Tender roasted acorn squash stuffed to the brim with a delicious mixture of sausage, wild rice, apples, and fresh herbs, is a unique and hearty way to serve Acorn Squash. This recipe for Stuffed Acorn Squash makes for a hearty side dish, delightful main course, or a show-stopping holiday side.
If you are looking for a recipe that will WOW--this recipe for Stuffed Acorn Squash will do just that!
It makes an impressive main course or a show-stopping side dish that is perfect for a weeknight dinner, yet worthy of a holiday meal.
Stuffed Acorn Squash is filled with all the best fall flavors! From the sweet and savory maple sausage, to the chew from the wild rice, to the fresh bite from the apples, to the tartness from the cranberries, to the fresh burst of herbs, the stuffing is not lacking anything in flavor or texture. But when that stuffing is paired with the natural buttery goodness of acorn squash--this recipe hits a home run!
What you Need
- Sausage: Maple breakfast sausage is best for this recipe, as the sweet and savory components of this maple sausage are a perfect complement to the squash. I use homemade maple breakfast sausage, but any brand will do.
- Rice: I love wild rice for the chew and heartiness, but you can feel free to use brown rice, white rice, quinoa, or farro. Just keep in mind that if change up the grain in this stuffing, you will need to follow the directions for cook time and amount of liquid needed for the grain you select. For example, white rice will cook up much faster than wild rice.
Step One: Prepare Acorn Squash
It is important to pre-roast our acorn squash before filling with the stuffing so that the acorn squash will get fork-tender without drying out the stuffing.
Simply cut the acorn squashes in half and scoop out the seeds and any stringy flesh from the squash. It will not affect cook time or overall results if you cut the squash width-wise or lengthwise, it is simply a matter of personal preference here. Or whichever way the squash was easier for you to cut!!
After seasoning with a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper, roast the squash in the oven on a lined sheet pan until just fork tender. PRO-TIP: Acorn Squash will caramelize as it cooks and it can be a mess to clean up! Line your sheet pan with parchment paper or foil for easier cleanup!
Step Two: Prepare Rice Filling
The stuffing for the acorn squash is really where the magic happens. The contrast in flavors and textures is key to really making this recipe memorable.
I start this stuffing by browning up some homemade maple breakfast sausage with onions and celery. The sweet and savory components of this maple sausage are a perfect complement to the squash.
Once the sausage is browned add in wild rice, stock, and add-ins--which is where the flavor is really developed!
Fresh apples, dried cranberries, and fresh thyme and sage not only pair together with the sausage, but they also add texture to the dish. You can feel free to omit one or the other, but the combination is really what sets this dish apart.
I personally wait to add the apples until after the rice has cooked, to give the stuffing crunch. However, if you want softer apples just add to the rice when simmering.
Step Three: Stuff Acorn Squash
Once the stuffing is prepared and the squash is roasted, it is time to stuff the squash! I like to pile in as much stuffing as I can into the squash's cavity. If you happen to have some of the stuffing leftover, just serve alongside the squash.
Step Four: Bake and Serve
At this point, the only reason we are baking the squash again is to warm let the squash and filling warm through together.
Modifications for Stuffed Acorn Squash
Vegetarian/Vegan Stuffed Acorn Squash
If you are looking to make Vegan Stuffed Squash, simply omit the ground sausage and use vegetable stock to cook the rice. You will still have enough filling for the squash without the added meat.
Paleo/Low Carb Stuffed Acorn Squash
To make this dish Paleo friendly, omit the rice and the dried cranberries (they have added sugars!) Use 2 pounds of homemade breakfast sausage or your favorite maple flavored sausage. Once the meat is browned up with the celery and onions, add in the herbs and chopped apples and then stuff the squash. Bake as directed.
- I used Lundberg Wild Rice Blend. For every 1 cup of rice, 1 ¾ cups of liquid are needed and it has a cook time of 45 minutes. If you select another grain/rice blend, follow the liquid to grain ratio and cook time suggested on the package.
- For a dry white wine, use a Sauvignon Blanc or Riesling. It is also fine to omit the wine, it is only added for extra depth of flavor.
- Feel free to omit sage if your family does not care for the flavor.
- Store leftover Stuffed Squash for 3 days in the fridge. This recipe can also be prepared in advance and then frozen for up 3 months. Simply remove stuffed squash from the freezer, and bake covered at 350 degrees for one hour, or until warmed through.
More Squash Recipes
- Instant Pot Butternut Squash Soup
- Instant Pot Spaghetti Squash
- Spaghetti Squash Casserole
- Vegetarian Butternut Squash Chili
- Roasted Butternut Squash Salad
- Vegan Butternut Squash Rice Bowl
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Stuffed Acorn Squash
- 2 small acorn squash washed and dried
- ½ pound maple sausage
- ¼ cup onion minced
- 1 stalk celery finely chopped
- ¼ cup dry white wine optional
- 1 cup wild rice blend
- 1 ¾ cups chicken or vegetable stock
- 3 fresh sage leaves sliced in ribbons
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme leaves leaves only
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- ⅓ cup dried cranberries
- 1 firm apple chopped
- Preheat Oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut squash in half. Remove and discard seeds and stringy flesh from squash. Drizzle the cavity of the squash with olive oil and salt and pepper. Place the squash cut side down on a rimmed baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper or foil and roast for 30-40 minutes, or until the flesh if fork tender. The variation in cooking time is due to the size of the acorn squash. It is best to test the squash with a fork to determine if it is done or not.
- Heat a dutch oven (or large skillet that can be covered) over medium high heat. Add in the sausage, and begin to brown. Once the fat begins to render off the sausage, add in the onion and celery. Saute until the sausage is browned and cooked through, being sure to break up the sausage into small chunks as it cooks. Drain off excess fat if desired and return pan to the heat.
- Stir in the rice and let toast for 30 seconds to one minute. If using, add in the white wine and simmer until the wine has mostly evaporated. Stir in the stock, salt, pepper, sage, thyme leaves and cranberries. Bring mixture a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 45 minutes, or until rice is tender. Remove from heat and stir in apples.
- Stuff the filling into the roasted acorn squash.
- Return to the oven for 10-15 minutes to warm everything through together.