Fork tender roasted acorn squash stuffed with savory and sweet flavors of sausage, sweet potato, apple, onions and a touch of marsala wine. Sausage stuffed acorn squash are a healthy, flavorful and filling Fall themed meal!
Why I Love Acorn Squash Stuffed with Sausage
A whole lot of Fall on a plate right here and we are here for it! There are so many reasons to run out to the store and grab the simple ingredients for this main dish of goodness, but here are a few key players:
- Wholesome food goodness
- Perfect combo of sweet and savory
- Healthy and filling
- Awesome entree or split it up as a fun side
All great things right? It's hard to nail down the best part. For me, the combo of the sweet potato with the savory sausage and sweet apple is probably my number one. The sneaky marsala adds just the right amount of sweetness.
What Does Acorn Squash Taste Like?
On its own, acorn squash is mild and pleasant. It's a smidge naturally sweet, but not nearly as sweet as butternut squash or pumpkin. Which makes it perfect for stuffing with super flavorful ingredients.
The roasted acorn squash will break down sugars as it roasts and naturally sweetened, then the stuffing will add more flavor and herbs to the mix.
It's a win win for everyone.
Can You Eat The Skin?
Absolutely. It's a matter of personal preference though. I'm not a huge fan of the skin from a texture perspective but if a few pieces end up on my fork it's still tasty.
The nicest thing is the 'meat' of the squash easily pulls away from the skin so there's no need to peel it. Which would be difficult and annoying.
Ingredients and Substitutions
Most of the ingredients for sausage stuffed acorn squash used will be found either in your pantry already, or you can go to your local grocery store for some items. This recipe doesn't call for any wild exotic ingredients so it's really straightforward to bring together.
- Vegetables - Acorn Squash, sweet potatoes and a yellow onion. These are the basic foundations of this recipe and I would recommend using anything else. If you do and it works, let me know!
- Sausage Meat - Pick your favorite! I like to use Italian chicken sausage but you can go for turkey, pork or meatless sausage can be used to make this vegetarian. If going all veggie on this, substitute the chicken stock for veggie stock.
- Apples - Any variety of apple will work in this recipe, my favorites are honeycrisp, gala and pink lady!
- Wine - I always chose marsala wine for this as it adds the perfect amount of sweetness, but you can substitute this with additional chicken stock if you prefer.
- Greens - Use your favorite greens! Spinach, baby kale, swiss chard, etc.
- Cheese - Cheese is an optional topping. Shredded parmesan, goat cheese, Monterey jack, or feta crumbles are all tasty choices!
How to Make Sausage and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash
Roast squash. Stuff it with tasty things.
You'll want to prep the squash by cutting it in half horizontally and a small piece of each end off so it lays flat on the sheet tray. It is shaped like an acorn after all. Then in a pumpkin-like fashion scoop all the guts out (seeds and the stringy texture in the center of the acorn squash.) Try not to go through the bottom, but it's not the end of the world if you do.
Alternatively, you can cut the squash vertically but the halves may not sit perfectly on the pan.
TIP: If they're particularly hard to cut, microwave for 1 minute first. Scoop out the seeds and stringy center.
Cut each end of the acorn squash then down the center.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Use a fork to pierce the inside of the acorn squash all over. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 35-40 minutes.
While the squash bakes, make the stuffing. Cook the onions, garlic, and sweet potatoes until the potatoes are mostly cooked.
Add the sausage and cook until scrambled. Deglaze the pan with marsala, cook for 1 minute. Repeat with the chicken stock.
Add the apples and greens to the pan, cooking for about 2 to 3 minutes until the greens are wilted and almost all the liquid has cooked off.
Generously spoon the stuffing into the squash, packing in lightly. Top with cheese if desired, and bake at 400°F for 8-10 minutes.
TIP: My favorite pan for cooking the stuffing is a nice large cast iron pan. They tend to be a little bit more forgiving if the pan gets a bit too hot. Stainless steel or non stick will work great on this recipe, too.
Once it has fully cooled down, just place any leftovers in an airtight container into the fridge, it will last about 3 days. To reheat it, cover it in some foil and pop it into the oven until piping hot.
Yes of course - just make sure it cools down completely first before storing it in an airtight container. Defrost it thoroughly before reheating it and follow the reheating steps above.
Absolutely! If you're skipping the sausage, try substituting barley, farro or wild rice instead (cook it in a separate pan first then add it). Chicken stock can be substituted for vegetable stock.
How to Meal Prep Stuffed Acorn Squash
If trying to meal prep or make ahead, you can stuff the acorn squash with the sausage and apple filling then store or freeze for later. When you're ready to eat just bring to room temperature first, then roast for about 15 minutes in a preheated 400°F oven. Easy!
Do I Need To Add Chicken Stock?
For super tender, super flavorful, not dried out bites of Fall bliss, the chicken stock is added to the pan of stuffing ingredients and simmered until near evaporation.
Most of the liquid will be absorbed by the potatoes which will help to soften them, but it also adds moisture if using chicken sausage, which can be a little dryer than regular pork sausage since it has less fat.
What Do You Serve With Stuffed Acorn Squash?
Typically, we eat this as the main dish. It's protein and veggies and fruit all in one, like a food pyramid powerhouse. And it's not like it's hard to make, but there's a fair amount of steps involved that I feel this is enough to enjoy as is.
However, if you're in the mood for a little more with your sausage stuffed acorn squash, this is perfect alongside a roasted chicken or to serve at Thanksgiving with the turkey. You can just slice up the squash and serve it as a side dish full of Autumn flavor!
Whichever way you decide to dish it out, these cute Fall stuffed squash are going to be warm and comforting with seriously drool-worthy flavors.
Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash
- 2 acorn squash
- 6 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
- 1 large sweet potato (diced)
- 1 yellow onion (diced)
- 1 pound loose sweet Italian sausage (chicken, pork, meatless - any style!)
- ¼ cup marsala wine
- ½ cup chicken stock
- 1 apple (diced, see notes)
- 2 cups baby spinach
- ¼ cup goat cheese, shredded parmesan, or monterey jack (optional)
- salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Optional: line a sheet tray with parchment paper. Cut a small piece of the top and bottom off each acorn squash so they will lay flat on the sheet tray. Cut each acorn squash horizontally across the center and scoop out the stringy, seeded center.
- Poke each piece of squash several times with a fork, drizzle with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in a 400°F oven for 35-40 minutes. While the squash roasts, prepare the stuffing.
- In a large sauté pan, heat the remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high to high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onions, cook for about 1 minutes before adding the garlic, cook for another minute then add the sweet potatoes. Season with salt and pepper and stir frequently until the sweet potatoes are just starting to soften and the onions are translucent.
- Add the sausage to the pan and break into small pieces as it cooks. Once the sausage is almost completely browned, about 3 to 4 minutes, deglaze the pan with the marsala wine. Allow the wine to reduce, about 1 minute, then add the chicken stock to the pan.
- Add the apples and greens, reduce the heat to medium and sauté until almost all the liquid is absorbed. Once the acorn squash is fork tender, scoop the filling into the squash. If opting for cheese, sprinkle or crumble over the top. Return the squash to the oven for 8-10 minutes.
- You can use any apple you have handy, you just want it to be a medium sized apple. I tend to stock my fridge with Honeycrisp since those are my fav, but gala tend to be the easiest to find, have great flavor, on the sweet side, but sturdy enough to hold up during cooking.
- If trying to meal prep or make ahead, you can fill the squash with the filling then store or freeze for later. When you're ready to eat just bring to room temperature first, then roast for 15-20 minutes in a preheated 400°F oven.
- To eat, just dig in! The skin of the squash is edible, but you can just scoop the inside meat of the squash away from the skin.
- You can easily microwave to reheat or pop in the oven or toaster oven to crisp up the filling.
- One stuffed squash makes a great main dish or cut in half and serve as a side dish.