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.
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.
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.
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
- Vegan Pot Pie with Roasted Butternut, Lentils and Kale
- Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Sage
- Stuffed Spaghetti Squash with Pecans, Kale and Dried Cranberries
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
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.
- 3 small acorn squash (5–6 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)
- Preheat oven to 400F
- 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.
- 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 olive oil, on medium heat, until tender, about 10 minutes.
- 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.
- 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
- Pre heat oven to 400F
- 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.
- 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
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