This red kuri squash recipe brings the best the season has to offer to your plate. Red kuri squash is roasted until golden and caramelized then stuffed with a sausage, mushroom and apple filling that boasts big fall flavors in every bite.
In recent years, I’ve made it a point to try a new variety of winter squash each season.
You’d think I’d run out of options relatively quick but it seems like every year more and more varieties are becoming commonplace.
And, let’s not forget the insanely delicious roasted buttercup squash also from the same year.
This year, I chose red kuri squash for my yearly experiment. It’s a fun pumpkin look-alike winter squash and I was curious how it’d fare when stuffed with a quintessential fall filling and roasted to golden perfection.
Spoiler alert – it’s unsurprisingly delicious and if you’re looking for the perfect fall recipe, you really need not look any further.
WHAT IS RED KURI SQUASH?
Red kuri squash is a small to medium sized winter squash with a red-orange colored skin.
It’s mostly round in shape and somewhat similar to a pumpkin, although the squash can sometimes be a little more tear-dropped or domed than pumpkins often are. Mine happened to be quite squat however. The inside flesh is a bright yellow-orange.
The squash is often grown in Japan and also referred to as Hokkaido pumpkin or onion squash.
WHAT DOES RED KURI SQUASH TASTE LIKE?
I was curious on what to expect with this squash as far as flavor goes. My guess was a nuttier and deeper flavor than pumpkin and that’s pretty much exactly how I’d explain it.
The bright yellow-orange flesh roasts to more of an orange hue and the savory flavor is highlighted with a hint of sweet buttery flavor.
On a spectrum of winter squash depth of flavor, red kuri squash would fall just shy of the middle for me leaning more towards pumpkin and acorn squash than something with a stronger flavor like butternut, koginut or honeynut squash.
I like it but I will say that this wouldn’t really be my preference for a squash I’d choose to eat alone. The savory sweet fall stuffing of this red kuri squash recipe definitely elevates and complements the flavor of the squash for a more well-rounded meal.
IS THE SKIN EDIBLE?
I find this to be one of the most important questions when it comes to picking a winter squash and deciding what kind of recipe to make with it.
The good news is the skin of red kuri squash is totally edible!
While the red-orange exterior is somewhat hard when uncooked, once cooked, it softens significantly and can easily be eaten along with the rest of the squash.
STUFFED RED KURI SQUASH INGREDIENTS
For the simple stuffed squash recipe, you’ll need the following:
- red kuri squash
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- ground pork sausage
- shiitake mushrooms
- black rice (or any other rice variety/grain)
- dried rosemary
Note that you can make this recipe with any winter squash you’d like to stuff. If you don’t have red kuri on hand, feel free to swap in your favorite.
HOW TO MAKE THIS RED KURI SQUASH RECIPE
Preheat the oven to 375°F.
Cut the squash into wedges. You can half the squash, quarter it or slice into 6ths or 8ths depending on the size and how you want to serve this recipe.
Remove the seeds (save them for roasting!) and place the squash on a baking sheet.
Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 40-50 minutes, flipping each piece halfway through. The squash should be golden brown on all sides and fork tender when done.
Meanwhile, make the stuffing by heating olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
Add the sausage and cook until browned, breaking into small pieces with a spatula.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the chopped onion, celery, mushrooms and rosemary. Stir to combine and cook until the vegetables have softened.
Next, add the apples, pecans and raisins to the skillet. Season to taste with salt and pepper and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
Turn off the heat and stir in the cooked black rice to the mixture.
Once the squash is roasted, remove from the oven and transfer a wedge or two to a serving plate. Spoon the stuffing over top and serve. Garnish with microgreens if desired.
I had a lot of fun playing around with this new to me squash this season.
Much like butternut in fact, I think this squash would also make an excellent soup.
Last year, I made this buttercup squash soup drawing on some inspiration from Thai cuisine and I think that approach would work really well with this squash too.
And if nothing else, the stuffing from this recipe is outrageous. It’s everything you want in a savory fall meal. The sweetness from the apples and raisins complements the savory salty sausage so well.
In fact, the stuffing could easily stand alone and grace a Thanksgiving table with its presence. If you like stuffing without bread (for those looking to do lower-carb, etc.) this is a great option!
MORE STUFFED SQUASH RECIPES TO TRY:
Stuffed Red Kuri Squash
- 1 red kuri squash, seeded and cut into quarters or eighths depending on squash size
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- salt & pepper
- 1 pound ground/bulk sausage
- 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
- 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, or 2 sprigs fresh
- 1 apple, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup pecans, roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons raisins
- 1 cup cooked black rice, or other variety rice
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Place the squash pieces onto a large baking sheet, drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 40-50 minutes, flipping each piece halfway through. Squash should be golden brown on all sides and fork tender when done.
- Meanwhile, make the filling by heating the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet.
- Add the sausage and cook until browned, breaking up with a spatula into small pieces.
- Add the onions, celery, mushrooms and rosemary. Stir to combine and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the apples, pecans and raisins. Stir and cook an additional 1-2 minutes.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper then turn off the heat.
- Add the cooked rice to the skillet and toss to combine.
- Once the squash is done roasting, remove from the oven and transfer 1-2 pieces to a plate. Spoon the prepared stuffing on top of the squash and serve.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Gina Matsoukas is an AP syndicated writer. She is the founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.