Butternut Squash Grits with Sausage and Kale is the perfect dish to warm you on a chilly night.
The ingredients for Butternut Squash Grits with Sausage and Kale are simple, and together, they deliver a delicious meal. I would definitely categorize this as comfort food.
I love combining sausage and kale in soups and pasta, and it was definitely a great idea to add butternut squash to the mix. This grits dish is a new fall favorite of mine.
We had some cool temps in Phoenix recently. It is fall, after all, so that might not seem like a big to you, but after a looooong Phoenix summer (that still isn’t over), those moments when you can step outside without melting are truly something to revel in.
We’ve got a little while to go until it’s legitimately cool here, but the weather inspires your cooking no matter where you are, right?
My husband and I were working a little in reverse by trying to will the weather to chill with our cooking.
Originally, my husband wanted to make a polenta dish, which you could easily use in this recipe. But after searching through our cupboards twice, there was no polenta to be found.
That reminds me: he made a dish last year that I added to the site, and it is divine: Red Wine Braised Short Ribs with Polenta. It’s a must-make dish for sure!
And there’s this grits dish, Individual Cheesy Shrimp and Grits, that has been a readers’ favorite for a while. I’m a big fan, too! It makes a fab appetizer.
It was a bit strange not to have polenta in the house because, well, we always have polenta. So, onward to grits.
Polenta and grits are similar enough that you could use either in this recipe (at least I say so). Each is made with different types of corn (and there’s a difference in how the corn is prepared), and each has a slightly different texture, too. I grew up eating polenta (Italian family). My husband grew up eating grits (Southern family).
So with a cupboard bare of polenta, Butternut Squash Grits with Sausage and Kale was born. It is definitely a hearty dish, and definitely one to warm you up on a chilly night. I hope you enjoy its wonderful flavors.
Patricia Conte/Grab a Plate
Serves Serves 6-8
- 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 1/2 pound Italian sausage
- 1 large bunch kale, leaves removed from stems and cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 cup uncooked grits or polenta
- 3 cups water
- 4 garlic cloves, 3 smashed, 1 minced
- 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for garnish
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 4 fresh sage leaves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, plus extra for garnish
- 1-1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil into a baking dish. Add the butternut squash cubes and the 3 smashed garlic cloves. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, and the sage. Toss to combine.
- Bake for about 30 minutes until the butternut squash is soft.
- When finished cooking, divide the mixture it in half.
- Blend half (about 1 cup), along with 3 tablespoons water, until smooth.
- Set aside with the reserved butternut squash cubes.
- As the butternut squash is cooking, bring the 3 cups water to boil in a large pan.
- Add the grits, stirring. When it boils, stir the mixture and reduce the heat to low. Add the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and stir occasionally, until cooked according to the package directions (mine took about 20 minutes).
- Once cooked, add the blended butternut squash, along with the Parmesan cheese and 1 tablespoon butter to the grits. Stir until incorporated.
- Reduce the heat to the lowest setting to keep the mixture warm.
- Brown the sausage in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Remove from the skillet when cooked through. Reduce the heat to medium. Add 1/2 tablespoon oil to the skillet. When hot, add the 1 clove minced garlic, and kale to the skillet along with 2-3 tablespoons water, and the black pepper. Stir occasionally.
- After several minutes of cooking and the kale begins to wilt, add the sausage back to the mixture and stir to combine. Cook for another few minutes until the mixture is warmed through.
- Transfer the grits to individual serving bowls and top with the sausage and kale mixture, along with several cubes of the reserved butternut squash.
- Garnish with a bit of the crushed red pepper flakes and Parmesan cheese.
- Serve warm.