RECIPES:
Nov 14, 2022

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr 20 mins
A filling vegetarian/ vegan holiday entree or side dish everyone will love!

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This stuffed squash recipe makes for a great Thanksgiving side dish or vegan/ vegetarian entree option (it’s also gluten free and dairy free). The acorn squash is halved and stuffed with a flavorful combination of sautéed shallots and garlic, kale, wild rice, mushrooms and spiced chopped walnuts. I include instructions to prep this recipe ahead of time to cut down on stress when entertaining as well as providing easy swaps and substitutions. This recipe can easily be scaled up for more people. 

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Key Ingredients in This Recipe 

  • Squash – Acorn squash has a mild yet sweet and nutty flavor. For this recipe the squash is halved lengthwise using a sharp chef knife and roasted skin-side up until the inside is tender. The squash is then piled with the stuffing and served. 
  • Kale – I prefer to use Tuscan kale (also called Lacinato or Dinosaur Kale) in this stuffed squash recipe. While it’s deeper in color it’s also slightly more tender than curly kale and it doesn’t take up as much space making it great for stuffing the squash. I recommend buying bunches of kale rather than bagged pre-chopped kale so you can remove the hard stems before chopping.
  • Wild rice – Wild rice is nutty with a firm texture; it’s not actually rice, it’s a semi-aquatic grass with edible grain. The nutty flavor pairs well with the rest of the ingredients in the squash filling.
  • Mushrooms – In a meatless recipe, sautéed mushrooms add texture and substance. I use cremini, also called baby bella mushrooms, because they are widely available. 
  • Walnuts – Walnuts pair well with the mushrooms to make this a heartier and more filling entrée. I grind the walnuts with chili powder, cumin, cayenne, soy sauce (or tamari) and honey to turn it into a spiced crumble, resembling chorizo, before combining it with the rest of the filling.

How to Make Stuffed Acorn Squash

raw squash for Stuffed Acorn Squash
Step 1: Prep the squash. 

Preheat oven to 400ºF (200ºC). Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds with a spoon and discard.

Step 2: Roast the squash.

Drizzle the cut side of the squash with 1 tablespoon (14g) of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place cut side down on the baking sheet and roast until the flesh is fork tender, about 45 minutes. Set the squash aside and leave the oven on.

roast squash for Stuffed Acorn Squash
rice for Stuffed Acorn Squash
Step 3: Cook the rice. 

Add the wild rice and 1½ cups (355ml) of water to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then cover and lower heat to medium-low and simmer until the rice is tender, about 30 minutes.

Step 4: Sauté mushrooms. 

While the squash is roasting and the rice cooks, make the filling. Heat 3 tablespoons (41g) of the oil in a large sauté pan, add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms have reduced in size slightly, about 3 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Sautéd mushrooms for Stuffed Acorn Squash
Step 5: Add shallots and garlic. 

Add the shallots and garlic, continuing to cook until the mushrooms are golden brown and the shallots are soft, about an additional 4 minutes.

Step 6: Cook kale. 

Add the kale, stirring to combine. Continue to cook until reduced in size, about 3 minutes. Stir in the vegetable broth and cook until the broth has evaporated and the kale is tender, about 6 to 8 minutes.

Step 7: Make walnut mixture. 

Add the walnuts, remaining tablespoon (14g) of oil, soy sauce, honey, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment or blender. Pulse until finely diced and combined. 

Step 8: Combine filling. 

In a large mixing bowl combine the rice, mushroom and kale mixture and walnut mixture, stirring to combine. Divide among the roasted squash halves and place on a baking sheet. 

stuffed squash
Step 9: Stuff and serve. 

Return the stuffed squash to the oven and bake until warmed through, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately.

Tips and Tricks for This Recipe 

How to Prep This Recipe in Advance 

If making this squash recipe for entertaining, the components can easily be prepped in advance and assembled just before serving. Roast the squash and make the filling, then stuff the squash and store refrigerated in a resealable plastic container until ready to serve.

To reheat, arrange the stuffed squash on a baking sheet and cook at 400ºF (200ºC) until warmed through, about 15 minutes. 

Swaps and substitutions 
  • Based on preference the wild rice can be swapped for long-grain white rice or another grain like quinoa or farro in the squash filling. 
  • The shallot can be swapped for 1/2 cup of diced yellow onion if needed.
  • The Tuscan kale can be swapped for curly kale if needed.
Best Types of Squash for Stuffed Squash

The best types of squash to roast and stuff are smaller squash that can easily be scooped out and stuffed like these varieties: 

  • Acorn squash
  • Red kuri squash 
  • Sugar pie pumpkins 

Other Recipes To Try

If you enjoy this stuffed acorn squash recipe, give these a try and follow me on Instagram for more updates: 

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Print Pin
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 20 mins
Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium acorn squash
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt, as needed
  • Freshly ground black pepper, as needed
  • ½ cup wild rice
  • 6 ounces baby bella (cremini) mushrooms, quartered
  • 2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 cups chopped Tuscan kale
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 cup raw halved walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce (or tamari)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 400ºF (200ºC). Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds with a spoon and discard.
  • Drizzle the cut side of the squash with 1 tablespoon (14g) of the olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place cut side down on the baking sheet and roast until the flesh is fork tender, about 45 minutes. Set the squash aside and leave the oven on.
  • Add the wild rice and 1½ cups (355ml) of water to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then cover and lower heat to medium-low and simmer until the rice is tender, about 30 minutes.
  • While the squash is roasting and the rice cooks, make the filling. Heat 3 tablespoons (41g) of the oil in a large sauté pan, add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently, until the mushrooms have reduced in size slightly, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add the shallots and garlic, continuing to cook until the mushrooms are golden brown and the shallots are soft, about an additional 4 minutes.
  • Add the kale, stirring to combine. Continue to cook until reduced in size, about 3 minutes. Stir in the vegetable broth and cook until the broth has evaporated and the kale is tender, about 6 to 8 minutes.
  • Add the walnuts, remaining tablespoon (14g) of oil, soy sauce, honey, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne to the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment or blender. Pulse until finely diced and combined.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine the rice, mushroom and kale mixture and walnut mixture, stirring to combine. Divide among the roasted halves of acorn squash and place on a baking sheet.
  • Return the stuffed squash to the oven and bake until warmed through, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately.

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