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Stuffed Acorn Squash: Customize Your Toppings

acorn squash stuffed on parchment lined baking sheet.

This acorn squash is a warming dish and makes a delicious seasonal recipe. It can be stuffed with so many different ingredients and you can easily customize it for each member of the family.

I first started playing with this dish as a concept for a retreat I was attending. I was asked to come up with a dinner the participants could all make together. And, it had to cover many different dietary preferences and sensitivities.

This dish starts with acorn squash as its base. You rub it with oil and some maple syrup and then season it. Next, you can choose from several different toppings to stuff the squash.

Each person can pick what they like best to stuff the squash, satisfying both the vegans and the meat lovers!

This is kind of like a taco bar but even healthier!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Acorn Squash
  • Olive Oil
  • Seasonings – salt, pepper, rosemary, etc.
  • Sauteed vegetables – mushrooms, onions, apples
  • Meat – ground turkey, sausage or beef
  • Dried fruit – cranberries, cherries, apricots
  • Nuts/Seeds – pecans, macadamia, sunflower seeds
  • Wild Rice or Quinoa

Making the recipe:

While the oven is preheating, you can remove the seeds from the squash and rub the insides with oil, seasoning and maple syrup.

Then, begin preparing the toppings, based on your family’s preferences. Cook the meat or rice, if you are using those. Dice and saute the veggies. Chop any nuts or fresh herbs you may be using.

When the oven is ready, place the sqaush on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake in the oven.

Once the squash is cooked, assemble the squashes with the ingredients you’ve chosen. Each squash can be made to order, if you like.

Bake in the oven for another 15-30 minutes, depending on the size of the squash and how full you have stuffed them.

acorn squash stuffed on parchment lined baking sheet.
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Acorn squash stuffed with meat vegetables and cranberries on parchment lined baking sheet.

Stuffed Acorn Squash

  • Author: Cheryl Englebretson
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40-50 minutes
  • Total Time: 60-70 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Oven
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

This stuffed acorn squash is a warming dish and makes a delicious seasonal recipe. It can be stuffed with many different ingredients and you can easily customize it for each member of the family.


Ingredients

Scale

Roasted Squash:

  • 3 acorn squash, halved
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper

Wild Rice:

  • 1/2 cup wild rice
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • water, for cooking (per package instructions)

Ground Turkey & Apple Stuffing:

  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 apple, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • pinch of dried rosemary

Add-Ins for Stuffing:

  • 4 oz. mushrooms, diced and sauteed in 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup cranberries
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
  2. In a saucepan, cook the wild rice per cooking instructions. Add 1 1/2 cups of water for 1/2 cup rice and season with sea salt. Bring the water to a boil and simmer for about 45 minutes. Set aside, when done cooking.
  3. Cut the acorn squash in half. Remove the seeds. Rub with olive oil and maple syrup and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Place the acorn squash flesh side up on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the flesh is tender. Cooking time will vary depending on your oven temperature and the size of the squash.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the stuffing mixture.
  6. Cut up the onions and apples and mince the garlic.
  7. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil. Saute the onion and apples for 3-5 minutes until tender, then add in the garlic and cook another 1 minute. Add in the spices and incorporate well, until fragrant. Set aside.
  8. Brown the ground turkey in the same pan, with a little sea salt and pepper. Drain any oil, if needed. Return the onion and the garlic mixture back to the pan. Heat for another few minutes and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed.
  9. Once the squash is done cooking, pull them out of the oven. Add the stuffing mixture and any of the desired add-ins. Return to the oven for another 5-10 minutes.

Notes

For a build your own style of serving the squash, have each person you are serving decide what add ins they’d like in their stuffing to fit their own tastes.

Cook the apples and onions separately from the meat, if some you are serving someone who may want a vegan/vegetarian version

Add some chopped kale to the meat mixture, which is a great way to add some texture and additional nutrients to the dish

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