This year I am having such a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit! Spending my first Christmas season in sunny Southern California has thrown my holiday cheer for a loop. It was 80 degrees out today, and for me, the holiday season has always come with fluffy snow, warming drinks, and cozy holiday sweaters. Three Christmas parties and a tree lighting this last weekend still wasn’t enough to shake me into the Christmas spirit.
I have been feverishly wrapping presents, devotedly playing holiday music, and frantically attending any gathering with the words “holiday” or “christmas” on the invitation all in an attempt to find my holiday cheer!
There is one exception… Even if it doesn’t look like Christmas where you live, that doesn’t mean it can taste like the holidays! I always love a good holiday dish. They are warming, hearty, and make even the sunniest days reminiscent of the holidays. One bite into this Acorn Squash with Sage Apple Stuffing and I was whisked away to a cabin in the snow, sitting in front of the fire, and feeling that magical Christmas spirit. Success at last.
This dish is filled with Christmas flavors. Sage, apples, and cranberries are a classic holiday flavor pairing. Combine that with perfectly cooked stuffing and tender acorn squash and you have the perfect holiday dish. It is easy enough to whip up for dinner during the week, but impressive enough to take to deserve a spot on your Christmas dinner table.
- 4 very small acorn squashes
- 2 slices gluten free bread
- 1/2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling
- 2 stalks of celery , dices
- 1/2 onion , diced
- 1/2 apple , diced
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth (more or less as needed)
- 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
- 1 tablespoon sage
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Pinch nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice the squash in half and line up on a baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the squash begins to soften.
Toast the slices of bread until they are lightly browned. Cut into cubes and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet. Add in the onion and celery and sauté until translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add in the apple and sauté for anther 5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and add in the remaining ingredients. Toss to combine. The bread should be moist, but without a lot of extra vegetable broth in the bottom of the bowl.
Once the squash are tender, remove them from the oven and fill each with a quarter of the stuffing and drizzle with olive oil. Return to the oven and bake for another 30-40 minutes or until the squash is very tender and the stuffing is beginning to brown. Serve.
To keep the recipe sugar-free, use cranberries sweetened with apple juice. They can be found at most health food stores.