This stuffed acorn squash recipe filled with farro, sausage, tender apples, dried cherries, and melty cheddar is a delicious mix of sweet and savory. It’s a fall favorite!
Why you’ll love it: stuffed acorn squash is a flavorful and nutritious fall side dish or light meal. It looks impressive, too!
How long it takes: 1 hour, 15 minutes but much of that time is hands off
Equipment you’ll need: baking pan, oven, large skillet
- 1 Recipe Overview
- 2 The Best Stuffed Acorn Squash
- 3 Why You’ll Love This Stuffed Acorn Squash
- 4 Ingredients You’ll Need
- 5 How To Make Stuffed Acorn Squash
- 6 Prepare the Farro Ahead
- 7 Tips for Success
- 8 FAQs
- 9 Make This Stuffed Squash Recipe Your Own
- 10 What To Serve With Stuffed Acorn Squash
- 11 Make-Ahead
- 12 Storage and Reheating
- 13 More Squash Recipes
- 14 Get the Recipe: Stuffed Acorn Squash
The Best Stuffed Acorn Squash
This recipe for stuffed acorn squash is perfect to make in the fall, when the markets are overflowing with all types of squash and orchard-fresh apples. Every bite of this stuffed acorn squash is filled with hearty ancient grains, savory sausage, sweet apples, and cherries, with strings of melty cheese. Stuffed squash is a cozy and nourishing meal, and it’s not difficult to make. All the things we love about a recipe!
Why You’ll Love This Stuffed Acorn Squash
- Festive. Stuffed squash is impressive, combining all kinds of yummy foods into one smashingly good dish. It looks fancy and special, but it’s very simple to make.
- Full of flavor. There’s something about the combination of sausage and apple, sweet dried cherries, a little bit of sage, and flavorful cheddar, all in a cozy little package, that is pure comfort food.
- (Deceptively) easy to make. The best part is, that this stuffed acorn squash is filling, hearty, soul-warming, and SO EASY! The ingredients are quick to prep ahead and stuffed squash is perfect to serve as a holiday side dish or light meal.
Ingredients You’ll Need
I’ll get you going on the recipe here and give you lots of tips and ways to make this stuffed acorn squash your own. Scroll to the printable recipe card below the post with complete instructions, measurements, and nutrition information.
- Acorn Squash – You’ll find acorn squash in the produce aisle or at your local market alongside other squash varieties (see below). When baked, the tough skin makes a perfect bowl for the filling.
- Turkey Sausage – I like to use bulk/uncooked sausage that isn’t in links. Otherwise, use linked sausages and simply squeeze the sausage out of the casing before cooking. Pork sausage or Italian sausage is a good substitute.
- Onion and Celery – These two vegetables add flavor and nutrition.
- Apple – Apple complements the fall flavors in this recipe and provides a bit of sweetness. Any type of apple is fine.
- Dried Cherries (or Cranberries) – Other good options are raisins or dried apricots. Use what you happen to have in the house or what you like best.
- Farro – This ancient whole grain has a hearty, nutty flavor. It’s very nutritious. Farro is part of the wheat family, similar to spelt, einkorn, or emmer. It’s delicious in everything from salad to stuffing! You can also substitute quinoa, bulgur, rice, or couscous if you happen to have some ready to go.
- Sharp Cheddar Cheese – Any type of cheese can be used but sharp cheddar goes deliciously with the other flavors.
- Dried Sage Leaves and Garlic Powder – Easy pantry items but if you would rather use fresh sage leaves and garlic cloves, even better!
Is Butternut Squash and Acorn Squash the Same?
Nope! Butternut squash and acorn squash are both winter squashes, but they aren’t the same. Acorn squash is dark green and rounder, with distinct ridges on the outside. Meanwhile, butternut squash is long with tan-colored skin and is part of the winter squash family. If you’re after a delicious butternut squash recipe, try this stuffed butternut squash with quinoa, bacon, and kale.
How To Make Stuffed Acorn Squash
The beauty of stuffed acorn squash is that it looks like you went the extra mile in stuffing and roasting, but it’s super easy to prepare.
- Prep the squash. Cut the acorn squash in half and scrape out the seeds and stringy pulp. See my in-depth tutorial on how to cook acorn squash for helpful tips and tricks when preparing acorn squash.
- Roast. Rub a little olive oil over the flesh of the squash and season with salt and pepper. Bake the squash cut sides down at 400ºF for about 45 minutes, or until they are tender.
- Cook the farro. Next, get your farro cooking according to the package directions. Farro usually takes 30 to 40 minutes to cook, depending on what variety you use.
- Prepare the filling. Meanwhile, as the squash bakes, brown the sausage and vegetables in a large skillet. Add the apples and the rest of the ingredients, apart from the cheese for now. Stir and cook until everything is warmed through and the apples are softened. Lastly, take the pan off the heat and stir in the cheese.
- Fill the squash halves. Once the acorn squash has finished baking, all that’s left to do is stuff them. Fill each squash half as full as you can!
- Melt the cheese. Top each stuffed squash with a sprinkle of cheddar. Return them to the oven for 10 minutes or so, enough to heat through and melt the cheese.
- Serve! Serve your stuffed acorn squash right away with your choice of main dish, or enjoy it as is with a fresh side salad.
Prepare the Farro Ahead
Grains such as rice, quinoa, and farro freeze really well after they’re cooked. When cooking a grain, cook the entire bag and freeze it in labeled bags with 1, 2, or 3 cup portions. It thaws quickly in the fridge or on the counter and makes healthy eating even easier!
Tips for Success
Below are some final tips that come in handy when preparing stuffed acorn squash:
- Clean the squash. Begin by scrubbing the squash well. They can be pretty muddy especially if you bought them at a farm stand.
- Stabilize the squash halves. After slicing the squash in half, I like to trim a small slice from the bottom of each half to create a flat surface for the squash to rest on. Otherwise, they tend to roll over, spilling out the stuffing.
Similar to other pumpkins and squashes, acorn squash has a sweet, nutty flavor. It’s pretty much interchangeable with other types of squash (apart from spaghetti squash) in soups, roasting recipes, and more.
For this stuffed acorn squash recipe, you’ll want to leave the skin of the squash intact. The skin holds everything together, forming the perfect little bowl for your stuffing!
Yes. Once it’s cooked and softened enough, the skin of acorn squash is totally edible. Plus, it has the bonus of extra fiber and nutrition.
Make This Stuffed Squash Recipe Your Own
Stuffed acorn squash is super versatile; you can pretty much stuff the squash with whatever you like. It’s easy to make this recipe vegetarian or dairy-free, too. If you have both a meat lover and a vegetarian in your family, you can easily customize a stuffed squash for each at dinnertime.
- To make vegetarian stuffed acorn squash, omit the sausage. Use a vegetarian meat substitute, substitute chickpeas, or add sautéed finely chopped mushrooms.
- If you’re vegan, follow the same suggestions as above, and omit the cheese or add a cheese substitute.
- To make this recipe paleo, leave out the farro. To make it Whole30, omit the farro and cheese. Try adding chopped walnuts, pecans, or mushrooms.
- To make it gluten-free, substitute quinoa or brown rice for the farro.
- Make it dairy-free. Simply omit the cheese. There’s plenty of flavor without it!
- Add nuts. Walnuts or pecans are a nice addition to this stuffed squash, and they add a bit of crunch.
What To Serve With Stuffed Acorn Squash
As a meal, this flavorful stuffed acorn squash pairs well with a crisp green salad, like this arugula salad with a lemony vinaigrette. It’s also a festive holiday side dish to serve next to roast turkey and stuffing (with homemade cranberry sauce, of course!).
If you want to carry on the fall theme, wash down the meal with a festive apple cider mule or a refreshing apple cider mocktail. And if you have room for dessert, try this apple crisp or pumpkin streusel bread.
To get a head start on your stuffed acorn squash, bake the squash and prep the stuffing up to 1 day in advance. When ready to bake, stuff the squash and bake as directed. You may need to add an extra 10 minutes of baking time if the ingredients are cold from the fridge.
Storage and Reheating
- Refrigerate. Leftover stuffed acorn squash can be stored in a tightly covered container and refrigerated for up to 3 days.
- Freeze. The stuffed squash can be frozen for up to one month. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator for best results.
- Reheat. Warm individual squash halves in the microwave in 30-second increments or heat in the oven at 350°F until heated through.
Interested in a weekly meal plan (it’s free!) that includes this stuffed squash recipe? Take a look at my Meal Plan #36. You’ll find a wholesome recipe for each weekday plus a categorized grocery list. Let me do the planning for you this week!
We’ll be adding a new meal plan weekly. If you’re interested, browse all of our meal plans.
- 3 acorn squash, scrubbed clean
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus 1 teaspoon
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 pound bulk turkey sausage
- 1 small onion, diced small (about ½ cup)
- 2 stalks celery, diced small (about ¾ cup)
- 1 apple, chopped
- 2 cups cooked farro (see note)
- ½ cup dried cherries (dried cranberries or raisins are good, too)
- ¼ teaspoon dried sage
- ⅛ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, extra for topping if desired (can substitute a different kind of cheese if you want)
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
- Carefully trim a tiny bit off the top and bottom of each squash to create a flat surface. Then cut each squash in half. Scrape out seeds and stringy bits. Rub inside and cut edges of squash with olive oil. Sprinkle inside of squash with salt and pepper. Place cavity side down on prepared baking sheets. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until fork tender.
- While the squash roasts, heat one teaspoon of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering and hot, add the sausage, onion, and celery and cook until sausage is cooked through, breaking the sausage up into crumbles as it cooks.
- Add cooked farro, apples, cherries, sage, and garlic powder and cook until the apple softens and the rest of the mixture has heated through.
- Turn off heat and stir in cheese.
- When squash is tender, remove from oven and carefully flip each half over. Fill with sausage mixture and if desired, sprinkle with additional cheese. Return to oven for 10 minutes until heated through and cheese is melted.
- Serve immediately.
- Other cooked grains may be substituted for the farro, such as rice, quinoa, bulgur, or barley.
- The stuffing works well in other types of squash such as butternut, buttercup, kabocha, etc.
- Make Ahead: Bake the squash and prep the stuffing up to one day in advance. When ready to bake, stuff squash and bake as directed, adding an extra 10 minutes baking time since all the ingredients are cold.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.