On the hunt for a budget-friendly main dish that is hearty, comforting, and nourishing? If so, this recipe for Stuffed Acorn Squash is just what you’ve been craving! Featuring sweet winter squash stuffed with chewy ancient grains, your choice of salty breakfast meat, fresh scallions, and plenty of creamy parmesan cheese. This show-stopping sausage stuffed squash entrée brings restaurant-level flavor with bachelor-level effort.
Featured comment: Completely delicious. I made it with spicy Italian sausage and added some fresh thyme. Fabulous! Plus it was very filling. I will definitely make this again.” – Earl
Update: This post was originally published in January 2016. I’ve made updates to the post below to include more information about this acorn stuffed squash recipe.
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About this recipe for stuffed acorn squash
This sausage stuffed squash recipe is slightly sweet, a smidgen salty, perfectly savory, cheesy and herbaceous, with just the right amount of pork goodness. It is hearty and comforting, yet relatively light and healthy. Basically, what I’m trying to say is it’s the jam, and you should make it. ASAP.
If sausage is on sale at the grocery store, consider picking up an extra pack to make these delicious recipes next: Italian Sausage in Soup, Easy Ziti with Sausage, Creamy Sausage Pasta Recipe, or Baked Sausage and Veggies,
Why you’ll love this acorn squash
This recipe for stuffed acorn squash with sausage (or bacon) is:
- Made With Just 10 Ingredients – Don’t you just love a short shopping list? ME TOO.
- Quick & Easy – You only need about 15 minutes worth of prep time, making it an excellent option for a dinner party.
- Hearty & Nutritious – This acorn squash recipe is equal parts stick-to-your-ribs and light, healthy spa fare. In other words, it’s perfect for those times you feel like being naughty but have committed to playing nice.
- Budget-Friendly – When it comes to groceries, meat is far an away the most expensive item on your plate. By using super flavorful sausage or bacon, you can get away with adding only a little bit. The rest of the acorn squash stuffing is made up of grains and veggies, which are some of my favorite rent-week dinner stars.
Ingredients for stuffed acorn squash
As promised, you don’t need much to make this stuffed acorn squash recipe. Here’s what to grab:
- Acorn Squash – These beauties come in a wide color palate, so feel free to have fun. Look for squash that are heavy for their size, unblemished, firm, and have a slightly dull sheen to their skin.
- Unsalted Chicken Stock & Water – Diluting the chicken stock with water helps you achieve risotto-like consistency without breaking the bank.
- Substitutions: Feel free to swap in bone broth or veggie broth.
- Olive Oil – Just regular cooking oil.
- Bacon or Sausage – You can use either (or both!) to make this stuffing for acorn squash. For sausage, I prefer using ground rather than links. Italian sausage is our favorite (typically chicken or turkey sausage if we are feeling healthy), but any variety works here, like sweet, spicy, etc.
- Scallions – Make sure you use both the green and white parts for freshness and color, but keep them separate since you’ll add them at different times.
- Farro – For chewy, whole-grain goodness.
- Substitutions: Swap in pearled barley, spelt berries, wheat berries, Kamut berries, sorghum, brown rice, or oat groats, but note that the cooking times and amount of liquid needed may change.
- Garlic – Fresh is best, but you can use jarred minced garlic or garlic powder in a pinch.
- Dry White Wine – I use Chardonnay, but Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, or Pinot Gris will all work well, too!
- Substitutions: You can also use dry vermouth. If you don’t drink alcohol, swap in a 50/50 split of white wine vinegar and water, an equal amount of apple cider vinegar (no need to dilute it), or more chicken broth and an extra squeeze of lemon juice.
- Lemon Juice – Fresh is always best. To get the most juice from your lemon, give it a firm roll on the countertop for 10-15 seconds before slicing it open.
- Parmesan – For salty, creamy, stretchy yumminess. Be sure to grate your own for the best texture.
- Substitutions: You can use any hard, salty, aged cheese varieties like asiago, pecorino romano, or grana padano.
- Kosher Salt & Pepper – For flavor.
Stuffed squash variations
While I simply love this acorn squash baked with sausage, there’s plenty of room for you to customize the recipe to your liking. Here are a few options to consider:
- Vegetarian Stuffed Acorn Squash – Swap in your favorite plant-based breakfast “meat” like Impossible Foods or Lightlife ground sausage and be sure to use veggie broth. Also, make sure to read the labels on your parmesan cheese, as many are made with animal rennet.
- Vegan Stuffed Acorn Squash – Follow the instructions for the vegetarian option listed above, but swap in your favorite plant-based parmesan instead.
- Stuffed Acorn Squash With Ground Beef – You can also use any other ground meat! Just make sure to spice it up — I like using fennel seeds to replicate some of the sausage flavor, as well as an Italian seasoning blend.
FAQs: farro stuffing for acorn squash
What is Farro?
If you haven’t tried farro before, it’s about time you hop on the ‘ole bandwagon and give this ancient grain a taste. It has a flavor and texture that is similar to barley, or kinda like a whole-grain, wheaty version of risotto.
It’s pasta-like. Slightly chewy. A bit nutty. A little creamy. Totally dreamy. And when it’s combined with ground sausage or bacon, green onions, crisp white wine, and melty cheese as the stuffing for acorn squash? I mean, WOW – so delicious!
What is the best way to cook stuffing for squash?
There are a few ways you can cook this farro stuffing for squash. I cook mine using the risotto method, which is why my farro sausage stuffing acorn squash turned out like a smooth creamy dream. But, you can use whichever method suits you best.
Cooking stuffing for acorn squash
Regardless of which method you use, you will still start with step 2, as directed in the recipe, and cook the bacon. The cooking methods will start to vary at step 3 in the recipe below.
- Method 1 – Risotto Method: Follow directions as instructed in recipe below.
- Method 2 – Oven Method: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Follow directions as instructed in recipe below through step 4 – add in the wine and cook until almost evaporated. Add the toasted farro and stir in 4 cups of chicken stock. Bring just to a simmer. Remove from heat and cover with foil. Poke a few holes in the foil and transfer to the oven. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until grains are cooked through. Remove from the oven and stir in lemon juice, half of the scallion greens and ½ cup parmesan. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Continue with the recipe as instructed, at step 6.
- Method 3 – Stove Top Boil Method: Combine farro, a generous pinch of salt, 4 cups of unsalted chicken stock and 4 cups water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Immediately reduce heat to maintain a simmer, and cook until farro is tender, 25-30 minutes. When done, transfer farro to a colander to drain. Transfer back to the pot and toss with lemon juice, half of scallion greens and ½ cup of the parmesan. Continue with the recipe as instructed, at step 6. Full disclosure – this is my least favorite method to cook farro as it lacks flavor from scallions, garlic and wine.
FAQs: sausage stuffing acorn squash
Do you remove the skin from acorn squash before cooking?
Nope! Since we’re serving this acorn squash as a vessel for stuffing, we’ll keep the skins on to help hold everything together. As you eat your sausage stuffed acorn squash, the skin should release quite easily. It’s also perfectly healthy to eat!
Should you cover acorn squash when baking?
Yes, in this orange and green or white acorn squash stuffed with sausage recipe, I call for loosely tenting the baking dish with foil. This helps to hold in the moisture so the squash flesh is nice and tender.
Can you eat the skin of an acorn squash?
You sure can! Much like the thin skin of delicata squash, it’s perfectly healthy (and dare I say tasty enough) for human consumption. However, if eating squash skin isn’t your jam, it should easily release from the flesh of the squash as you eat it.
Can stuffed acorn squash be made ahead?
Yes, and no. You’re welcome to make the stuffing for the acorn squash a day in advance; however, I would wait to add the meat and cheese until you’re ready to stuff it into the squash and serve. You’re also welcome to prep the acorn squash and do the initial roast in advance, but you’ll want to stuff the squash with sausage and rice, then bake them off one more time right before serving.
Tips for the best acorn squash, stuffed
- Use scissors to cut raw bacon. Many store-bought bacon brands are very slick and floppy, and also kinda stringy, which makes using a chef’s knife to cut them a pain. I’ve found that using kitchen shears makes quick work of it!
- Opt for bulk sausage to avoid having to remove the casing. It can be found in either styrofoam trays or in plastic-wrapped tubes.
- Save the squash seeds for making pepitas to top your favorite squash soup, best sweet potato soup or even squash mash potatoes. Or simply toss them in your garden and see what happens! 🤷♀️
- Work ahead! The sausage stuffing can be made in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If preparing in advance, stir in lemon juice at the end of cooking, but do NOT add in sausage/bacon and cheese. To reheat – add farro and ¼ cup stock to a large saucepan. Cover and steam over medium low heat until soft and warm, stirring occasionally. Stir in bacon/sausage and cheese. Proceed with the recipe as directed.
Serving acorn squash with sausage
Wondering how to eat stuffed acorn squash? Serve them with a fork and knife — the skin is totally edible! It’s also great paired with a simple green salad, some crusty bread, and a glass of crisp white wine. YUM!
I like serving these sausage stuffing acorn squashes for fall and winter dinner parties, as a lighter (and cheaper) alternative to holiday turkey or ham, or whenever I’m in need of some serious comfort food without the guilt trip.
Storing this acorn squash recipe
Any leftovers can be kept in a clean, airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
To reheat, zap for a few minutes in the microwave at about 50% power. Or place the leftover acorn squash in a baking dish and add enough water to cover the bottom of the pan. Lightly tent the dish with foil and rewarm in the oven at 300 degree F for about 15-25 minutes, or until hot throughout.
Can I freeze stuffed acorn squash?
Absolutely. To freeze, allow the sausage stuffed acorn squash to cool completely to room temperature before transferring to an airtight storage container or resealable storage bag. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Transfer the stuffed acorn squash to the refrigerator and thaw overnight before reheating according to the directions above.
Alright, my little pumpkins! I hope this yummy sausage stuffed squash recipe squashed your hunger and left you feeling gourd. Until next time, happy eating!
More winter squash dinner recipes!
If you love this recipe for acorn squash stuffed, try these seasonal favorites next:
- Butternut Squash Pasta
- Unique Dinner with Pumpkin (Italian Shells!)
- Spaghetti Squash Casserole
- Curried Chicken and Squash
Recipe Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash 👇
Stuffed Acorn Squash
- 1 Large Baking Dish (casserole dish) OR deep half baking sheet
- 1 Large Saucepan
- 2 Acorn Squash – cut in half, stem to root; scoop seeds out & discarded
- 4 Cups Unsalted Chicken Stock mixed with 4 Cups of water – warmed (SEE NOTES)
- 1 TBS Olive Oil
- 10-12 ounces Bacon or Sausage – cut into bite sized pieces or removed from casing if using sausage links (SEE NOTES)
- 2 bunches Scallions – thinly sliced; green and white/light green parts separated (about 10 scallions)
- 2 Cups Farro
- 1 clove Garlic - minced
- ½ Cup Dry White Wine (I use Chardonnay)
- 2 tsp Lemon Juice
- ½ cup Parmesan – finely grated, plus more for topping
- Kosher Salt & Pepper – to taste
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Arrange racks to lower middle position. Roast acorn squash halves: Place the squash, cut side down, in a large baking dish. Add enough hot water to fill the pan by ¼’’. Cover the dish loosely with foil and transfer to the oven. Roast until just barely fork-tender, about 30-40 minutes. Remove from oven and pour water out of pan. Flip the cooked squash halves so cut side is facing up, and put them back in the pan. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, prepare the filling (see notes): Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the bacon or sausage and cook, stirring often or breaking up the pork, until cooked through, about 6-9 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer bacon or sausage to a paper towel lined plate and set aside.
- Toast farro: Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pot. Add in the farro and toss to coat. Cook, stirring often, until toasted, about 4-5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
- Add aromatics: Add 1 tablespoon oil to the pot. Add in the scallion whites and season with ¼ teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring, until soft, about 2 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds. Add in the wine and increase heat to medium high. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until almost evaporated, about 2-4 minutes.
- Add toasted grains and slowly add stock 1 cup at a time: Reduce the heat slightly to between medium and medium-high heat. Add in the toasted farro and 1 cup warm stock mixture. Stir until almost all liquid is absorbed, about 4 minutes. Continue cooking and adding stock by the cupful, stirring often and letting the stock mixture absorb before adding more, until farro is tender but still firm to the bite, about 45 minutes. (SEE NOTES)
- Add sausage/bacon, lemon, scallions, parmesan: Stir in the cooked sausage/bacon, lemon juice, half of the scallion greens and ½ cup of the parmesan. Taste the stuffing mixture and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Stuff the Acorn Squash Halves: Rub the inside of the squash halves with a bit of olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Divide the stuffing between the squash halves, being sure to mound the filling on top - you want to be generous here.
- Bake: Recover the baking dish with foil and bake the squash halves for an additional 15 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until hot throughout.
- Serve: Sprinkle the top with more parmesan and fresh herbs. Enjoy!
- Sausage/Bacon: You can use either or in this recipe. I use whatever is cheaper at the store. For sausage, I prefer using ground (less hassle); however, Italian sausage is our favorite (typically chicken or turkey sausage if we are feeling healthy). Any variety works here - sweet, spicy, etc.
- To warm stock and water – either use the microwave or bring mixture to a boil in a medium saucepan, reduce heat to low and keep warm.
- Note: You might not need all the stock.
- Stuffing can be made in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If preparing in advance, stir in lemon juice at the end of cooking, but do NOT add in sausage/bacon and cheese. To reheat – add farro and ¼ cup stock to a large saucepan. Cover and steam over medium low heat until soft and warm, stirring occasionally. Stir in bacon/sausage and cheese. Proceed with recipe as directed.
- Farro stuffing adapted from Bon Appetit
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