Last fall, Hubby and a group of our friends competed in Tough Mudder, a 12-mile military-style endurance obstacle course consisting of jumping into a dumpster full of ice, army crawling through wires emitting electric shock, climbing through mountains of mud -- you get the gist. While I love activities that require signing a death waiver just as much as the next person, I decided to sit this one out.

So as the crew was running, jumping and lifting, I spent my day stirring, mixing and tasting. I knew everyone would be ready to fuel their tanks with hearty fare after a day of physical activity, and wanted to take this opportunity to serve up more one-dish meals so many readers were requesting.

After the first lasagna recipe I wrote was so well received, I felt I was ready to give it another go. This time, however, I came up with an autumn-themed twist. (Shocking, I know.) Layers of crumbled sweet apple chicken sausage and savory roasted acorn squash are sandwiched between tender noodles, while globs of creamy ricotta and shredded parmesan cheese make their way into the stack. The balanced flavors and textures are complemented by a silky pumpkin sauce made with sauteed garlic, shallots, red onion and hints of cinnamon and nutmeg. Finished off with a generous sheet of melted mozzarella, sharp provolone and a garnish of fresh rosemary, it's fall at its finest.

While I tend to focus on quick meals with only a few ingredients, this one is definitely worth the extra steps! Check out for step-by-step photos to follow while you cook this at home!

Pumpkin Lasagna with Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage

More Information

Fact box


2 packages no-cook lasagna noodles

Cooking spray

1 (29 oz.) can pure pumpkin (not pie filling)

1 acorn squash

1 package sweet apple chicken sausage

1 (15 oz.) tub ricotta cheese

1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella, divided

1/3 cup parmesan cheese

1 egg

12 slices thin provolone cheese

1/3 cup white wine

1/2 cup chicken broth

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 cinnamon stick

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/2 shallot

1/4 red onion

1/4 cup olive oil

3 sprigs fresh rosemary, pulled from stems

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

For squash:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/8 teaspoon salt


For squash: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Puncture squash with a knife and carefully cut in half. Scoop out seeds and set aside for roasting (you can find that recipe on Brush squash with 2 tablespoons olive oil and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Roast about 40 minutes, until tender.

In the meantime, cut sweet apple chicken sausage into pieces and remove casings when possible. Toss sausage in food processor and pulse into crumbles.

For sauce: Dice 1/2 of a shallot and 1/4 of a small red onion. Pour 1/4 cup olive oil in a pan. Add shallot, red onion and 1 tablespoon minced garlic. Saute over medium-high heat, about 2 minutes. Add white wine, chicken stock and pumpkin. Stir to incorporate. Add 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper and cinnamon stick. Allow to simmer a few minutes and stir in 1/2 cup heavy cream. Remove from heat and set aside.

For filling: In a small bowl, stir together tub of ricotta cheese, 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese and 1 egg. Set aside.

When squash is ready, remove from oven and allow to cool slightly. When able to handle, turn over and peel away green exterior with help from a sharp knife. Cut into cubes.

To assemble: Spray a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and coat with a thin layer of pumpkin sauce. Remember to remove your cinnamon stick.

Add a layer of noodles, allowing them to overlap if necessary. Spread on another layer of sauce. Crumble on 1/2 of the chicken sausage. Add noodles. Spoon on more sauce. Cover with 1/2 of the acorn squash. Spread on 1/2 the ricotta cheese mixture. Add another layer of noodles. Top with remaining ricotta mixture and the rest of the crumbled chicken sausage. And the other half of the acorn squash. Layer on more noodles. Pour on the remaining sauce. Top with a layer of provolone cheese. Finish with about 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese and 3 springs of rosemary.

Bake covered with foil about 45 minutes, and uncovered for 15. Lasagna should be bubbly and golden brown. Eat and enjoy even if you didn't run a Tough Mudder!

Jenn Press Arata is a food writer and blogger. Visit her blog at She also can be followed on Twitter, @thatssojennblog.