These turkey sausage stuffed sweet potatoes are filled with hot Italian turkey sausage, lentils, Montmorency tart cherries and spinach. A wholesome way to welcome in the fall season.
One of my pet peeves is trivial conversations about the weather. You know, that awkward chit chat you make with people when you know them well enough to say hi but not well enough to talk about anything else more profound. So, there you are in the middle of the grocery store or at the doctor’s office (this happens to me every 4 weeks with the nurse who gives me my allergy shots) or, wherever else this unfortunate encounter takes place and you find yourself discussing stupid stuff like the precipitation (or lack thereof) outside. It’s just such a waste of breath, you know neither of you really truly care about the stupid weather and yet, there you both are discussing it for minutes on end.
*This recipe for Cherry Lentil Turkey Sausage Stuffed Sweet Potatoes is sponsored by the Cherry Marketing Institute.
I say this and yet that’s exactly what I’m about to do with these turkey sausage stuffed sweet potatoes.
Why? Well because it basically seems like I woke up one morning last week and all of a sudden the air was chilly and missing that pronounced summer humidity that suffocates you as you open the door to let the dog out. Like BAM – summer’s over, here comes fall.
And while I realize fall isn’t technically for a couple more weeks and I’m not over here throwing pumpkin recipes in your face yet, this recipe is definitively more fall themed than summer. From roasted sweet potatoes to hearty lentils and the cozy comfort that sausage brings to any dish, it’s a recipe to ease us into this transition period of cool mornings and nights but warm days.
Adding a sweet bite to an otherwise savory dish is one of my favorite ways to keep a recipe engaging. Dried Montmorency tart cherries bring a sweet and tart flair to this savory, salty stuffing mixture. There’s just enough in the recipe to get at least one piece with every forkful keeping your taste buds happy and interested.
Tart cherries do a lot more than that though. They happen to be a great addition to any heart-healthy diet as well. It’s believed the Montmorency tart cherries can provide a number of cardiovascular benefits due to the intensity of anthocyanins they contain. They may help lower levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, reduce inflammation and improve belly fat – all factors specifically linked to heart disease risk.
There are plenty of ways to incorporate these little fruits into your diet to reap the health benefits, like in this tart cherry glazed salmon or this cinnamon ginger kabocha squash soup with tart cherry drizzle, two other great dinner options but for these few ‘in between season’ weeks we have right now, these turkey sausage stuffed sweet potatoes are a pretty solid choice.
- 2 large sweet potatoes
- 1/2 cup green lentils
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large shallot, thinly sliced
- 8 ounces turkey sausage
- 2 cups packed baby spinach
- 1/4 cup dried Montmorency tart cherries, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400ºF, line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Clean potatoes well leaving skin on and poke holes all around the flesh with a sharp knife. Place potatoes on the baking sheet and roast for 50-55 minutes until flesh is completely softened and skin is starting to crisp up on the outside.
- Meanwhile, place lentils in a small sauce pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, stir then reduce to a medium-low simmer. Cook for about 20 minutes until softened. Drain and set aside.
- Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add shallots and cook for about 1 minute. Add turkey sausage, removing it from the casing and break down using a spatula so that it cooks in small crumbles.
- Once sausage is mostly cooked through, add spinach, stirring until wilted. Add the cooked lentils to the skillet along with the chopped dried Montmorency tart cherries. Stir until everything is well combined, season with salt and pepper to taste and remove from heat.
- Remove potatoes from the oven, let cool slightly then slice lengthwise down the middle. Spoon the turkey sausage mixture into each sweet potato. Divide into 4 servings and plate.
This stuffing mixture would work well in any squash too - acorn, butternut, spaghetti, etc.