Butternut Squash, Chicken Sausage, and Kale Quinoa Skillet

Butternut Squash Chicken Sausage and Kale Quinoa Skillet is a stunning autumn dinner with simple ingredients but BIG flavors

One of my favorite things about food blogging is when I come up with a recipe idea in my head and get to see it come to life in the kitchen.  While I don't always take the time to sit back and think "hey!  that's pretty cool that I made that!" I definitely did with this recipe.

This Butternut Squash, Chicken Sausage, and Kale Quinoa Skillet was one of those recipe ideas that I just wasn't quite sure it was going to work out.  It was either going to be 'pretty good' but not blog-worthy, or 'REALLY FREAKING GOOD.'  Lucky for all of us, it was the latter!

The thing about a dish like this is that the flavors are so simple and uncomplicated, but work together perfectly.  From the sweet butternut squash (which is also delicious in this Crunchy Honey Butternut Squash Casserole!) and dried cherries to the smoky chicken sausage and tangy goat cheese - every bite is pure heaven!  Of course I couldn't help myself and added some kale, too.  I just love the stuff and my garden is still producing it, so I figured why not.  If you prefer spinach, chard, or another type of green, feel free to substitute!

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Ingredients in Butternut Squash Skillet including butternut squash, kale, quinoa, goat cheese, garlic, dried cherries, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, onion, and fresh sage.

Butternut Squash - cubes of butternut squash are roasted and tossed into this quinoa dish.

Chicken Sausage - I love using chicken sausage (Adell's is my favorite brand!) and in this dish I use apple chicken sausage.

Quinoa - quinoa is a healthy grain that is a great source of fiber and protein. It's also the star in my Mango Black Bean Quinoa Salad.

Onion - white or yellow onion both work in this recipe.

Garlic - fresh garlic adds delicious flavor.

Fresh Sage - I love adding fresh sage to fall dishes for an earthy flavor. I also love it in my Garlic Herb Mayonnaise Roasted Turkey recipe!

Maple Syrup - this is part of the very light sauce that adds some sweetness and warm flavor to the dish. It's not only used in sweet dishes like Maple Muffins!

Dried Cherries - cherries add a hint of sweetness and tartness. I love the texture they add, too.

Goat Cheese - crumbles of creamy goat cheese make every bite a mouthful of flavor!

See recipe card for complete list of ingredients and quantities.


This recipe is absolutely delicious as is, but here are some variations.

Different greens - If you prefer spinach, chard, or another type of green, you can easily swap out the kale.

Different squash - You could use diced acorn squash, diced delicata squash, or diced sweet potato instead of butternut squash.

Different grain - if you aren't a fan of quinoa or have something else on hand, feel free to swap it. Other ideas include wheat berries, brown rice, couscous, barley, and farro.

Different cheese - you could use Parmesan cheese, feta cheese, or blue cheese instead of goat cheese.

Swap the fruit. Instead of dried cherries, you can use dried cranberries or pomegranate arils. I think diced apples would also be delicious!

Recipe Step by Step Instructions

  1. Peel and dice the butternut squash into approximately 1" cubes.
  2. Chop the onion and slice the chicken sausage.

3. Toss the squash in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and lay out evenly on a baking sheet.

4. Roast in a 425 degree oven for 25 minutes.

5. Cook the quinoa.

6. To a large skillet, add olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and chicken sausage and cook for 5-7 minutes, until the onions are softened and sausage is browned.

7. Add the kale, garlic, and sage and cook another 5 minutes.

8. Add the quinoa and butternut squash, and stir well to combine.

9. Add the maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper, and mix to combine.

10. Stir in the dried cherries and goat cheese. Sprinkle with additional chopped sage. Serve and enjoy!

Recipe FAQs

Can this be served cold?

I think it is best warm, but it can definitely be eaten cold. If you want to make it more of a salad, omit the chicken sausage.

Can this be made vegetarian?

Definitely! You can either omit the chicken sausage altogether or use some sort of vegetarian sausage alternative.

What can I use instead of quinoa?

Any sort of grain would work in this recipe including couscous, barley, rice, wheatberries, etc.

How do I store leftovers?

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.

If you're looking for a delicious autumn dinner, folks - this is it!  I become completely obsessed with squash this time of year and this dish reminded me of why.

Other Comfort Food Recipes to Consider

If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating on this recipe below and leave a comment, or take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #greensnchocolate.

Butternut Squash Chicken Sausage Kale Quinoa Skillet

Butternut Squash, Chicken Sausage, and Kale Quinoa Skillet

Butternut Squash Chicken Sausage and Kale Quinoa Skillet is a stunning autumn dinner with simple ingredients but BIG flavors! 
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 4 large servings
Calories: 713kcal


  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 medium butternut squash peeled and diced into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ yellow onion diced
  • 12 ounces chicken sausage links I used apple chicken sausage, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 cups chopped Tuscan kale about 6 stems
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic about 2 cloves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • ½ cup dried cherries
  • 4 ounces crumbled goat cheese
  • additional chopped sage for topping


  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Place butternut squash on baking sheet (I lined mine with aluminum foil for easier clean up) and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Bake in preheated oven for about 25 minutes, until squash is soft.
  • Meanwhile, place quinoa and 2 cups of water in a medium pot and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat, cover, and let simmer for 18-20 minutes, or until quinoa has absorbed all of the water.
  • While quinoa and squash are cooking, add remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a skillet over medium heat.
  • Add onion and chicken sausage and cook until onion begins to soften, about 5-7 minutes.
  • Add the kale, garlic and sage and cook until kale is wilted, about 4-5 minutes.
  • Once squash and quinoa have cooked, add them both to the skillet with the sausage and kale, and stir to combine. If your skillet isn't big enough, just add it all to a bowl.
  • Mix together olive oil, maple syrup, and apple cider vinegar and drizzle over quinoa mixture, stirring to combine. Season with additional salt and pepper, to preference.
  • Top with cherries, goat cheese, and garnish with sage.
  • Enjoy!


  • To make this vegetarian, omit the chicken sausage. For vegan, omit the chicken sausage and goat cheese. 
  • Use dried cranberries if you can't find dried cherries. 
  • Feta cheese is a great substitute for goat cheese. 


Calories: 713kcal | Carbohydrates: 75g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 35g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 1013mg | Potassium: 1260mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 27756IU | Vitamin C: 122mg | Calcium: 282mg | Iron: 6mg
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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Simple to throw all of these ingredients into a skillet together but synergistically they create an explosion of fall flavor. Absolutely delicious and adding this to my list of favorite home recipes! (:

  2. 5 stars
    This was the perfect warm dish for a winter night. So many different flavors but they all went very well together. I ended up using chicken apple breakfast sausage from Costco and it was amazing! I did use a tri colored quinoa and cooked it in chicken broth for extra flavor. Very delicious, hardy and healthy dinner.

  3. 5 stars
    I made this awhile ago and absolutely loved it. I do want to know if you can make this a day in advanced .

    1. So happy to hear this, Ruthann! I think you could roast the butternut squash and make the quinoa in advance, to cut down on the prep time. You could probably even cook the onion and chicken sausage too, and then add the kale and the rest of ingredients the day you are planning to eat. Hope this helps!

  4. 5 stars
    This is super tasty!! And it’s pretty simple to make! And doesn’t seem like it has very unhealthy ingredients. It’s on the sweeter side which I really enjoy.

  5. 5 stars
    This is absolutely delicious!!! I used frozen chicken maple breakfast sausages and followed the recipe exactly. I'll be making this again this fall!

  6. 5 stars
    This recipe is amazing. Made it no less than 10 times over the last year. Perfect for when you want a fun dinner but don’t want too work too hard for it and pretty easy to substitute if you are missing one or two things.

  7. Looks awesome. I'm going to put it on my meal prep list for next week! Question, the husband doesn't like quinoa, any thoughts on what I could substitute for the quinoa? Thanks!

    1. I think brown rice, couscous, or barley would all work well! They do have slightly different water ratios, so just follow the instructions on the package you buy for whatever you end up using, and then use it as you would the quinoa in the recipe. Enjoy! 🙂

  8. 5 stars
    Delicious and easy to make. I modified to use up what was in the house. Feta cheese instead of goat and dried cranberries instead of cherries.

  9. Oh my god. This is amazing!!! Perfect fall recipe! I subbed with Maple Chicken breakfast sausage and dried cranberries instead of cherries. Delish!

  10. Made this last night with Trader Joe's Spicy Jalapeno Chicken Sausage and we loved it! No kale or good cooking greensin the house so we served it over arugula and that worked for us! Plan to make it again.

  11. Made this dish tonight for a healthy change of pace. My Grandson who lives with us has become health conscious. I am not a fan of quinoa, but the other ingredients sounded great. Grandson liked it, but he likes everything! It looked really good, but I had a “texture” problem with the quinoa. Maybe next time I will substitute some orzo pasta instead.

  12. 5 stars
    This was delicious! I cooked the quinoa in chicken broth and added cherry tomatoes. Definitely will make again!

  13. 5 stars
    This was huge hit with my husband and oldest son! The younger boys didn't love the textures, but they think everything is weird right now as we learn to eat healthier. LOL
    I also loved it! The flavors are absolutely delicious! And we've made is a couple times since finding the recipe just a few months ago. And I'm making it again tonight! We don't care it's not fall! Haha

  14. 5 stars
    Great recipe - relatively easy, healthy and sooo flavorful. Love the dressing and goat cheese on top. Will definitely make again.

  15. 5 stars
    This recipe is awesome! Flavorful, colorful, good-for-you ingredients, and very warming during winter. Subbed the goat cheese for feta, like you suggested, and it turned out great. I’m glad it makes so much, too!