An Awesome Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe
Stuffed Acorn Squash is my new cold weather food of choice. Although it takes a bit of work to make this tasty dish, it’s well worth it. On a cold winter evening, there’s nothing quite so delightful as sitting down to a warm meal like this.
Last fall, my sister in law made this recipe for us at Christmas. I’d never eaten acorn squash before, but immediately realized my life was more complete. This year, I’ve made it almost every week since it started getting cold.
Stuffed acorn squash recipes appear to be all the rage right now. Google it and you’ll find no shortage of recipes. You can experiment with the “stuffing” part and find something that is uniquely you.
Health Benefits of Acorn Squash
I enjoy knowing the health benefits of the food I eat. It makes it taste better I think.
Acorn squash is a winter squash, and extremely nutrient dense considering its size. It also possesses a wide variety of nutritional advantages.
For example, a single serving of acorn squash has 9g of dietary fiber. That’s 1/3 your daily requirement! It’s also loaded with vitamin C, A, potassium, calcium, manganese, magnesium, copper, iron, and phosphorous.
It also has a lot of carbs (the kind without simple sugars). For runners that is good news, but all that fiber might cause other issues…
Making Stuffed Acorn Squash
Here is the original recipe. We have made a few adaptations (see below). You can serve it as a side, or a stand alone meal. It just depends on how hungry you are, and how much fiber you want to get at once.
The prep and cooking time takes about 60 minutes. That might seem daunting, but you can use some of that time to set the table and get most of the kitchen cleaned up. It only requires some basic mufti-tasking.
- 3 small acorn squash
- 2 Cups peeled and diced parsnip ( two medium sized)
- 1 lb Italian chicken sausage, browned
- 1 diced apple ( fuji or gala)
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 Cup (packed) chopped kale
- 2 T packed, chopped sage
- 2 T Maple syrup
- ½ Cup maple glazed pecans (cook pecans in saute pan in maple syrup to cover, and a bit of brown sugar until thickly coated)
- 3 T Olive oil
- Splash of hard cider, white wine, or something like that
- Salt & pepper
- Fresh nutmeg
I’m going to share my instructions for making this the most efficient way I’ve found. Read all instructions before beginning… it will make your life a lot easier.
First, gather all ingredients and set them on the counter.
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Wash and cut Acorn Squash lengthwise and scoop out seeds with a spoon.
- Brush insides with a mix of 1 T olive oil and 1 T maple syrup.
- Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper and lay skin side up on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil.
- Roast until you can easily pierce through skin with a fork (about 40 – 45 minutes).
- Remove from the oven and gently turn over with spatula or tongs. They will be soft, so be careful not to mash them.
While squash is roasting in the oven do this…
- Brown Italian chicken sausage and prepare the pecans.
- While sausage is browning, chop and prepare as many ingredients as you can until it is done.
- When sausage is done, set aside.
- In the same pan, saute parsnips and onions in 2 T olive oil, on medium heat, until tender, 15-20 minutes.
- Finish chopping any remaining ingredients.
- Add apples and sage, and saute until apples are tender. You may need to add a little more olive oil or water so it doesn’t dry out/stick.
- This is a good time to start cleaning up. Stir the mixture occasionally, but mostly let it sit there until everything is soft.
- Add salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste.
- Splash with a wine/cider, add kale and pecans.
- When wine has evaporated, add 1 T maple syrup.
- Add sausage back in and taste for salt.
- Let it simmer until squash is done roasting.
When Squash is done roasting, do this…
- Fill each squash with the mixture you just made, and place back in the oven at 350 F for 15 minutes.
- Serve and enjoy!
There are a couple of easy things you can do to adapt this recipe.
- Use less maple syrup. It will be less sweat, but perhaps a little healthier.
- Spinach can be substituted for Kale.
- Any ground meat can be used.
- Hazelnuts make a fantastic substitution for pecans.
- Top with Parmesan cheese for an additional flavor kick.
With the holidays coming up, this recipe would make a great addition to any meal. If you make it, report back on how it turned out!