This easy Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash recipe is a beautiful dish that’s perfect for frosty weather. Flavored with onion, garlic, fresh apples, cranberries and pecans, it’s a vegetarian delight that’s warm, hearty and healthy!
An Easy Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe
Stuffed acorn squash is a really showy dish, which makes it the perfect festive main course for winter nights. The squash themselves have a beautiful shape, and the dark rind looks dramatic compared to the delicate golden flesh.
When you fill them with a colorful and delicious stuffing, it’s kind of… is “stunning” the right word? Yep, thought so! And the flavors are just as stunning as the presentation!
AND! This is the most perfect recipe for your Thanksgiving leftovers! 🍁
Is Stuffed Acorn Squash Vegetarian?
Yes, this stuffed acorn squash recipe is 100% vegetarian! If you wish to add meat, or use chicken broth instead of vegetable broth, that will definitely work. But, this particular combo is so good, you won’t miss the meat one bit!
This dish is full of wintery flavors, thanks to the root veggies, fruit, nuts and sage. Onions and garlic round it out and make it sing!
- Acorn Squash: Choose firm, deeply colored acorn squash, as unblemished as possible.
- Onion: I use one small yellow onion, but you could substitute a red, white, or sweet onion as well!
- Fresh Garlic: Press or mince three cloves of garlic. You can also substitute ¼ teaspoon or so of garlic powder.
- Olive Oil: For drizzling and sautéing.
- Rice: You’ll need 1-½ to 2 cups of cooked rice, or you can substitute cooked quinoa.
- Sweet Potato: I like to use ¾ cup of chopped, pre-cooked sweet potato or carrots. Make sure they’re precooked, otherwise they won’t be cooked through and tender.
- Chopped Cranberries: These add such beautiful color, and a big pop of flavor!
- Chopped Apple: Use your favorite apples to get the flavor you want. A Golden Delicious, for instance, would add a mellow sweetness, while Granny Smith would be tart and vibrant.
- Pecans: These nuts have a buttery sweetness and are just spectacular with squash. Other nuts would be fine too!
- Fresh Parsley: There’s nothing quite like a bit of fresh parsley for color and flavor.
- Sage: That quintessential holiday season flavor? Yep, it’s sage! 🪴
- Salt & Pepper: To taste.
- Broth: I like to use low-sodium vegetable broth here.
How to Make Stuffed Acorn Squash
This recipe is nice and easy to make, which is partly why it’s such a go-to for me. What can I say, I like things to be easy! Also, this is a great recipe for leftover roasted carrots or sweet potatoes.
- Pre-Bake Squash: Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Cut the squash in half and remove the seeds. Then, place the prepared squash in a large baking dish, cut-side down, add half an inch of water, and bake for 15 minutes.
- Saute Onions & Garlic: In the meantime, heat up 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a skillet set over medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until softened. Stir in the garlic and cook for 20 seconds. Remove from the heat.
- Combine Stuffing Ingredients: To the onions and garlic, add the cooked rice, cooked sweet potatoes or carrots, cranberries, chopped apples, pecans, parsley, and sage. Season everything with salt and pepper.
- Stuff Squash: Remove your acorn squash from the oven and pour out the liquid from the baking dish. Flip over the squash. Fill each one with stuffing and drizzle with olive oil.
- Bake: Add the vegetable broth to the baking dish, and cover the whole thing with foil. Bake for 30 minutes, or until squash are cooked and soft to the touch.
Tips for the Best Roasted Squash
Want some tips for the very best stuffed acorn squash? You can find them right here! Keep reading for my best advice.
- Cut with Caution: Winter squash can have a thick, firm rind that’s difficult to cut, so use extra care. Some chefs recommend cutting squash on a clean kitchen towel to help keep the squash from sliding around on a cutting board. You should also have a very sharp knife; forcing a dull knife through the squash makes it more likely that you’ll lose control of the blade.
- Look for a Matte Finish: With acorn squash, a good way to tell that the squash will have a hearty and sweet flavor is to choose one with a matte or dull rind. A shiny appearance likely means that the squash was picked before it was fully ripe.
- Double Up! If you’d like to double this recipe, go for it! The stuffing is very forgiving and it’s very easy to make more, cut up some extra squash, and serve a feast!
I highly recommend pairing your stuffed acorn squash with one of these tasty and healthy homemade sides.
- Brussels Sprouts: I love serving these beautiful golden squash with a great veggie side like Instant Pot Creamy Brussels Sprouts. The combo of these winter veggies can’t be beat!
- Asparagus: Another beautiful, healthy green vegetable for the win! These Asparagus Phyllo Bundles are served with a delicious honey mustard sauce that complements the meal perfectly.
- Green Bean Casserole: A healthy version of this holiday classic, my Green Bean Casserole is a comforting and delicious side for these yummy squash.
How to Store and Reheat Leftovers
Storing leftover stuffed squash is almost too easy. They’ll stay fresh for a few days if stored in the fridge, and reheating them couldn’t be more simple.
- To Refrigerate: Place leftovers in airtight containers and store in the fridge for up to three days.
- To Reheat: Place leftovers in a baking dish and cover tightly with foil. Bake at 375˚F until completely heated through.
Stuffed Acorn Squash
- 2 acorn squash, halved, seeds removed
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1-½ to 2 cups cooked rice, you can also use cooked quinoa
- ¾ cup chopped cooked sweet potato or cooked carrots
- ⅔ cup dried cranberries, chopped
- ½ cup finely chopped apples
- ½ cup pecan pieces
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- ¾ cup low sodium vegetable broth
- Preheat oven to 375˚F.
- Transfer prepared squash to a large baking dish and place it cut-side down.
- Fill dish with ½ inch water and bake for 15 minutes.
- In the meantime, heat up 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet set over medium heat.
- To the oil add the onions and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until softened.
- Stir in garlic and cook for 20 seconds.
- Remove from heat and transfer to a large heatproof bowl.
- To the bowl add the cooked rice, cooked sweet potatoes or carrots, cranberries, chopped apples, pecans, parsley, and sage.
- Season with salt and pepper and mix to combine. Taste for salt and pepper, and adjust.
- Remove acorn squash from oven. Pour out the liquid that was in the pan.
- Flip over the squash so it’s face side up in the pan.
- Fill each cavity with the prepared stuffing.
- Drizzle tops with remaining olive oil.
- Add vegetable broth to the pan.
- Cover the pan with foil.
- Bake for 30 minutes, or until squash are cooked and soft to the touch.
- Serve as a side dish by cutting each halved squash into two pieces.
- Serves 8, as a side dish.
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.
Other Vegetarian Recipes
You have to check out these yummy meatless recipes next! Meal prepping just got a whole lot easier.