes.
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