Top Rated Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipes
This creative, farm-to-table recipe looks fancy but is actually very easy! Just pop everything in the slow cooker and return two hours later to a dazzling, delicious side dish.Recipe courtesy of C&H Sugar.
Nothing screams fall more than acorn squashes, and when they're stuffed with other seasonal ingredients like mushrooms, chickpeas, cranberries, and pumpkin seeds, they become a delicious cold-weather dish. This recipe uses quinoa as a base for the stuffing and adds unique ingredients like cilantro to create flavor unlike any other.
Squash can be intimidating. Ok, steam it and serve it as a purée, or peel, cube, and roast it until crispy in the corners, tender inside, and with a rich caramelized exterior. Delicious. But after a couple of times, it can get monotonous.For someone gluten- and corn-free like me, finding healthy carbohydrates to satisfy my hankering can be a challenge. Stuffed acorn squash is one of my new favorite go-tos. Start with sausage, or for vegetarians, a base of brown rice. Supplement with sweeteners (honey or maple syrup) and spices as you wish, then add a variety of flavorings from cherries and pine nuts to something exotic, like pineapple, coconut, and chopped macadamia nuts. You can even try greens — kale, miso, and a garnish of scallion sounds delicious, doesn’t it?Click here to see the Simple Ingredients Made Spectacular story.
Stuffed Acorn Squash
I really enjoy the changing seasons because they seem to give me an incentive to change up my menus. Each season brings its own specialties from the garden. So many of the dishes that are popular during the fall and winter are based on combinations of produce that we can store for long periods of time such as potatoes and, one of my favorites, winter squash. There are several varieties of these thick skinned squash to choose from – acorn, butternut and buttercups to name a few.
If you are growing winter squash in your garden, wait until the fruit has matured to harvest. You should be able to press into the skin with your fingernail and not leave an indention. Select fruits that are blemish free and firm. Gently remove any dirt and set the squash in a warm, sunny location to cure. It usually takes just a few days for the skin to harden and any scratches to seal.
If stored correctly, many varieties of winter squash can last for several months. Acorn squash will keep through Thanksgiving, while butternut can be expected to last all winter. For the best results select an area to store your winter squash that stays cool and dark like a cellar or pantry. Line your shelves or tabletop with newspaper and place the squash on the paper with about 2 inches breathing room between each one. It is a good idea to check on them every week or two to make sure that none are going bad. Those that are blemish free to begin with will last the longest.
In addition to being tasty and long lasting, winter squash qualify as health food. They are loaded with iron, riboflavin and vitamins A and C. In fact, winter squash have more of these than their summer cousins like yellow crookneck and zucchini squash.
This stuffed acorn squash dish combines fall flavors with those last tomatoes of summer and the way the honey caramelizes with the squash takes the flavor right off the charts. It is adapted from a recipe that I found in an old Kitchen Garden magazine written by chef and author Kathy Gunst. If you enjoy this recipe I recommend picking up her latest book, Stonewall Kitchen Harvest, which she co-authored with Jonathan King and Jim Stott, owners and founders of the Stonewall Kitchens in Maine.
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Stuffed Acorn Squash
I first made this stuffed acorn squash recipe for Thanksgiving, but its spiced quinoa filling is so good that it's become one of my go-to fall recipes.
The year I first became vegetarian I truly missed the turkey part of turkey day. It seems like ages ago now, but back then I barely knew how to cook for myself, let alone embrace seasonal foods like squashes, Brussels sprouts, and sweet potatoes (you know, the kind without marshmallows).
Now, with hearty vegetarian main dishes like this stuffed acorn squash, I couldn’t miss the turkey less. When I started working on this recipe, I knew I wanted to make an unconventional stuffed squash. Obviously, you won’t find ground beef or a sausage and apple combination here, but I also veered off the traditional vegetarian stuffed acorn squash path. Instead of using wild rice, dried cranberries, and onions and celery in my filling, I went in a totally different direction: Tex-Mex!
Vegetarian Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe Ingredients
This stuffed acorn squash filling is DELICIOUS, hearty, and healthy. Here’s what you’ll need to make it:
- Cooked quinoa and black beans make up its hearty base.
- Avocado adds creaminess.
- Cumin and coriander spice it up.
- Feta gives it a tangy, salty punch of flavor.
- Onion, green onions, and green chiles add heat and depth of flavor.
- Pepitas add crunch.
- Lime brightens it up.
While the squash roasts, sauté the onion and stir in the other ingredients. When the squash halves are tender and golden brown, remove them from the oven and load them up with the yummy filling! Enjoy!
Stuffed Acorn Squash Serving Suggestions
If you serve this stuffed acorn squash recipe at Thanksgiving, I’m sure you’ll have a spread of dishes like cornbread stuffing, cauliflower mashed potatoes, an autumn salad, and apple pie or crumble to go with it.
If you make it on its own, I recommend pairing it with a simple veggie side like roasted beets, lemon green beans, or roasted cauliflower. Alternatively, embrace its Mexican flavors and pair it with my Mexican street corn salad!
Depending on the size of your acorn squash, you may have some of the filling left over. My leftover suggestion: make post T-giving tacos!
Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe
This squash recipe is one of our all time favorites! We love it as a nutrient-packed main dish or as a comfort food side. This cheesy flavorful filled acorn squash is a perfect substitute for mashed potatoes. It looks so pretty too! And the best part is that it is super easy and doesn’t take much prep time at all.
1 medium onion, chopped and sautéed
1 green pepper, chopped and sautéed
1 red or orange pepper, chopped and sautéed
2 cups shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cut the acorn squash in half and scoop out the seeds and discard.
Lay the flat sides onto a greased cookie sheet. Brush the shells of the squash halves with olive oil or spray with cooking spray.
Remove from oven and let cool.
Once they’re cooled, take a metal spoon and scoop out the cooked squash, being careful not to break the shell. Put the cooked squash into a medium mixing bowl.
Now you have little bowls ready to fill!
Next you’ll want to mix in all the rest of the ingredients into the cooked squash. Onions, peppers, cheese, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper – yum. I like to sautée the peppers and onions before adding them to the mixture to make sure they are tender at the end.
Stir until everything is combined, then fill your shells with the mixture. Put them back in the oven for 20-30 minutes.
This stuffed acorn squash recipe is packed with the flavors of fall
Believe it or not, the crisp fall season is right around the corner and before its arrival you'll want to have plenty of recipes locked and loaded. This stuffed acorn squash is packed with autumnal flavors and it's delicious.
Serving a colorful and creative dish is one easy way to turn dinner at home into a restaurant experience. Loaded with seasonal ingredients, this stuffed acorn squash is guaranteed to be a new weeknight dinner that the entire family will love.
Not only is this dish flavorful, but it's also a great way to finish off a loaf of bread. To start, mix together your spices and toss in the bread cubes. Then, cut the acorn squash in half, remove the stems and seeds, and trim the bottom of the squash so it's flat.
Place the squash into your slow cooker with some water and fill each half with the stuffing mixture. Top with agave and butter and let it cook for two hours. Stuffed acorn squash is one of many easy dishes that can be made in the Crock-Pot, but it's also the perfect vegetarian meal for weeknight dinners.
1/4 cup C&H® Dark Brown Sugar
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
3/4 cups mixed dried berries
3 slices potato bread, cubed
1/2 cup C&H® Organic Blue Agave Nectar Amber Syrup, divided
4 tablespoons butter, divided
In medium bowl, mix brown sugar, salt, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, berries and pecans. Stir to mix all together, toss in the bread cubes and stir so the bread cubes are coated in some of the mixture. Set aside.
Cut acorn squash in half. Remove stems and seeds. Trim bottom of squash so it sits flat. Place each half face up into slow cooker. Pour the water into bottom of slow cooker around the squash. Spoon ½ cup stuffing mixture into each acorn opening allowing it to mound a bit. Drizzle 1/8 cup agave syrup over each squash. Press 1 tablespoon butter on top of each stuffing mound.
Ingredients in Stuffed Acorn Squash
First, you will want to find 2 acorn squash. The great thing about acorn squash is that they can be stored out on the counter for several weeks before going bad.
I used a long grain wild rice that took approximately 30-40 minutes to cook (or faster if you have a rice cooker or instant pot!). Alternatively, you can use faro, wheat berries, quinoa, couscous or quick cooking brown rice for this recipe.
To cook the wild rice I used vegetable broth and added a tablespoon of butter.
This stuffed acorn squash with mushrooms is a great side dish for the holidays! It can be made dairy free/vegan if using vegan butter and opting out of the parmesan cheese topping. Don't forget to pin it for later!
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Stuffed acorn squash
When Thanksgiving spread around the country in the mid-19th century, it was in the hope that holiday good feelings would heal the rift between North and South. So, the Thanksgiving menu had a certain amount of can’t-we-all-get-together culinary nationalism to it.
The main course? Turkey, of course, an indigenous American bird. It was well known that Native Americans and the early colonists used cranberries to flavor meat, so you clearly had to serve cranberry sauce with your bird. Americans were renowned pie-eaters in the 19th century, making pie the obvious dessert, and the supreme holiday pie was filled with pumpkin -- another native American ingredient.
As a result, roast turkey, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie became emphatically tied to the holiday. Until the cranberry juice craze and the discovery that turkey breast is low in fat, quite a few Americans never ate turkey or anything cranberry between one Thanksgiving and the next, and that’s probably still true of pumpkin pie.
Outside the turkey-cranberry-pumpkin pie trinity, though, American Thanksgiving tables have been as varied as the country itself. Each region, even each family, has its own list of traditional dishes without which the holiday menu is unthinkable.
It’s surprising how tenacious these traditions can be. My grandfather insisted on having Boston brown bread, though his great-grandparents had left Massachusetts for New York in the 1780s. His family must not be the only one to feel that way -- brown bread does tend to show up on grocery shelves around the holiday season.
Some of these family dishes would shock anyone from a different tradition. Who would think of serving stewed sauerkraut with the turkey? Quite a few people from German families, such as in the Midwest. Coconut cream pie alongside (or even instead of) pumpkin? That’s purely Southwestern. There are a few isolated areas, such as parts of West Texas, where turkey is even optional -- chicken can substitute for it, possibly because turkeys were once unavailable and chicken simply became the tradition.
Well, Thanksgiving is all about tradition. Families with a strong immigrant heritage may garnish their roast turkey with spaghetti, enchiladas or stir-fried vegetables instead of sweet potatoes and succotash. Lebanese American cooks tend to use their ancestral roast chicken stuffing -- fried lamb, onions and pine nuts -- and may even boil the turkey before roasting it. The Portuguese of New England often start the meal with their traditional kale soup, caldo verde.
The Thanksgiving menu was spread around the country in the 1850s partly by homesick New Englanders bringing their party with them wherever they moved and partly through the efforts of Sarah Joseph Hale, editor of the most influential publication in the country, Godey’s Lady’s Book. She started using her position to promote the idea of Thanksgiving in the 1840s, and by 1860, the custom had spread to nearly all the states. During the Civil War, she persuaded President Lincoln to declare a national Thanksgiving Day, and the date he chose for it is basically the one we use today.
Hale had fond memories of her family’s bountiful Thanksgivings in Maine, and the holiday menu she publicized is still the norm in New England. One thing that may strike people from other parts of the country is the prominence of plain boiled vegetables: boiled turnips, boiled cabbage, boiled onions.
The South originally accepted Thanksgiving with some reluctance. Until the 19th century, New Englanders had refused to celebrate Christmas on the grounds that there was no scriptural warrant for the Dec. 25 date for the birth of Christ, so Southerners suspected Thanksgiving of being some kind of bogus Yankee imitation of Christmas.
Partly for this reason, and partly because the South has the most vigorous food traditions in the country, Southern Thanksgiving menus tend to be rather distinctive. For instance, it’s common in the South to serve red meat alongside the turkey -- country ham in Maryland, ham or roast beef in Memphis, Tenn.
Corn bread stuffing is also very Southern, though bread or chestnut stuffings from the English tradition are also common in the South. Sweet potatoes topped with marshmallows are as Midwestern as Southern, but if there are pecans involved, you can be sure you’re in Dixie.
Southerners cheerfully throw in dishes with not the remotest New England connection, such as macaroni and cheese, potato salad or ambrosia. Particularly in Texas, pie doesn’t have to be limited to the traditional pumpkin-apple-mincemeat repertoire. Out there, dessert can be lemon chiffon pie or coconut cream pie . . . or even chocolate cake.
In the Midwest, the squash that would probably be boiled and maybe mashed farther east is likely to be stuffed and baked. This is the part of the country where you find the most German and Scandinavian influences. The turkey may come with stewed sauerkraut, dumplings or noodles, and European cakes, custards or strudels may show up alongside the pies.
In the 19th century, Americans were crazy for oysters, and there was a repertoire of dishes such as oyster stew, pan-fried oysters and scalloped oysters that was known throughout the country. Oysters were particularly associated with the holiday season. Even deep in the Midwest, people would order a barrel of oysters delivered by rail and serve oyster dishes at Thanksgiving (and clear on through Christmas).
In most places, oysters have nearly disappeared from the Thanksgiving table except for the occasional turkey stuffing, but oyster stew, scalloped oysters and the rest are still popular in oyster-producing areas such as the Pacific Northwest (and in Amish and Mennonite communities as far inland as Indiana, because the Amish and Mennonites don’t change their traditions at the drop of a hat).
California, and particularly Los Angeles, has been inundated with newcomers for over a century, and we don’t have the deep-rooted traditions of New England or the South. We do have a few, though. Green salad, for instance not many of us would serve Jell-O salad alone without a healthful lettuce and tomato salad.
Some families still serve the old-time L.A. relish tray: carrot and celery spears, olives and pickles (such as pickled peppers). This was our local version of the 19th century tradition of serving rare and expensive appetizers, except that around here we featured olives and celery out of local patriotism because we grew our own.
It’s possible to generalize about regional and ethnic versions of the Thanksgiving dinner, but the fact is that Thanksgiving is a family holiday, and its traditions are always family traditions. Even in areas of cultural homogeneity, people may be a little surprised by what their neighbors serve.
These days, all those regional and ethnic lines are blurring as people move around the country and marry outside their cultures. So, more and more families are experiencing holiday shock: “You want to put sausage in the turkey stuffing?” “You put oysters -- seriously, oysters? -- in the stuffing?” It always gets sorted out, and it’s fascinating to see which traditions are more persistent in any given family.
What will Thanksgiving dinner be like in 2109? My guess is it won’t be a complete free-for-all of eclecticism, because families need traditions, and so do countries. I’m not so sure about pumpkin pie, but I’m putting my money on turkey and cranberry.
Southwestern Stuffed Acorn Squash
Try this stuffed acorn squash recipe for a healthy and inexpensive dinner idea. Food blogger Jenna Weber shares her inspiration for this unique tasting dish in a full post on the Fresh Tastes blog.
Jenna Weber is half of the Fresh Tastes blog team. She graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in 2008 and, since then, has worked as a pastry chef, bread baker and freelance food editor. Currently, Jenna blogs full-time on EatLiveRun.com where her delicious daily recipes and quirky culinary musings appeal to thousands. She lives in Northern California and, when not in the kitchen, can usually be found on her yoga mat.
Acorn Squash Stuffed with Bread, Cheese, and Bacon
- Calories 600
- Fat 40.6 g (62.4%)
- Saturated 18.4 g (92.0%)
- Carbs 43.1 g (14.4%)
- Fiber 6.1 g (24.5%)
- Sugars 3.7 g
- Protein 20.0 g (40.0%)
- Sodium 835.8 mg (34.8%)
Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crispy. Remove, crumble, and set aside. In the same pan, cook the shallot until beginning to brown, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and sage and cook just until fragrant, about one minute (don't burn the garlic).
In a medium bowl, combine the shallot mixture, bread cubes, cheese, and bacon. Pour in the cream and stir until everything is moistened. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of pepper.
Rub a little olive oil into the squash, coating the sliced edges and the cavity. Sprinkle over some salt and pepper. Divide the stuffing between the halves, packing it in so that the squash can still lie flat when turned upside-down.
→ At this point, the stuffed squash halves can be refrigerated for up to 24 hours before cooking. Add 5 to 10 minutes to the total cooking time.
Carefully place the squash halves upside-down in a baking dish. Bake for about one hour, until the flesh of the squash can be easily pierced with a knife. If the juices and cheeses start to burn after 30 or 45 minutes, add a few tablespoons of water to the dish. Once the squash is cooked, use a spatula (or two) to flip them over. Serve as is or slice down the middle.
The inside pocket of each squash will be a little different. Mine was quite small, so I scooped out a little extra flesh to make room for all of the stuffing.
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan. This post was originally published November 2010.
Elizabeth Passarella is the author of the essay collection Good Apple and a contributing editor at Southern Living. A former editor at Real Simple and Vogue, she has spent more than 20 years writing about food, travel, home design, and parenting in outlets including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Parents, Martha Stewart Weddings, Coastal Living, Airbnb, and The Kitchn. Elizabeth grew up in Memphis, Tennessee and now lives with her husband and three children in New York City.