Italian Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash Dinner – Baked Stuffed Acorn Squash with Sausage, Mushrooms & Cheese!
Think outside of the bowl. Go beyond the classic stuffed sweet potato. Try this sausage stuffed acorn squash instead!
A simple, savory acorn squash dinner that’s so tasty, you’ll even eat the bowl. (Get it?? Because it’s a stuffed squash so the squash is the bowl?) You may have seen my stuffed spaghetti squash boats in the past, but stuffed acorn squash is even cooler because you can actually eat all of the skin. And it’s quite tasty!
Of course, you can make stuffed acorn squash with any filling that you like. But, since acorn squash is one of my favorite fall seasonal ingredients, I opted for a turkey sausage stuffed acorn squash that tastes like Thanksgiving in a gourd!
Italian turkey sausage, mixed with sautéed onions, mushrooms, and spinach, plus
some prunes for a surprising burst of sweetness—all stuffed into tender, roasted
acorn squash halves.
Prepare Acorn Squash for Stuffed “Bowls” or “Boats”
diving into how to roast acorn squash and prepare the filling, let’s talk about
preparing acorn squash itself. I know loads of people have questions about how
to cut acorn squash and how to prepare it for stuffed squash “bowls” or
“boats,” so I’ll walk you through how I go about it.
my whole acorn squash into stuff-able boats, I first need to cut each squash in
half and scoop out the seeds. Now, some people prefer to roast their acorn squash whole to get it
tender before they cut it. If this is your preferred method, go for it! (Or,
check out my microwave shortcut for harder-to-slice squash in the next section.)
I prefer to cut my squash in half when they’re raw, then scoop out the
seeds and roast the separated halves. Honestly, I’d just rather not wait for the roasted acorn squash to cool before
I can cut it, and I think roasting the separated halves results in more
how you prepare acorn squash may vary depending on the size of your squash.
Larger acorn squash tends to be more difficult to prepare because it’s harder
to cut when raw, and it takes longer to cook. They’ll still work just fine for
stuffed acorn squash recipes, but you might consider roasting larger squashes
whole to make them easier to cut.
the purposes of this stuffed acorn squash recipe, I’d recommend choosing 2-3 smaller squash if you can find them! Also, think about the size of your stuffed squash “bowl” or “boat” when making
your selection. How big would you like this Italian sausage stuffed acorn
squash to be? How much can you eat?
How to Cut
Acorn Squash when Raw
In terms of
how to cut acorn squash when raw, there are a few best practices to make things
easier. First, I recommend using a serrated knife to cut acorn squash. This will make it easier to slice through the tougher outer skin!
using that serrated knife, score a line all the way around the squash. Pretty much, you’re drawing the line
that you plan to cut along. Honestly, this mostly helps to ensure my acorn
squash halves are more evenly sized, and it gives me a line to follow in case I
need to do a bit of sawing with my knife!
tip is to be PATIENT.
Follow the score line, use the serrated knife to saw through the outer skin,
and gradually work your way through the squash.
your acorn squash is just too dang tough to cut when raw…
Nifty Microwave Hack:
Using a fork,
poke holes all the way around the outside of the acorn squash. Place on a
microwave-safe plate and microwave for about 5 minutes, just enough to soften
cool enough to touch, try cutting along your score line again! Be patient, sawing
gradually with your knife until you get through the skin.
your best to keep your knife steady as you slice through the squash so you get
an even cut! Slice
too quickly and the cut is likely to be a bit crooked…
you’ve managed to cut your acorn squash into halves, scoop out the seeds
inside. (PRO TIP: Use
a grapefruit spoon if you have one!) This is how we carve out the cavity in our
stuffed acorn squash “bowls” for the sausage filling.
acorn squash halves once the seeds are removed, line a baking sheet with
parchment or foil. Brush the inside of each squash half (the yellow flesh)
with oil, and sprinkle each with a bit of salt. You can either drizzle oil
into the squash halves and rub it in with your hands, or use a basting brush.
each squash half face down on the baking sheet—this will help them to
tenderize and caramelize a bit.
And into the oven they go!
to Roast Acorn Squash Before Stuffing
acorn squash halves like this, I recommend baking at 425°F (220°C) for 25-30 minutes.
depending on the size of your acorn squash and how you prepared them prior to
cutting, the exact cook time may vary. Larger squash may need to roast for up
to 35-45 minutes!
recommendation is to check on the acorn squash halves periodically after about
20 minutes. Poke with a fork or knife to test the tenderness—if you can
pierce through flesh easily, they’re done!
roasted acorn squash halves are ready, remove from the oven and allow to cool
slightly. You can cook your sausage filling while the acorn squash bake,
so they’re ready to stuff immediately. Or, you can allow to cool and store your
baked acorn squash halves in the fridge for meal prep!
Make Stuffed Acorn Squash with Sausage Filling
wanted a healthy fall dinner option that tasted just as comforting and
satisfying as a Thanksgiving meal, I decided to try Italian sausage stuffed
acorn squash boats! Filled with turkey sausage, mushrooms, spinach, and some of my favorite fall-time
ingredients and flavors.
heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and saute onions and mushrooms.
After 3-4 minutes, add ground Italian turkey sausage (or any ground meat
you like) and cook through for 5-7 minutes, until no longer pink.
Next, add minced garlic, fresh rosemary and thyme, onion powder, and spinach. Add salt to taste, if needed—just be sure to check whether or
not your sausage is pre-salted! Stir everything to integrate, cover, and cook until
the spinach has wilted—about 1-2 minutes.
Last but not least, I like to stir in some chopped Sunsweet® Amaz!n™ Prunes for a comforting burst of chewy sweetness! Even if you’re not a fan of prunes, trust me, it’s worth giving a try. Their natural, fruity sweetness pairs so perfectly with the savory acorn squash and sausage!
With your roasted
acorn squash halves and Italian sausage filling prepared, your stuffed acorn
squash boats are ready to assemble! Place your baked acorn squash “bowls” on
a lined baking sheet—skin-side down this time, so the “bowl” cavity
is facing up.
distribute your sausage mixture into each of the acorn squash halves. If you’re preparing these Italian
sausage stuffed acorn squash for meal prep, simply store your roasted acorn
squash halves and cooked sausage mixture separately in the fridge until
you’re ready to prepare them.
finish each stuffed acorn squash with a sprinkle of parmesan and mozzarella
cheese! Or, if you
prefer to skip the cheese and keep this fall dinner dairy free, you can omit
as that, your savory acorn squash boats are ready to bake!
to Bake Acorn Squash Dinner Boats
already roasted the acorn squash and the cooked the sausage filling through
completely. So, putting our sausage stuffed acorn squash boats into the oven
now is really just to get the cheese nice and melted!
best melt, go ahead and broil your stuffed squash boats for just 2-5 minutes. Watch them closely while they’re in
the oven so it doesn’t burn!
cheese has melted to your liking, remove from the oven and allow to cool
slightly. Serve sausage stuffed acorn squash with a sprinkle of red pepper
flakes, parsley, or any garnish you like and enjoy!
FALL Recipes | Gluten Free Cornbread, Quinoa Kale Salad & Roasted Acorn
Savory Stuffed Acorn Squash with Sausage, Mushrooms, Spinach & Cheese
Prep Time:10 minutes
Cook Time:50 minutes
Total Time:1 hour
Yield:6 servings 1x
Roasted Acorn Squash
2–3 acorn squash, halved (depending on size) drizzle of avocado oil
salt, to taste
Italian Sausage Filling
1 lb Italian turkey sausage ½ cup chopped onion 4 oz mushrooms, chopped 6 cloves garlic ½ tsp onion powder 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary 1 Tbsp fresh thyme 3 cups spinach 8–10 (2-3 oz) Sunsweet® Amaz!n™ Prunes, chopped (⅓ cup)
Stuffed Acorn Squash Toppings
¼ cup shaved parmesan ¼ cup shredded mozzarella red pepper flakes parsley, for garnish
Preheat oven to 425°F (220°C).
Using a serrated knife, cut open acorn squashes. (Can poke holes around the outside and microwave for ~5 minutes to soften, if needed.)
Scoop out seeds from inside squash so you have a “bowl.”
Brush the inside of each squash half with avocado oil and sprinkle with salt. Place face down on a lined baking sheet and roast 25-30 minutes (depending on size), until fork tender.
In a skillet over medium high heat, add a drizzle of oil and cook onion and mushrooms for 3-4 minutes. Add sausage and cook until no longer pink, 5-7 minutes. Add garlic, rosemary, thyme, onion powder and spinach, stirring to integrate. Cover and cook 1-2 minutes, until spinach is wilted.
Stir in chopped Sunsweet® Amaz!n™ Prunes. Add salt if needed. (Sausage typically has enough salt added already, but season to your preference.)
Place squash “bowls” on baking sheet and fill with sausage mixture. Sprinkle with cheese, or stop here if you don’t want cheese.
Broil until cheese is melted, 2-5 minutes. Watch it so it doesn’t burn!
Sprinkle with red pepper flakes, serve, and enjoy!