This is a great fall recipe: really easy to make, pretty fast, leaves good leftovers, and takes advantage of awesome fall produce. Another reason I like this recipe is that the sweetness in the squash can give you a bit of a "sweet fix" while still being slow-carb friendly. Note that if you're being hardcore slow-carb, you should substitute cooked chicken or pork for the chicken apple sausage; personally, I didn't find any weight gain issues with using the sausage.
- acorn squash - 1 whole
- chicken apple sausage - 4 sausages, chopped (be sure to get a brand that doesn't have added sugar in the ingredients)
- red lentils - 1 1/2 cups
- yellow onion - 1 medium-sized, chopped
- garlic - 3 cloves, minced
- chicken broth - 5 cups (you may not need it all)
- olive oil - 2 tbsp.
- sage - 2 tsp, dried powder
- salt - to taste
Cut acorn squash into 1-inch thick rings and remove the seeds and strings from the center. Put the strips on a microwaveable plate in a single layer (I had to do two batches for my squash) and microwave them for 5 minutes. Flip them and microwave for another 2 minutes. They should be completely soft. Set aside to cool. Repeat as many times as needed to cook the entire squash.
Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add onion and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add lentils and cook, stirring frequently for about 2 minutes. Add enough chicken stock so that it fills the whole bottom of the pan and the lentils "float" slightly in it (about 1 cup). Cook, stirring occasionally, until the broth is completely absorbed by the lentils. Repeat, adding enough broth to fill up the lentils and cook, stirring occasionally, until absorbed.
Now add the squash. Stir and mash the squash until it is incorporated into the lentils. Add the sage and stir until incorporated. Add the sausage and stir until well-mixed.
Now go through the process of adding broth a cup or so at a time and letting it get absorbed by the lentils until the lentils achieve a consistency you like (just taste the lentils each time after the broth is absorbed). Personally, I like them with only a slight amount of bite to them, so I ended up adding about three more cups worth of broth. Once you have the right texture, season to taste with salt and serve!
Photo credit: Whitney