Turns out stuffed summer squash is my favorite way to eat this abundant garden vegetable. Italian sausage stuffed summer squash is super easy to make and is hearty enough to serve for dinner.
Savor the Summer Squash- Like zucchini, summer squash is really easy to grow. I love checking the garden every morning to see if I have a new squash. If you're not a gardener, these gens are easy to find at the grocery store or even better the local farmer's market.
Summer brings an abundance of delicious and colorful squash varieties, including yellow squash and zucchini.
These versatile vegetables belong to the summer squash family and offer a range of culinary possibilities. Yellow squash has a tender texture and mild sweetness, while zucchini has a subtle flavor and a green hue. Both are great for this recipe.
How to make stuffed yellow squash:
Start by cooking the sausage in a nonstick frying pan. Cut the casings off two links of Italian sausage and use your fingers or a spatula to break them up into small crumbles in the frying pan.
Sauté on medium heat until they are lightly browned about 6 to 7 minutes. Remove the sausage from the frying pan and place it on a paper towel-lined plate.
At this point preheat the oven to 350.
Next, sauté the finely chopped onions, crushed garlic, and diced bell pepper in the drippings from the sausage and a pinch of salt. Lower the heat to a low medium and cook until the onions are translucent and the peppers have softened about 5 to 6 minutes.
Next, add the oregano, cumin, and red pepper flakes to the pan and mix thoroughly with the onions and peppers. Sauté for two minutes to bring out the flavors of the spices.
Place the sausage, peppers, and onions mixture into a medium size bowl. Mix in the breadcrumbs, shredded cheese, parmesan cheese, and egg, and set the mixture aside.
Line a cookie sheet or baking dish with tinfoil or parchment paper for easier cleanup.
Cut the squash down the middle lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out the seedy interior of the squash and discard. Place the squash cut side up on the cookie sheet.
Next, scoop the sausage mixture into the wells of the squash boats. You could use two spoons to do this, but the ceramic artist in me thinks it’s just easier to get your hands dirty.
How long does it take to cook stuffed yellow squash? Approximately 40 to 60 minutes. It depends on the size of the squash. After 40 minutes, take a fork and pierce the outside of the squash flesh to check the texture.
You want it to be soft and easy to cut through, but not mushy. If you are like me and you end up with completely different-sized squashes, I end up pulling out the smaller ones earlier while I let the larger ones continue cooking.
Yes! I was surprised how well summer squash held up to freezing. Assemble the squash as described but just don’t cook it. Store it in a plastic bag or airtight container and carefully place it in the freezer making sure the squash is level until completely frozen.
Serving tins work great for this they come with tops and the squash can be thawed and cooked right in the tin. When you’re ready to serve, the easiest thing to do is pull the squash out of the freezer the day before so it can thaw in the refrigerator.
But if you decide to pull it out of the freezer last minute put the container you froze the squash into a slightly warm water bath. You don’t want the squash directly in the water just the container storing the squash.
If you have extra filling you are in luck. This filling is great in so many veggies. Take a look in your refrigerator...do you have mushrooms, bell pepper, jalapeno peppers, or a tomato?
Hollow out the available veggie and bake with the squash. Obviously, if it is a small or less dense vegetable it will cook quicker- and you get a tasty appetizer.
I have enjoyed these up to a week later. Just make sure it’s in a tightly sealed plastic bag or Tupperware.
No, you want the skins to help the boats hold their shape and keep moisture in.
These stuffed veggies are delicious as a side with grilled chicken or shrimp and they’re hearty enough to stand as the centerpiece of the meal. You can serve it over a green salad for a veggie-packed meal or they are delicious over a bit of pasta with tomato sauce.
I love having these in the refrigerator for quick lunches when I just zap them in the microwave and eat them on their own.
Tip, Tricks, and Alterations
Size- In the recipe card, I suggest a moderately sized (5 to 6 inches long) summer squash. But summer squash comes in all shapes and sizes, so don’t worry about finding the right-sized summer squash.
If you end up with a summer squash the size of a baseball bat don’t worry about it just use all of the fillings for the one enormous vegetable.
Ground beef or Bacon- you can substitute the sausage for ground beef or bacon.
Zucchini boats- if you don't have summer squash or just prefer zucchini the recipe works great with both squash. I also love making a mixture of both zucchini and summer squash. It makes for an impressive and very festive summer dish.
Vegetarian Version- if you're looking for a light and vegetarian version try this black bean stuffed squash.
A note about the cheese:
You want to use both Parmesan cheese and some kind of shredded cheese. I usually have both a nice brick of Parmesan Reggiano and the cheap crumbled cheese in the refrigerator.
For this recipe, I find that the crumbled pram works just fine to add that salty nutty flavor, so I save the nice parm for other dishes.
I have used both shredded low-moisture mozzarella and cheddar Colby Jack (“Mexican cheese mix”) shredded cheese.
They’re both good and I actually like the Mexican cheese mix the best, but don’t be afraid to experiment and just use what’s in your house.
More Stuffed Vegetables:
If you enjoyed a recipe for Italian Sausage Stuffed Summer Squash, there are many other similar dishes that you might also like. For example, lentil stuffed peppers are a vegetarian option that provides a similar texture and flavor profile. Polenta stuffed peppers offer a different twist, with a creamy and satisfying polenta filling.
If you’re looking for a southwestern flair, you might enjoy trying stuffed summer squash with a spicy black bean filling, or stuffed tomatoes with a similar flavor profile.
For a heartier meal-Italian sausage stuffed portabella, mushrooms are a delicious option. Each of these recipes provides a unique twist on the classic stuffed pepper, and there’s something for every taste preference. For more check my full list of Italian Summer Recipes.
If you’ve tried this Sausage Stuffed Summer Squash recipe or any other recipe on BalancingBowls, please let me know how it turned out in the comments below! You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest to see more tasty meals and anything else I’m up to.
Italian Sausage Stuffed Summer Squash
- 4 squash halves
- 1 diced onion
- 1 red bell pepper diced
- 4 cloves garlic crushed
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 egg
- 2 links of Italian sausage hot or sweet
- ½ cup panko bread crumbs
- ½ C parmesan cheese
- ½ C shredding cheese Mexican mix or low monster mozzarella
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- garnish with fresh basil or fresh parsley
- Start by cooking the sausage in a nonstick frying pan. Sauté on medium heat until they are lightly browned about 6 to 7 minutes. Remove the sausage from the frying pan and place on a paper towel lined plate.
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- Sauté the finely chopped onions, crushed garlic and diced bell pepper in the drippings from the sausage. Cook until the onions are translucent and the peppers have softened about 5 to 6 minutes.
- Next, add the oregano, cumin, and red pepper flakes to the pan and mix thoroughly with the onions and peppers. Sauté for two minutes to bring out the flavors of the spices.
- Place the sausage, peppers and onions mixture into a medium size bowl. Mix in the breadcrumbs, shredded cheese, parmesan cheese and egg and set the mixture aside.
- Line a cookie sheet with tinfoil or parchment paper for easier cleanup.
- Cut the squash down the middle lengthwise. Using a spoon to scoop out the seedy interior of the squash and discard. Place the squash cut side up on the cookie sheet.
- Scoop the sausage mixture in to the wells of the squash.
- Bake for approximately 40 to 60 minutes. It depends on the size of the squash.