These golden yellow Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash are a beauty to the eyes. These gorgeous veggie bowls with their scalloped, caramelized edges are stuffed with the most delicious sausage stuffing…
This is it!! Introducing the Fall dish that is not only bursting with flavors, but Holiday worthy fancy. This sweet and savory stuffed acorn squash is simple at its core.
Just some caramelized onions, a few bell peppers, some sprinkling of herbs and, of course, the major flavor booster in the form of Italian sausage… and you get yourself this beauty!
Fall is almost here. That means warm spices, apples, soups, stews and squash… Lots and lots of squash. From pumpkin to butternut squash to spaghetti squash to acorn, they are all around.
Of all, I feel acorn squash is the prettiest when cooked with its scalloped edges and beautiful golden yellow color.
We love to stuff our veggies year around, like our favorite Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers or Stuffed Zucchini Boats. It’s a perfect marriage of your veggies with any protein of your choice, and it turns up into one healthy nutritious meal.
So when it comes to winter produce, aka acorn squash, of course we are “stuffing it”. We are keeping it pretty simple.
You don’t need to do much when the sweet and nutty flavor of acorn squash get matched to savory and a little spicy Italian sausage.
Just a few extra add-ons and you get yourself one hearty meal on any ordinary day, or some good looking side dish or appetizer for your Holiday table.
Why this Recipe Works
- Bold Flavors: The Italian sausage and red chili flakes give the dish a hearty, spice-kissed kick that’s balanced beautifully by the sweetness of the apple and caramelized onions.
- Seasonal Ingredients: Acorn squash is at its peak during fall and winter, making this a fantastic dish for those cooler months. The colors of the squash and bell peppers also make this dish visually autumnal.
- Nutritional Balance: Squash is rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, while the sausage provides protein, making this a well-rounded meal in terms of nutrition.
- Versatility: This dish can be served as a main course or as a side, fitting seamlessly into various meal plans. You can even switch up the ingredients for the stuffing according to what’s seasonal or to match your personal tastes.
- Impressive Presentation: When you serve this dish, it looks like you’ve spent hours in the kitchen, but it’s actually pretty simple to prepare.
- Acorn squash – Find them large enough so they can be scooped into bowls that can be stuffed with sausage.
- Italian Sausage – Today we used spicy, as we needed to compliment the sweetness of squash. You can use any mild variety of your choice. Remove the casing when cooking. You can use ground Italian sausage too, if that’s on hand.
- Apple – A little sweetness from apple goes a long way in this dish. We peeled the skin but you can leave it on.
- Veggies – Onion, bell peppers (we used red and yellow for color).
- Garlic – Freshly chopped.
- Thyme – Dried.
- Red chili flakes – For a touch of heat.
- Parmesan cheese – We used a block of cheese and freshly grated it.
- Olive oil
How to Cut Acorn Squash
People cut it in two different ways. One is to cut the squash in the middle, through the stem. The other way is cut them in half across the middle “not” through the stem. We love it the second way, as when you cut it that way it gets you those pretty scalloped edges.
You would want your sharpest knife to cut any winter squash, and acorn squash is no exception. Put it on a steady cutting board and slice off the smallest piece possible from top and bottom. This way they will sit flat when you are baking them and ready to serve.
Make a cut in the middle and continue cutting on the same line. If the knife gets stuck and don’t go any further, pull it out and start the cut again on the same line.
Scoop out the seeds using a spoon. Flip them like sitting bowls on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
How to Make Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash
1. Bake the squash: Preheat the oven at 400 degrees. Brush olive oil over the cut, fleshy side of squash and sprinkle a little salt.
Flip them and place them face down (fleshy side down) on a baking sheet and bake them for 30 minutes, or until the squash is fork tender.
2. Prepare the stuffing: While the squash is baking, time to make the delicious savory stuffing. Heat olive oil in a pan and sauté onions till they are caramelized. This will take 10-15 minutes, but will add a ton of flavor to the dish.
Add in bell peppers and garlic and sauté till peppers are soft.
Add in sausage and cook it while crumbling with a spatula. Once the sausage is no longer pink, add in chopped apples along with thyme, red chili pepper flakes and salt. Cook for 4-5 minutes. Stir in grated parmesan cheese.
3. Stuff the squash: When the squash is tender out of oven, flip them over and scoop generous amounts of stuffing into each acorn squash half. They should be brimming with that delicious stuffing.
Sprinkle some more grating parm on top and they are ready to go back in oven.
4. A quick broil: Turn your broiler on in the oven and broil the stuffed acorn squash for 2-3 minutes, or till the parmesan gets melty.
Keep an eye when they broil, as they can easily burn if your broiler is strong. Take them out and praise your handiwork. 🙂
Expert Tips and Notes
- Selecting the Perfect Squash: Look for acorn squash that are uniform in shape and have a deep green color. This will help ensure that they cook evenly.
- Caramelizing Onions: Patience is key when caramelizing onions. The longer you allow them to cook, the more flavorful and sweet they’ll become, which will beautifully complement the spiciness of the sausage.
- Apple Varieties: Choose a firmer apple like Granny Smith or Honeycrisp for a tart counterpoint to the savory sausage. These types hold up well during cooking.
- Advanced Prep: You can prepare the stuffing ahead of time and refrigerate it. Just make sure to bring it to room temperature before stuffing the squash to ensure even cooking.
- Broiler Watch: Keep an eye on your squash when it’s under the broiler. It takes only a few seconds to go from perfectly crispy cheese to burnt.
- Instead of Italian pork sausage, try Italian chicken or turkey sausages. They are leaner options without compromising the flavor. Personally, we love Italian chicken sausages in everything.
- To make it more festive, stir in some dried cranberries along with the apple and you have one hearty Thanksgiving side or an appetizer.
- Add other veggies like mushrooms, or grains like cooked wild rice or quinoa, or even farro in your stuffing.
- Use a lot more parmesan cheese before broiling it for a cheesier version. Play with the cheese. Use other cheeses like feta cheese, goat cheese or mozzarella.
- For the paleo crowd, you can skip the cheese altogether.
Storage and Reheating
They are great in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 3 days.
To reheat, place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet covered with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes. You can also reheat in the microwave.
Can you freeze? Yes. They can be frozen up to 3 months in freezer bags. Let the squash cool to room temperature before freezing. Try to remove as much air out of the freezer bag as you can and they are good for future meals.
To reheat, bake them covered at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Or thaw completely and reheat as mentioned above.
Well, there you go. Start upcoming the fall with a bang. These golden caramelized beauties are a MUST when you if those acorn squash when they start popping up in the market.
We’re sure you are coming back to this recipe again and again. Pin or bookmark it so you can come here in seconds.
Bake this easy hearty meal any day and make your family feel extra special when you take this to the your table.
Sausage Stuffed Butternut Squash, on our Gypsy Plate… enjoy!
- 2 acorn squash
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb pork Italian sausage
- 1 small apple, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 small red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 small yellow red pepper, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp red chili flakes
- ¼ cup grated parmesan + 2 Tbsp for topping (see note 1)
- Salt to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Slice smallest portion off from top and bottom of the squash so it will sit nicely on the plate when flipped. Cut the squash in the middle (not through the stem) and put it on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Brush olive oil all over the fleshy side and put them face down back on the baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes, or until squash is fork tender.
- While squash is in the oven, start cooking the stiffing. Heat olive oil in a pan and sauté onions till caramelized, about 10-15 minutes. Add in bell peppers and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes.
- Add in sausage and crumble it with a spatula until it is brown. Add in chopped apple along with thyme, red chili flakes, salt and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in parmesan cheese.
- Stuff the acorn squash with the stuffing and sprinkle some more parmesan on top.
- Switch the oven to broiler and broil for 2-3 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Keep a close eye while broiling so as not to burn the cheese topping.
- You can make these more cheesy by using more cheese as topping before it goes in for broil.
- You can prepare the stuffing ahead of time and refrigerate it. Just make sure to bring it to room temperature before stuffing the squash to ensure even cooking.
- Keep an eye on your squash when it’s under the broiler. It takes only a few seconds to go from perfectly crispy cheese to burnt.
- Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days. To reheat, place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet covered with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes.
Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 573Total Fat 39gSaturated Fat 13gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 29gCholesterol 67mgSodium 1040mgCarbohydrates 34gFiber 7gSugar 11gProtein 25g
Nutrition information calculated by Nutritionix.
Welcome to GypsyPlate! I'm Alpana, former wordwide tour manager and professional caterer, now full time blogger. I love exploring cuisines from around the world, and my recipes have been featured on sites such as MSN, Parade, Brit + Co, CNET and AOL. You can explore my entire collection of sortable recipes in my Recipe Index or learn more about me here.
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