Maple Glazed Stuffed Acorn Squash with Apple, Parsnip and Sage

Maple glazed Acorn Squash with Apple, parsnips, pecans  and sage |
This hearty fall recipe for Maple Glazed Stuffed Acorn Squash is deeply satisfying. Acorn squash is roasted with a bit of maple syrup until it’s soft and caramelized. A savory filling is made with fall apples, parsnips, sage,  pecans and your choice of either Italian sausage or Soy Sausage. It’s easily customized…for example if you are having guests over, some of whom are vegan, you can make some vegan and also make some with meat.  
I am often amazed at the intelligence and timing of nature.  How, just in time, the earth brings us hardy produce like winter squash and root vegetables and apples and nuts, thick skinned and tough enough to last thru winter. Over the last few weeks, fall has arrived in the Northwest.  And with the blustery winds and the swirling leaves, come the pumpkins and winter squash. Fall produce is not only hardy, it is hearty. It is meatier and denser than summer produce, and often contains more sugars. Just look at the difference between a summer squash and a winter squash.
Maple glazed Acorn Squash with Apple, parsnips, pecans  and sage |
As ingredients change with the coming of fall, the cooking techniques we use, change too. The barbecue is put away, and  the season of roasting and braising and stewing begins. We cook more slowly, because much of fall produce requires longer cooking times. And as the weather cools, our food cravings change and we seek the comfort and warmth of more robust and filling meals. 
Maple glazed Acorn Squash with Apple, parsnips, pecans  and sage |

When choosing  winter squash, pick any kind you like, but just make sure they are smaller and similar in size so roasting times don’t vary too much. I used small acorn squashes, but little butternuts, pumpkins, delicata, kobacha or spaghetti squash would work well too.

With a sharp knife cut squash in half and scoop out seeds with a spoon. You could also do these standing upright, reserving the tops for garnish, by cutting a little off the bottom so they have an even platform to stand on.

Brush insides with an equal mix of olive oil and maple syrup and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Lay on a greased baking sheet and roast in a 400F oven until fork tender.
Make maple pecans (see below).

While the squash is roasting, make the filling. Brown the sausage, dice the parsnips, apples and onions. Chop Sage and Kale. Saute.
Maple glazed Acorn Squash with Apple, parsnips, pecans  and sage |

When squashes are tender, turn them over and let cool. Place in a baking dish and fill with Apple Parsnip Sage mixture. Grate some fresh nutmeg over the top and place in a 350F oven.
You can also refrigerate them at this point, and bake them the next day. They will take longer to heat thru if coming out of the fridge.

Maple glazed Acorn Squash with Apple, parsnips, pecans  and sage |
Maple glazed Acorn Squash with Apple, parsnips, pecans  and sage |
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Maple Glazed Acorn Squash with Apple, Parsnip and Sage
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: northwest
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
Maple Glazed Acorn Squash with Apple, Parsnip and Sage
  • 3 small acorn squash
  • 2 Cups peeled and diced parsnip ( two medium sized)
  • 1 Cup Italian or soy sausage, browned
  • 1 Cup diced apple ( fuji or gala)
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 1 Cup (packed) chopped kale
  • 2 T packed, chopped sage
  • 2 T Maple syrup
  • ½ Cup Maple pecans (recipe below) or toasted pecans
  • 3T Olive oil
  • Splash white wine, or hard cider
  • kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • fresh nutmeg
  1. Preheat oven to 400F
  2. Cut Acorn Squash lengthwise and scoop out seeds with a spoon. Brush insides with a mix of 1 T olive oil and 1 T maple syrup. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper and lay skin side up on a greased, or parchment lined baking sheet, and roast in a hot oven for 30-40 minutes, until you can pierce through skin and flesh with a fork. Remove from the oven and using a metal spatula, turn over, trying to keep caramelized edges in tact, and let cool. Place in a baking dish.
  3. While squash is roasting in the oven, brown Italian sausage ( or soy sausage), set aside and wipe out pan. In the same pan, saute parsnips and onions in 2 T olive oil, on medium heat, until tender, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add apples and sage, and saute 5 more minutes, until apples are tender. You may need to add a little more olive oil. Generously Salt and Pepper to taste.
  5. Splash with a little white wine and add kale and pecans. When wine has evaporated, add 1 T maple syrup.
  6. Add sausage back in and taste for salt, adding if necessary. Add a little fresh grated nutmeg or a pinch or two ground.
  7. Fill the squash with the apple parsnip sausage mixture and place in a 350 F until heated through (about 15 minutes)
  8. To Make Maple Pecans
  9. Pre heat oven to 400F
  10. In a small bowl, coat pecans with real maple syrup ( only real maple will work here) Add a pinch of salt and some cracked pepper.
  11. Spread out on a greased baking sheet and using a timer, bake 12 mins in a 400 F oven, giving them a mix, then baking another 8-12 minutes.
  12. Remove, let cool 3-4 minutes, then use a metal spatula to unstick them from the sheet pan. If they are completely stuck, place them back in the oven for a minute or two, to loosen, and try again. Then let cool completely, store in a zip lock bag. I make these in big batches and use in salads or cheese platers.


  1. says

    I always had a thing against squashes–my taste buds are convinced that eating them is like chomping straight into a jack-o-lantern–but I’ve ventured out to buy an acorn squash. Can’t wait to put this recipe (and my taste buds) back to the test!

  2. Anonymous says

    amazing photos! just curious about the camera technique?? Or maybe you just have a stunning dark kitchen, that makes everything pop?? heheh
    thanks for the recipie, will make it this week, was just blankly glancing over at the little perky acorn squash perched on the fridge!
    Now it’s met its doom…hahah

    • says

      Hi Magda,
      Thank you..and nothing really tricky with the photography. We do have a limited amount of light in the kitchen and I don’t use any artificial lights. I have a dark table that i sometimes use to create a more wintery feel. Thats pretty much it. Thanks for visiting. :)

  3. says

    Fall is my favorite season, bc these squashes/apples root veggies always hit the spot. Made this tonight for my vegan teens and they were impressed. I did not use wine (which maybe I should have?) at end and felt there might be a tanginess missing… would adding citrus or balamic mess up the combo??

    • says

      Glad they liked it. Yes, the recipe does need a touch of acidity, the reason for the wine. I think a tiny little balsamic would work great…or maybe even orange zest. Thanks for the feedback!

  4. says

    Love that third photo– looks delicious and I agree that the colors pop. I’m looking to make a similar (yet different stuffed squash tonight) with apple sage Field Roast (veggie sausage) plus some other things, came here from Buzzfeed for inspiration!

  5. says

    Ohmygosh this looks mouthwateringly delicious. I’ve made stuffed acorn squash a couple times but never seem to get the cooking times quite right, ha! Love the addition of white wine here too. I’m so excited it’s finally fall again for those hearty delicious squashes :) Great photography too! Can’t wait to try this one out!

  6. JRT says

    Just made this tonight. What a fabulous fall dish, with a wonderful mix of flavors! Followed recipe exactly– with one exception. I didnt use any maple syrup– but added a small amount of dried cranberries instead.

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