This Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash recipe is exactly what we crave when the air gets crisp and squash is in season. It’s made with roasted acorn squash halves, ground pork, vegetables, fresh herbs, dried cranberries, chopped pecans, and shredded Parmesan to encapsulate the flavors of the autumn season. With a total time of under an hour, it’s a yummy weeknight dinner you can serve on its own or with a variety of side dishes to fill up a hungry crowd.
The post was created in partnership with the Minnesota Pork Board.
Highlights: Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe
- Seasonal: the use of seasonal fruit and veggies helps keep this recipe budget-friendly and means you get even more nutrients out of your meal
- Versatile: you can mix and match different proteins, herbs, and veggies to suit your flavor preferences and dietary needs
- Filling: High-protein and full of fiber and healthy monounsaturated fats, this stuffed winter squash is a nutritious low-carb recipe sure to keep you full for hours to come
- Great for meal prep: leftovers can be transferred to an airtight container and stored in the refrigerator for up to four days. Reheat them in the oven, and they’ll taste good as new!
Ingredients To Make Stuffed Acorn Squash with Sausage
Stuffed acorn squash with sausage uses a variety of fresh ingredients to create a taste and texture that is restaurant-worthy yet so easy to make at home. Here’s what you need:
- Acorn squash – you could also use butternut squash
- Ground pork – we use ground pork to make a homemade pork sausage, but any kind of sausage mixture could work, such as as sweet Italian sausage, chicken sausage, or turkey sausage – just be sure to remove the casings if using one of those
- Veggies – you’ll need cremini or button mushrooms, yellow onion, cloves garlic, and baby spinach
- Apple – core and dice an apple into small pieces. Pink Lady, Cripps, or Granny Smith varieties work well
- Herbs – you’ll need fresh sage, fresh thyme leaves, and fresh rosemary leaves. May sub 1 teaspoon of the dried herb version of each of these, if preferred
- Spices – salt and black pepper to taste
- Dried cranberries – raisins also work well
- Toasted pecans – omit these for a nut-free recipe
- Parmesan cheese – omit to make this stuffed squash dairy-free
Find the ingredient list with exact measurements in the recipe card below.
Ingredient Spotlight: Acorn Squash
- Acorn squash is a type of winter squash that belongs to the Cucurbitaceae gourd family, which also includes pumpkin, butternut squash, and zucchini
- Acorn squash is an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin B9, iron, potassium, and manganese – all of which are important for immune health.
- The nutrition information of one serving (205 grams) of cooked acorn squash is 115 kcals (calories), 2 grams of protein, 0 grams of polyunsaturated fat, 30 grams of carbohydrates, and 9 grams of fiber
How To Make Stuffed Acorn Squash
With minimal prep time and a cook time of less than an hour, this Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash is a delicious recipe you’ll make again and again.
- Preheat the oven, and mist a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
- Prepare the squash. Cut each squash in half crosswise, and trim both ends. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy insides.
- Bake. Spray the cut sides of each squash with cooking spray or lightly drizzle with olive oil and add a sprinkle of salt. Then, place each half cut side down on the prepared baking sheet, and bake until fork tender.
- Cook the sausage mixture. While the squash bakes, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and mist it with cooking spray. Add the ground pork, mushrooms, onions, and apples; sauté, breaking the meat into pieces, until the pork is cooked through and the onions are soft. Add the herbs and spices; cook until fragrant.
- Add the spinach. Stir in the spinach, and reduce the heat to medium. Cook until the spinach begins to wilt, stirring occasionally.
- Add the remaining ingredients. Remove the skillet from the heat, and stir in the dried cranberries, pecans, and Parmesan cheese. Adjust the seasonings to taste.
- Stuff the squash. Scoop the meat mixture into the squash halves, and top with extra Parmesan cheese. Then, bake again until the cheese is melted, and serve warm.
Recipe Notes From Dietitian Jess
Registered Dietitian Jess developed this recipe and has these tips for you:
- When selecting acorn squash, go for those that are on the larger side (medium-large squash)
- Any extra filling that doesn’t fit into the squash can be baked in a ramekin right alongside the squash. It’s delicious as is and served over cooked rice or wild rice.
- Press the filling into the acorn squash and mound it slightly. How much you use will depend on the size of the hole in your squash, but don’t be afraid to fill it up
- In a pinch you can use a seasoned sausage mixture, such as breakfast pork sausage
- If you prefer a sweeter flavor, sprinkle the inside of the squash with a ½ teaspoon of brown sugar or add a drizzle of maple syrup at the end
Tip! Picking Acorn Squash
For the best results, select acorn squash that have smooth, mostly green skin. Each squash should feel heavy for its size. This is how you know they’re ripe and will taste delicious!
The baking time will vary depending on the size of your squash. Watch them closely, and remove the squash halves as soon as the squash flesh looks slightly caramelized and soft.
How to Serve
One of our favorite main entree recipes, this stuffed squash recipe can easily be enjoyed on its own as a complete meal that includes several food groups while also meeting many special diets, including gluten free, grain free, egg free, and low carb. It also pairs well with a variety of sides, such as wild rice, brown rice, or cauliflower rice, as well as air fryer Brussels sprouts, if you want even more veggies.
- 2 medium to large acorn squash, washed and patted dry
- Cooking spray
- 1 lb. ground pork
- 8 ounces cremini or button mushrooms, finely chopped
- ½ medium yellow onion, diced small (about 1 ½ cups)
- 1 small apple, cored and diced small (about 1 cup) Pink Lady/Cripps or Granny Smith work well
- 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage (or 1 teaspoon dried sage)
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
- 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, minced (or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed)
- ½ – ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 (5-ounce) bag baby spinach
- ⅓ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup toasted, chopped pecans
- ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese + more for sprinkling on top
- Preheat the oven to 425℉. Mist a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside. Cut each squash in half crosswise (not through the stem) then trim both ends of each squash just enough so that each halve will sit up like a bowl. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and stringy insides.
- Spray the cut sides of each squash with cooking spray then sprinkle with salt. Place each squash halve cut side down on the baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until tender. When the squash is done, remove from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 375℉.
- While the squash is baking, place a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the skillet is hot, mist with cooking spray then add the ground pork, mushrooms, onions, and apples. Use a spatula to break up the pork and cook for 9-10 minutes or until the pork is cooked through and the onions are soft.
- Add the garlic, sage, thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper to the mixture. Stir and cook for an additional 30 seconds or until the garlic is fragrant.
- Stir the spinach into the meat mixture and reduce the heat to medium. Continue cooking for 2-3 minutes or until the spinach is wilted, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the dried cranberries, pecans, and ¼ cup Parmesan cheese. Taste and season with additional salt if needed.
- Scoop the mixture into the baked squash halves, mounding them as needed to use up all of the filling. Sprinkle each squash halve with a little more Parmesan.
- Bake the stuffed squash for 8-10 minutes or the cheese is melted. Remove from the oven and serve.
- Leftovers may be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
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When selecting acorn squash, go for those that are on the larger side of medium (medium-large squash).
Any extra filling that doesn’t fit into the squash can be baked in a ramekin right alongside the squash. It’s delicious as is and served over cooked rice or wild rice.
Press the filling into the acorn squash and mound it slightly. How much you use will depend on the size of the hole in your squash, but don’t be afraid to fill it up.
In a pinch you can use a seasoned sausage mixture, such as breakfast pork sausage.
- Serving Size: 1 stuffed squash half
- Calories: 425
- Fat: 19 g
- (Sat Fat: 4 g)
- Sodium: 776 mg
- Carbohydrate: 36 g
- (Fiber: 12 g
- Sugar: 12 g)
- Protein: 32 g
- Cholesterol: 73 mg
© The Real Food Dietitians
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of squash is stuffed with sausage?
Acorn squash is one of our favorite winter squash for stuffing with this delicious pork sausage mixture. Butternut squash is another variety that is often used for recipes like this.
What temperature do you cook stuffed acorn squash?
Bake the squash at 425℉, then reduce the heat to 375℉ to finish baking the stuffed squash.
What’s the best meat to use for stuffed squash?
We think the flavors of ground pork are a perfect match for the seasonings in this recipe and the nutty flavor of the acorn squash.
Is ground pork lean?
Many people don’t know that ground pork is a very lean cut of pork. It’s 98% lean. Other lean cuts of pork include pork tenderloin, sirloin pork chop, ribeye pork chop, New York pork chop, New York pork roast, and Porterhouse pork chop.
The photos in this blog post were taken by Rachel Cook of Half Acre House.
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