Stuffed Zucchini + Spaghetti Squash with Chicken Sausage
I always suspected I may one day get paid in sausages to write about sausages. My day has finally come. For the next month I'm partnering with al fresco gourmet to bring you hassle free healthy meals that are guaranteed to get you through the holidays. Their chicken sausage is one of my top picks under 6 - which means it's a packaged item I approve of bringing into your home. Why do I think these sausages are a good bet from a health standpoint? Most al fresco products (at least the chicken sausages, breakfast links and patties) contain less than 6 ingredients (all of which I can pronounce), so I feel good about cooking with them and recommending them to clients.
Here in NY we're finally getting a little bit of fall, well, more like winter today. And what says hearty eats more than a BIG STUFFED vegetable. Ok, maybe a stew or pot of soup - but this light bite is warming (get that oven pumping) and also made in under 30 minutes with less than 6 ingredients. Perfect for a weeknight and can easily be adapted if you're gluten or dairy free.
Typically most stuffings are made with sausage that you remove from the casing or with chopped meat, so in order to get that same texture from the al fresco roasted garlic chicken sausage (since you cannot remove these from their casing and get that same crumbled sausage effect) I placed all 4 sausages in the food processor along with my other ingredients, allowing for a crumbly veggie concoction to unfold. Combined with greens and the inside of the cored zucchini (no waste in my meals), the mixture is ready for heat and a few more pops of flavor.
What I love most about using these sausages as a base? No need for additional seasoning, salt, spices or fuss. From the food processor to a pan and into the oven. Done and done.
Feel good about feeding yourself and your family knowing that making a healthy meal can be fun and fuss free. Turn up your music, whip out some appliances and let the cooking begin!
- 3 zucchinis, sliced in half, insides removed and put aside in a bowl
- 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 package of al fresco gourmet Roasted Garlic Chicken Sausage, each sausage cut into pieces
- 1 c. greens *I used pre-cut, pre-washed collard ribbons, but you can use kale, spinach or swiss chard
- 1 T. tomato paste
- 1/4 c. bread crumbs
- 1/4 c. grated pecorino cheese
- Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees
- Prep food processor with steel blade
- Place sausage pieces in food processor with insides of zucchini and greens, processing until combined
- Add 2 T. of extra virgin olive oil to a skillet along with the above mixture and cook for 5-7 minutes over a medium flame
- Add tomato paste and mix until combined
- Remove from heat, adding bread crumbs and pecorino, mixing until combined
- Using a tablespoon, place stuffing into zucchini cavities until all of the mixture has been used *I had extra mixture and a roasted spaghetti squash on hand so I simply filled that up and popped everything in the oven
- Sprinkle with a little extra breadcrumb for texture and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes
- NOM and enjoy!
Swaps + Notes
- Wanna go Gluten Free? Sub breadcrumbs with quinoa, couscous, brown rice. Why do you need a starch here? While adding the inside of the zucchini makes for a soft stuffing with no waste, it also creates a lotta moisture. Breadcrumbs or any of the above starches will absorb some of that water without making the stuffing too heavy.
- Are you dairy free? You wont even miss the cheese here as the sausage packs so much flavor. And if you still wanna add a nutty bite, opt for nutritional yeast.
- Need another flavor bang? Serve with lemon zest and a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil for a slick citrus finish!