Fall Sheet Pan with Butternut Squash, Chicken Sausage, and Red Onion
Somebody sent me an amazing New Yorker cartoon last weekend entitled “Drunk Bath Season” that perfectly encapsulates why I love fall/winter so much. (It is now also a prime contender for the title of my future memoirs, although I’m rather attached to “I Still Cry All The Time.”)
But since one cannot spend her days exclusively cocktailing in the bath, it is important to celebrate the many other things I love about the colder months. Namely, knitwear, Elf, and my fall sheet pan #sassydesklunch.
As soon as it’s cool enough to turn on my oven without AC, I welcome this simple sheet pan medley of roasted butternut squash, chicken sausage, and red onion back into the sassy desk lunch rotation with extreme enthusiasm. I’ve been making this meal for as long as I can remember, and I’m not remotely ashamed to admit that I crush it at least three times a week from September through March. It’s ridiculously easy, tastes bomb, and is a good mix of protein, satiating carbs, vitamins and minerals (especially that glow-boosting beta-carotene, which you know I love). Plus, it keeps well in the fridge and can be easily re-heated in the microwave or in a skillet, making it perfect for meal prep.
I whipped this up on Instastories about six weeks ago and have since received countless photos and messages from folks who’ve recreated it at home and are now die-hard pans of the “fall sheet pan.” I’m simultaneously thrilled and confused. Is this my most popular “recipe” of all time? Have I been trying too hard all these years??!
Anyhoo, I thought I’d share my favorite fall sheet pan “recipe” here for the non-Instagram peeps, as well as for those who prefer a written blueprint to a casual video tutorial (I get it).
In addition to its taste and convenience factor, the best part about the fall sheet pan is that it can be adapted in infinite awesome ways based on your personal tastes and what you have on hand. Feel free to use whatever winter squash you like here, or sub sweet potatoes if you prefer. Almost any chicken sausage will do, from sweet Italian to something with apples, it just depends on the vibe you’re going for. (When it comes to sausage brands, I’m partial to Bilinski’s, Applegate Organics, and Trader Joe’s Organic.) I keep the spices simple—salt, pepper, and a pinch of cinnamon to enhance the sweetness of the squash—so that I can serve the medley six sexy ways to Sunday, but feel free to get creative. A little paprika (sweet or smoked), chili powder, and or cumin is always fun. Sometimes I like to add a few sprigs of fresh rosemary to the pan, or throw in a diced apple. Like I said, the you do you possibilities are endless.
When it comes to serving, you can obviously eat the sausage, squash and onions on their own—they’re surprisingly satisfying—but I like to get a little more creative. I’m sure you’ll have ideas of your own, but I’ve taken the liberty of listing a few of my favorite ways to dress up this medley just in case you need extra inspiration.
Fall Sheet Pan Serving Ideas
- Serve it over a base of fresh or sautéed greens and/or your favorite whole grain. (I’m partial to quinoa, brown rice and farro.) Or try it over cauliflower rice.
- Put an egg on it! I typically go for fried, but poached, soft-boiled, or scrambled are equally delightful.
- Get a responsible amount of cheese involved. Goat cheese is particularly good.
- Add a sprinkling of toasted almonds or walnuts.
- Bring on the fresh herbs (I love me some chives, parsley, and cilantro) and scallions.
- Drizzle it with hot sauce.
- Add it to your avocado toast.
- Try the medley in a quesadilla or grilled cheese. It’s awesome with creamy Fontina or smoked Gouda.
- Use the medley as a filling for a frittata or omelet, or add it to a scramble.
- Stuff it into a pita with a little hummus and arugula.
- Use it as a topping for flatbread or homemade pizza.
- Turn it into a pasta dish with some pesto.
I hope this fall sheet pan makes your colder months a little cozier, friends. For the record, it’s quite delightful with a glass of red in the tub.
Fall Sheet Pan with Butternut Squash, Chicken Sausage, and Red Onion Serves 2-3
4 cups cubed butternut squash (aim for ¾-inch cubes)
3 pre-cooked chicken sausage links, sliced into ½-inch rounds
1 medium red onion, cut into a large dice
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
-Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper for easy cleanup. (You can also use aluminum foil, but make sure to spray it with cooking spray first. A silicone baking sheet is great as well.)
-Add the squash, sausage, and onion to the prepared sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with a good pinch of salt, black pepper, and cinnamon (if using), and toss to coat.
-Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, stirring once halfway through the cooking time, until the squash and onions are tender and the sausage is browned. (Keep an eye on them during the last 10 minutes to make sure things aren’t burning.)
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