Savory Roasted Acorn Squash Stuffed with Sweet Apple and
Spicy Italian Sausage Filling
Put this recipe into your regular rotation of Autumn cozy meals. With all the qualities I love in a recipe, this meal is a great way to take advantage of the abundance of acorn squash available this time of year. Piled high with a filling made with onion, celery, Italian ground sausage, apple, and chopped sage, then spiced with Rancher Steak Rub. You’ll love all the options for serving it too!
A meal in itself or a guest-worthy side dish - you decide...
Like so many recipes that I love, this is one of those dishes that you can make for serving fancy or everyday dining, depending on when and for what meal you’re making it. You can plate them up individually for a simple weeknight dinner or arrange them artfully on a platter surrounded with herbs and other roasted vegetables for a fancy guest-worthy autumn harvest holiday display.
But however you serve them, you should also feel good about these low-carb, packed with protein squash boats. They offer up a way to eat healthy without distracting from the cozy, festive, autumn vibes that make this time of year and holidays around your table memorable.
Options for making dinnertime extra easy…
- Roast the squash ahead, then store it, in an airtight storage container, in the refrigerator for up to three days.
- Make the stuffing ahead of time too! Follow the directions in steps two and three on the recipe card. After the sausage and onion mixture has finished cooking, the sage and seasoning added, and the apple softened; cool the mixture to room temperature. Then store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
- To assemble, heat, and eat, stuff the cooked squash half with the filling mixture, place in a baking dish with a small amount of water in the bottom. Tent with foil, then warm in the oven at 350°F for about 15 minutes, or until hot. Continue with steps four and five on the recipe card before serving.
- To freeze, let the stuffed squash cool to room temperature after broiling in step five. Place one half of the stuffed squash into a quart-size freezer bag and place in the fridge until well chilled. When chilled, remove as much air from the bag as possible. Transfer to the freezer for up to three months.
To reheat from frozen, you have three ways to do it:
- Remove the frozen squash half and let thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Tent with foil, then pop it into the oven at 350°F for about 15 minutes, or until hot.
- If you prefer, you can reheat thawed squash halves in the microwave on high for 5 to 7 minutes.
- From frozen, place the squash half in a covered baking dish — Bake at 350°F for 45 to 50 minutes. Add a sprinkle of additional cheese on top in the last 10 minutes of baking.
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Apple, Cranberry & Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash – when adding the apples in step three on the recipe card, also stir in 1/4 cup dried cranberries into the filling.
For Paleo Apple & Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash – omit the cheese and ensure that you are using a paleo-friendly sausage for the filling.
Add in a whole grain – Stir in 1 cup of cooked wild rice or quinoa (quinoa is technically a seed but classified as whole grain) into the filling before stuffing the squash. Either is an excellent plant protein and fiber source.
Give it a nutty crunch – stir in a handful or two of toasted chopped pecans or walnuts pieces to add a wholesome nutty flavor, crunch, and more texture to the filling mixture.
Shroom it up! Make this stuffed squash dinner even more hearty by adding mushrooms in the filling. Stir in 1 cup of sliced button mushrooms in step two on the recipe card along with the onion and celery. Then sauté with the sausage until thoroughly cooked.
Apple & Sausage Stuffed Spaghetti Squash Bowls – wrap all this goodness around your fork! Roast the spaghetti squash as you would for the acorn squash. Let the halves cool to room temperature, then turn the squash into spaghetti squash noodles by raking a fork through the pulp inside the shell. Spread the squash noodles around to create a well in the middle before stuffing with the apple and sausage mixture. Continue with steps four and five on the recipe card before serving.
Make it Vegetarian – Swap out the sausage with a 15-ounce can of butter beans or cannellini beans (medium-size white kidney beans). When making this version, add the onion and celery in step two of the recipe card. Then continue with step three, cooking the apple until softened before adding the beans. Continue to heat for 2-3 minutes longer before stuffing the acorn squash.
Another favorite way we’ve eaten this is to scoop out the squash and the filling and serve it over cooked rice with sauteéd greens like kale or spinach, then top it off with a little extra cheese.
Approaching the end of this post, as I think about it, I think maybe the very best part about these Apple and Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash is that they are hearty enough to make your meal complete. And that’s a feel-good Autumn Fare Dinner we can all bite into!
Have you tried this recipe? Please comment. Click the blue-green comment bubble on the bottom left of your screen to jump to the comment area. I would love to hear!
Apple & Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash
- Baking Dish
- Cutting Board
- Utensils (Cooks Knife, Pastry brush, Measuring Cups & Spoons, Rubber Spatula or Wooden Spoon)
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Halve the squash and remove the seeds. Place squash halves in a baking dish, cut side up, brush the squash’s insides with 2 tablespoons oil, and season with one teaspoon Rancher Steak Rub. Roast for about 40 minutes or until tender when pierced with a fork.
- Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and ground sausage. Sauté until the sausage is thoroughly cooked and no longer pink.
- Stir in apple, sage, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon Rancher Steak Rub. Cook until the apple is softened, about 3 minutes.
- Remove the squash from the oven. Preheat broiler. Stuff squash with sausage filling and top with parmesan cheese.
- Return stuffed squash to the oven and broil for 2-4 minutes or until nicely browned.
(Nutritional values are an approximation. Actual nutritional values may vary due to preparation techniques, variations related to suppliers, regional and seasonal differences, or rounding.)
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