This Stuffed Acorn Squash recipe is so hearty and comforting! A delicious blend of savory and sweet,  it’s made with roasted acorn squash, fall vegetables, Italian sausage (or vegan sausage), toasty pecans, and sage. Vegan-adaptable, Gluten-free. Includes a video. 

Roasted Acorn Squash with sausage, apple, parsnips, pecans and sage. Vegan-adaptable!

This hearty Stuffed Acorn Squash is a deeply satisfying meal. Acorn squash is roasted until soft and caramelized. While it roasts, make the savory-sweet filling with fall veggies and your choice of Italian sausage or plant-based sausage, sage and pecans.

It is easily customizable – if you are having guests over,  you can make some with meat and some without- perfect for vegetarians or vegans and everyone is happy! These can be made up to 4 days ahead and heated on the day of serving.

What I love about this stuffed acorn squash recipe is its versatility! Feel free to add other veggies, mushrooms, wild rice, or quinoa, to the filling!

Stuffed Acorn Squash Ingredients

Here are the ingredients for Stuffed Acorn Squash, along with a brief description:

  • Small acorn squash (or sub-small butternut squash, delicata squash, kuri squash or kabocha squash).
  • Real maple syrup: Combined with olive oil to create a sweet and savory coating for the squash.
  • Italian sausage (or sub-vegan sausage or other plant-based alternative): Adds a flavorful protein component to the filling. Ground turkey or ground beef work too.
  • Parsnip (or sub-carrot): Adds a slightly sweet and earthy taste to the filling. Can be substituted with carrots if desired.
  • Onion Provides aromatic depth and flavor to the filling. Different types of onions can be used based on personal preference.
  • Apple (gala, honey crisp, pink lady): Adds a touch of sweetness and fruity flavor to the filling.
  • Fresh herbs: Sage( or rosemary or thyme) imparts a warm and earthy taste to the dish.
  • Wilted Greens (kale, chard, shredded Brussels sprouts or spinach)
  • Maple pecans (or toasted pecans): Offers a delightful crunchy texture and a hint of sweetness to the dish.
  • Salt, black pepper and nutmeg (or sub-fresh ground nutmeg): Adds warmth and aroma to the filling mixture.

What squash is best for stuffing?

When choosing winter squash for stuffing, pick any kind you like, the important thing is that they are small in size and similar in size so roasting times don’t vary too much.

Here we are using small acorn squashes, but little butternuts, sugar pumpkins, delicata squash, kabocha squash would work well too.

Stuffed Acorn Squash Instructions

Step 1: Roast the winter squash. With a sharp knife, cut the squash in half and scoop out the 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 the insides of the squash halves with an equal mix of olive oil and maple syrup and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Lay squash cut-side down on a greased baking sheet and roast in a 400F oven until fork tender, 30-40 minutes. You can roast the squash ahead.

Step 2: Make the filling. While the squash is roasting, make the flavorful filling. In a large skillet, brown the sausage, and saute the parsnips, apples and onions. Add the sage and kale. Saute it all together. You can prep the filling ahead.

Maple glazed Acorn Squash with Apple, parsnips, pecans and sage |

Step 3.  Fill the acorn squash and bake. When the squash halves are tender, turn them over and let them cool. Place them in a baking dish and fill with the savory filling mixture. Grate some fresh nutmeg over the top if you like. Place in a 350F oven until warmed through, about 20 minutes.

Can stuffed squash be made ahead?

Yes! You can assemble them, then refrigerate them for up to 4 days, bring to room temp and bake until heated through.

TIP: Serve them with the Maple glazed pecans for extra lovely texture!

Storage and Reheating

Leftovers will keep up to 4 days in a sealed container in the refrigerator and can be frozen in the freezer for up to three months. Thaw overnight before reheating in a 350F oven (covered) or in the microwave.

Roasted Acorn Squash with sausage, apple, parsnips, pecans and sage. Vegan-adaptable! #acornsquash #stuffedsquash


Vegetarian Stuffed Acorn Squash

To make these vegan or vegetarian, leave out the sausage and stir in sauteed mushrooms, or cooked wild rice, or cooked quinoa. Make sure to taste and re-season. You can also use a plant-based meat alternative.

More Favorite Winter Squash Recipes

On the homefront: 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

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.  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 through winter.

Stuffed Acorn Squash Video

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
Stuffed Acorn Squash with Sausage, Apple, kale, Parsnips, Pecans and Sage | #stuffedsquash #acornsquash #wintersquash #fallrecipes

Stuffed Acorn Squash

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 20 reviews


Stuffed Acorn Squash with Italian sausage (or use vegan sausage), kale, apple, parsnips, pecans and sage. Vegan-adaptable and can be made ahead. Perfect for the holiday table or special gatherings.


Units Scale
  • 3 small acorn squash (56 inches in length) or sub other small winter squash.
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ———–
  • 1 cup Italian sausage- or sub vegan sausage, browned
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups peeled and finely diced parsnip (two medium-sized)
  • 1/2 an onion, diced
  • 1 cup apple (like a gala), diced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped sage
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Splash white wine (or sub-water)
  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • 1/2 cup maple pecans (recipe below) or toasted pecans
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • fresh grated nutmeg (or 1/4 teaspoon ground)


  1. Preheat oven to 400F
  2. Cut Acorn Squash lengthwise and scoop out seeds with a spoon ( or scoop after baking!).  Brush insides with a mix of 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon 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 intact, 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.
  4. In the same pan, saute parsnips and onions in  olive oil, on medium heat, until tender, about 10 minutes.
  5. Add apples, kale 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.
  6. Splash with a little white wine and add pecans. When wine has evaporated, add 1 T maple syrup. Add sausage back in and taste for salt, adding if necessary. Add a little fresh grated nutmeg or a pinch or two of ground. Fill the squash with the apple parsnip sausage mixture and place in a 350 F until heated through (about 15-20 minutes)

To Make Maple Pecans

  1. Pre heat oven to 400F
  2. 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. Spread out on a greased baking sheet and using a timer, bake 8 minutes to start, in a 400 F oven, give them a mix, then bake another 7 – 13 minutes. These need to toast up nicely for the right “crunch,” but time will vary depending on your oven – so keep a close eye on these to make sure they don’t burn.
  3. 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 platters.


These can be made and stuffed ahead, then baked before serving. Make some with meat and keep some vegan.


  • Serving Size: Calculated with Italian sausage
  • Calories: 230
  • Sugar: 6.3 g
  • Sodium: 146.3 mg
  • Fat: 14.4 g
  • Saturated Fat: 3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 22.3 g
  • Fiber: 4.9 g
  • Protein: 4.9 g
  • Cholesterol: 14.3 mg

Share this with the world!

to get recipes via email

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star


  1. Love it! Lots of veggies and very tasty. We will definitely add this to our rotation, thanks…we love your recipes!

  2. This was so good. I used pork sausage as it was what I had on hand, but I added some Italian spices. No other changes. I will make it again.

  3. Made this with carrots in lieu of parsnips. Used Applegate Chicken apple sausage, diced. It was lovely. Thanks for the idea!

  4. this was by far the most amazingly delicious perfect dish I have ever made of yours – aside from the lentil bolognese and the mushroom wellington 🙂

  5. Perfect for Fall! We kept this vegan with Tofurkey Italian sausage and it was great. Also the maple glazed pecans have been something I’ve loved for years now. They are great for snacking and way better than the glazed pecans at the grocery store. Thanks again!

  6. Made this for my friends who came into town last night. Was a total winner! They even fed small pieces of acorn squash to their toddler for the first time and he loved it! Would 100% make again 🙂 thank you!

    1. Do you mean, stuff the turkey with it? or serve on the side? The flavors certainly go well. 🙂

  7. Hi Sylvia! Quick question – you have us adding Kale at both Step 5 & 6. Should I assume this is divided, or is that a typo?

    Currently making it now and will use my best judgement, but it seemed confusing in an otherwise straightforward recipe.


  8. One more thought…serve your awesome Rustic Pear Tart with Walnut Crust for dessert if you have space ?!

  9. This really was delicious.
    I am not a fan of sausage so i made this with organic ground pork and added some sausage-spices like paprika, rosemary, thyme, and sage.
    The maple pecans added a nice crunch and warm nutty depth. This recipe is a new comfort food!

  10. I’m always looking for new ways to cook acorn squash, and this recipe delivers in spades. I used a pound of bulk Italian sausage, subbed sweet potato for the parsnips and added 8 ounces of sliced baby Portobello mushrooms. This made more stuffing than I needed, which was great since we ate the leftover stuffing for breakfast topped with a fried egg. And those pecans—they’re addictive! My hubby said this one’s a keeper and I agree. Thank you for a great recipe!

  11. The stuffing was so addictivly delicious that I was lucky there was enough left to stuff the acorn squash from my repeated sampling of it. Very nice presentation also. Burned my first batch of pecans but remade them and baked them a shorter time taking them out a bit sticky. They firmed nicely cooling on a plate and don’t stick together in storage. EXCELLENT flavors. I used 2 butcher Italian sausages: one sweet one spicy that I stripped from the casing. Great ratio/flavor combo.

    I may try cubed roasted butternut squash with this stuffing as a top layer layer in a baking dish next. That way it might be scooped from the serving dish onto a plate or nestled into a bowl over wilted garlic spinach. The colors of deep green spinach with this orange squash and golden stuffing might be fab. Thank you so much for your most amazing chef skills and creativity. Every recipe is outstanding and so unique. Could not be better. Thank you for sharing your talents. Thanks Sylvia.

  12. I made this as a vegan dish and used Field Roast sage and apple sausage. The stuffing is absolutely delicious, but seemed to be a little on the dry side when I added it to the squash. Perhaps I was a bit off and didn’t add enough oil or maple syrup? I think I’ll try it again with a touch of vegan butter and an extra teaspoon of maple syrup. I also wonder how this would be with a spoonful of freshly made cranberry sauce.

    1. I bet that would help, a little oilve oil or vegan butter and more maple. Field roast has very little fat or moisture, so needs a little help.

Our Latest Recipes