This stuffed acorn squash screams fall. Oven roasted acorn squash, stuffed with Italian sausage, apples, sage, and topped with crunchy parmesan panko. This acorn squash recipe will be on repeat all fall long.
Acorn squash is well known for, ya know, looking like a giant acorn! Even though it technically belongs to the summer squash family, it is most typically grouped with the winter squashes. It can be prepared sweet or savory, I decided to go the savory route this time.
Prepping the acorn squash
Due to the hard skin on an acorn squash, I recommend using a large and sharp chef’s knife. I carefully cut it down the middle exposing the mid section with all the seeds. You can cut it either way horizontally, if you cut it long ways it will retain the acorn shape. I cut it ‘hamburger style’ (such an official cutting term) because I can stuff more in it.
Due to the shape of the squash, it won’t stand on it’s own. I used my knife to shave a flat surface allowing the acorn squash to stand while cooking.
Once you have scooped out the seeds, place the squash on a baking sheet. Brush olive oil onto the acorn squash, followed by kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. To ensure the squash is fully cooked through, I roasted it in the oven for 30 minutes or until just fork tender. The size of the squash can affect cook time, but you don’t want it too soft because it will be going back into the oven with the stuffing.
For the stuffing I used mild Italian sausage, diced apples, celery, onion, garlic, fresh thyme and fresh sage. In a dutch oven or sauté pan, first I cooked the Italian sausage through with some olive oil. I add extra olive oil, because I like the flavor that the sausage infuses into the oil and I leave it there to sauté the vegetables. Use a slotted spoon to remove the sausage and leave all the flavorful oil and bits behind.
I sautéd the onion and celery first, to soften. Then I added in the diced apples, garlic, herbs, and some kosher salt/ fresh ground black pepper. Allow all of this to sauté together for a few minutes. Add back in the Italian sausage and mix to combine. This is the perfect time to taste the stuffing and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Stuffing the acorn squash
Once the acorn squash is roasted and the stuffing is complete, carefully spoon the stuffing into each squash. I then mixed together Italian panko breadcrumbs with freshly grated parmesan cheese and sprinkled it over the top of the squash.
Place the stuffed acorn squashes into the oven for 15 minutes or until the parmesan panko breading has toasted on top and the squash is fork tender.
You’re left with deliciously roasted acorn squash with the most delicious filling. To eat, use a fork to scoop out the filling and acorn squash. You can discard the squash skin.
The squash is best enjoyed freshly roasted. You can prepare the stuffing in advance, but I recommend freshly roasting the squash for best taste and texture.
Things you’ll need:
- Chef’s knife
- Vegetable peeler for apples
- Baking sheet
- Dutch oven or sauté pan
- Small bowl to mix breadcrumbs
- Cheese grater
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Here are some other fall recipes!
- Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs with Polenta
- Pumpkin Bread with Cinnamon Crumble
- Chicken Pot Pie
- Green Bean Casserole with Fried Shallots
- Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad
- Cast Iron Cornbread
- 3 acorn squash
- 3 tbsp + 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb mild Italian sausage
- 1 small yellow onion, diced (1/2 cup)
- 1 apple, skin peeled, core removed, diced (1 1/2 cup)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 ribs celery, diced (1 cup)
- 1 tbsp fresh sage, chopped
- 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- 1/3 cup Italian panko breadcrumbs
- 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Using a sharp chef's knife, carefully cut the acorn squash in half. Cut a flat spot on the bottom so the acorn squash does not roll around while roasting. Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds and stringy pulp, discard. Careful not to scoop too far through the bottom or it will cause a hole and the stuffing will later fall out.
- Brush olive oil evenly onto the squash. Sprinkle a pinch of kosher salt and black pepper onto each squash to season.
- Roast for 30 minutes until you can just pierce with a fork (it will be going back into the oven with the stuffing to finish cooking through). [see note]
- While the acorn squash is roasting, in a dutch oven over medium/high heat, add in the 3 tbsp of olive oil and the Italian sausage. Fully cook the sausage through, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the sausage and leave the oils/small bits in the pan. Set the sausage aside.
- Lower the heat to medium, add in the diced onion and celery, sauté for 4 minutes until they begin to soften. Add in the apples, sage, thyme, garlic, a pinch of kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. Sauté for 4 minutes. Return the sausage back into the dutch oven with the vegetables and stir to combine. Allow flavors to meld for 3 minutes.
- Using a spoon, evenly add the stuffing into the acorn squashes.
- In a small bowl, mix together the panko bread crumbs and parmesan cheese. Sprinkle over the top of each acorn squash.
- Place the stuffed squashes into the oven for 15 minutes. The breadcrumbs/parmesan should be toasted brown. Remove from the oven and serve.
- Size of acorn squash will affect the roasting time, larger squash may need an extra 10 minutes. Squash should be fork tender.
- Acorn squash is best enjoyed freshly roasted. For leftovers, reheat in the oven at 375 for 15-20 minutes.
- When eating, I do not eat the skin because it can be tough and bitter.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 512Total Fat: 35gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 24gCholesterol: 66mgSodium: 731mgCarbohydrates: 29gFiber: 6gSugar: 6gProtein: 22g
*Note: Nutrition information is an estimate. Values vary based on different brands and ingredients*