Fruit and Nut Stuffed Acorn Squash is a perfect side dish for the fall. Bursting with apples and fall spices it’s a healthy addition to any meal.
With summer vegetables dwindling, it’s time to add fruit and nut stuffed acorn squash to your dinner menu. While simply roasting acorn squash with butter and brown sugar is delicious, stuffing it is even better. Whether it’s with sausage and apples or chicken and farro, I can’t get enough of it. Of course the shape makes it perfect for any type of stuffing.
Acorn squash is one of those foods that most people like, it’s got a slightly sweet buttery taste that appeals almost everyone. You never hear people say that they hate acorn squash. Which is great if you have picky eaters who don’t eat vegetables. While most recipes have some type of meat in the filling. this one is vegetarian with apples and nuts.
It’s hearty enough to eat on it’s own but the slightly sweet filling makes it a great accompaniment to chicken, pork or beef. While you can add some honey on top to sweeten it a bit, it’s still more of a side than a dessert.
What you’ll need
- Acorn squash – acorn squash will save for about 2 month in a dark place. Don’t refrigerate them, it will reduce their shelf life. You can generally find them all year round but they are best in the fall and winter.
- Apples – Any type will do, I typically use fuji or honey crisp.
- Walnuts and Pistachios – You don’t need both type of nuts for this stuffing to be delicious but I love the distinct flavors that both add.
- Dried cranberries – to add a little tartness to the apple mixture.
- Cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla – It will remind you of apple pie.
- Butter and brown sugar – just a little before roasting.
- Honey – to drizzle over the top
How do you make stuffed acorn squash
Step 1: Slice the squash, either pole to pole, or you can cut it around the middle. If cutting around the middle, cut off the ends to flatten it. Scoop out the seeds, I find an ice-cream scoop works great.
Step 2: Cover with plastic wrap and microwave for 15-20 minutes.
Step 3: Remove and add a little butter and brown sugar and place under the broiler for a couple of minutes to brown.
Step 4: While the squash is cooking, sauté the apples in a skillet and add cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla.
Remove from the pan and add chopped walnuts and dried cranberries.
Step 5: Scoop the apple mixture into the squash halves and top with pistachios and drizzle with honey.
What’s the best way to cook an acorn squash
There are two ways to cook acorn squash, the most common way is to roast it in a 400º oven for about 30-40 minutes. To roast a squash, cut it in half and brush with oil. Lay flesh side down on a baking sheet and roast.
My favorite way to cook an acorn squash is to cut it in half, and place the halves face down in a baking dish with about ¼ cup water. Cover with plastic wrap, cut a couple of holes to vent and microwave for 10-15 minutes depending on the strength of your microwave. Then place under a broiler with butter and brown sugar until it browns.
Both methods yield a delicious roasted squash but I prefer the microwave method.
What to serve with stuffed acorn squash
Since acorn squash is not overpowering it’s a great side dish for so many recipes, here are some of my favorites:
- Steak Marsala
- Short ribs
- Pork tenderloin
- BBQ ribs
- Chicken in wine
- Coq au vin
- Tequila grilled chicken
- Lemon chicken
FAQs and tips
The skins of most winter squash is edible. However, many times an acorn squash has a wax coating on it, which is still edible but not really that appetizing.
It will stay fresh for a couple of months if you keep it in a cool dark place, like potatoes. If you cut it open and it’s slimy or doesn’t smell right, then you know it’s no longer good.
It will take 30 to 40 minutes in a 400º oven to roast or 15-20 minutes in a microwave.
Cut it in half and place flesh side down in a baking dish with ¼ cup water. Cover with plastic wrap and cut some vent holes in the plastic. Microwave for 15-20 minutes depending on the strength of the microwave.
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Fruit and Nut Stuffed Acorn Squash
- 1 acorn squash cut in half
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 apple diced
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ⅛ cup walnuts chopped
- ⅛ cup pistachios chopped
- ⅛ cup dried cranberries chopped
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Cut the squash in half from pole to pole. Scoop out seeds and place flesh side down in a microwave safe dish. Add ¼ cup water and cover with plastic wrap. Vent the plastic with 3-4 knife holes and microwave for 15-20 minutes until the squash is tender.
- Remove from the microwave and place flesh side up on a baking sheet. Combine butter and brown sugar and brush over the squash. Place under broiler for 2-4 minutes until golden brown.
- While the squash is cooking, prepare the stuffing. In a 10-inch skillet, melt a tablespoon of butter. Once melted and hot, add the diced apples. Sauté for 8-10 minutes until soft, but not mushy. Add in the cinnamon, nutmeg, and a pinch of salt. Place in a bowl and add vanilla and chopped walnuts and cranberries.
- Fill the squash centers with the apple filling and top with chopped pistachios and a drizzle of honey. Serve warm.
Barbara’s Tips + Notes
- To roast in the oven, brush with oil and place face down on baking sheet in 400º oven for 30 minutes.
- Don’t store acorn squash in the refrigerator, it will shorten its shelf life.
- You can eat the skin on an acorn squash.
- You do not need to peel the apples.
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