Stuffed acorn squash is a festive dish that can be served as a side or entrée. The acorn squash, which becomes wonderfully caramelized when roasted, doubles as a tasty vessel for homemade stuffing. Fill it up with delicious ingredients like sweet apple, hearty brown rice and savory sausage. You can even make it vegetarian by omitting the meat. Read on to make your new favorite seasonal recipe.
Things You'll Need
2 small acorn squash (or 1 large acorn squash)
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
1/2 cup celery, chopped
3 cups baby spinach
1 small apple, peeled and diced
3 garlic cloves, minced (or 1 1/2 teaspoon jarred minced garlic)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup sausage, cooked and diced (or ground turkey)
1 cup brown rice or quinoa, cooked
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup walntus or pecans, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried sage
Salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese, grated (optional)
This recipe makes enough stuffing for four "overstuffed" squash halves. However, if you modestly fill each half, you'll have enough for six squash halves (from three full squash).
Preheat the oven to 425° Fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Slice each acorn squash in half, cutting from the stem to the bottom. Scoop out the seeds and stringy insides. Discard.
Use a sharp knife to cut acorn squash. This will reduce the risk of injury and prevent the squash (and knife) from slipping. For extra stability, cut off the stem and part of the bottom to create a flat surface.
Brush about 1 teaspoon of olive oil on each squash half. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Place on the baking sheet, cut side down.
Roast for 25 to 30 minutes or until caramelized and fork tender. Keep the oven on.
While the squash is roasting, prepare the stuffing. Warm the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Cook the onion and celery for 5 to 7 minutes or until the onions are translucent.
Add the garlic, rosemary, sage, salt, pepper and apples. Cook for 2 minutes or until the apples are soft.
Add the spinach and cook until wilted, about 3 to 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the cooked onions and apples, brown rice, sausage, dried cranberries and walnuts.
Stir to combine.
Generously fill the squash halves with stuffing. You may have leftover stuffing, depending on the size of your squash and how much you fill them. Top with Parmesan cheese, if using.
Return to the oven. Cook until the Parmesan cheese melts and the stuffing is heated through, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Remember, you can customize the stuffing based on dietary restrictions or preferences. It's also ideal for using up leftover ingredients and experimenting with seasonal herbs. Enjoy!