Savory Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe
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!
Ground 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.
How to Prepare Acorn Squash for Stuffed “Bowls” or “Boats”
First, before 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.
To transform 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.)
Personally, 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 flavorful squash!
Of course, 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.
So, for 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!
Then, 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!
My best 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.
But, if your acorn squash is just too dang tough to cut when raw…
Try This 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 it slightly.
When it’s cool enough to touch, try cutting along your score line again! Be patient, sawing gradually with your knife until you get through the skin.
Also, do 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…
Check out my How to Cook Butternut Squash video for tips—preparing acorn squash is very similar, and usually a bit easier!)
How to Roast Acorn Squash Halves
Once 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.
You can toss those acorn squash seeds if you like, or you can save the seeds to roast later for a fun fall-time snack!
To roast 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.
Then, place 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!
How Long to Roast Acorn Squash Before Stuffing
To roast acorn squash halves like this, I recommend baking at 425°F (220°C) for 25-30 minutes.
Of course, 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!
My 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!
Once your 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!
How to Make Stuffed Acorn Squash with Sausage Filling
Again, you can make stuffed acorn squash with just about any filling that you like. Just follow the same method described above to prepare your stuffed squash boats and get creative! If you’re looking for a post-Thanksgiving meal, why not leftover turkey stuffed acorn squash boats?
Since I 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.
To start, 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!
Assembling Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash Dinner Boats
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.
Then, 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.
Finally, 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 this step.
And, simple as that, your savory acorn squash boats are ready to bake!
How Long to Bake Acorn Squash Dinner Boats
Remember, we 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!
For the 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!
Once the 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!
Italian Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe
Roasted Acorn Squash
- 2 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
- 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!