Stuffed Acorn Squash

These Stuffed Acorn Squash make for a fun and healthy Autumn dinner!

These Stuffed Acorn Squash make for a fun and healthy Autumn dinner!A couple of weeks ago, Laura traveled back to her hometown for a quick weekend trip.  (That meant I got to watch college football with Robbie and make pulled pork on the smoker…Robbie “helped” with that, too.)  Laura pulled back into the driveway on Sunday afternoon with a big bag of ugly gourds.  The kind with crooked necks and warts.  The kind that are perfect decorations for Halloween and Thanksgiving.

These Stuffed Acorn Squash make for a fun and healthy Autumn dinner!It turns out that one of her friends bought some ugly gourds last year and then just tossed them out into a compost pile at the end of the year.  The aforementioned gourds must have been pretty happy because they began growing.  And now her friend had a huge pile of ugly gourds.

We gladly took those gourds, and they are currently adorning our dining room table.  (I’m going to hide those bad boys under all the grass clippings in the backyard in hopes of having our own ugly gourd children next year!)

These Stuffed Acorn Squash make for a fun and healthy Autumn dinner!While I don’t think those ugly gourds would be too tasty, Fall is still the perfect season to cook up some squash.  (Squash and gourds are kinda related, right?)  With the holiday season bearing down on us, I’ve been looking for delicious, healthy meals to balance out all of the desserts that I know are coming.  I stumbled across a bin of acorn squash at the market the other day, and I decided to grab a couple.

We’ve been roasting butternut squash quite a bit lately, but I’d never roasted acorn squash.  There’s a first time for everything, right?  Aside from cutting the darned things open, acorn squash are incredibly easy to roast and even tastier to eat.  Plus, they’re a really fun way to serve Fall and Winter dinners!

These Stuffed Acorn Squash make for a fun and healthy Autumn dinner!For these Stuffed Acorn Squash, I grabbed some ground beef and cooked it up along with some onions, celery, garlic and wild rice.  This filling was delicious, y’all.  As in, I almost wanted to stand there and eat all of the filling before stuffing the acorn squash.  But we had invited the neighbors over for dinner, so I knew I had to save enough filling for the squash.

The roasted acorn squash were a fun and festive way to serve the beef and rice filling.  Oh, and wondering how to eat the roasted squash?  My wife used a knife to cut off slices while I went with a fork and scraped out the squash.  The fork scraping method won (in my opinion, of course).

These Stuffed Acorn Squash make for a fun and healthy Autumn dinner!As we head into the season of pumpkin cheesecakes, pumpkin pies, pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin breads, pumpkin…<ok, you get the picture>…these Stuffed Acorn Squash are a great way to serve up a fun and healthy dinner.  Enjoy!

These Stuffed Acorn Squash make for a fun and healthy Autumn dinner!

Stuffed Acorn Squash

These Stuffed Acorn Squash make for a fun and healthy Autumn dinner!
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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 598kcal

Ingredients

  • 3 medium acorn squash ~1-1¼ pounds each
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil divided
  • 2 cups wild rice
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 white onion diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 stalks celery diced
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • ½ tsp salt plus more for roasting squash
  • ½ tsp pepper plus more for roasting squash
  • ½ Tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 15-oz can navy beans, rinsed
  • Parmesan cheese {optional}

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • Using a serrated knife, slice each acorn squash lengthwise; remove seeds. (Tip: Acorn squash have very thick skins and a serrated knife makes it easier to cut the squash in half. If necessary, slice the lower half of each squash with the knife and then pry open with your fingers to snap the top apart.)
  • Place squash cut-side up on a baking sheet; brush the tops and insides of the squash with 2 Tbsp of olive oil. Sprinkle a small amount of salt and pepper on top of the squash and bake at 425°F for about 35-40 minutes, or until flesh is fork-tender.
  • Meanwhile, place the wild rice and chicken stock in a medium saucepan. Stir and bring to a boil over high heat. Once water begins to boil, reduce heat to low and cover pan with a tight-fitting lid. Simmer (without stirring) until rice has absorbed most of the stock (~30-40 minutes).
  • Place the remaining 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet and heat over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic and celery and sauté for 5-6 minutes. Add the ground beef, salt, pepper and oregano to the skillet. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until beef is fully cooked (~10-12 minutes).
  • Once rice has cooked, mix the rice, ground beef mixture and navy beans in a large bowl.
  • Reduce oven temperature to 325°F.
  • Fill the squash halves with the filling (~1 cup per squash half) and roast for another 15-18 minutes at 325°F.
  • Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese prior to serving {optional}.

Notes

Looking to make this recipe vegetarian? Just increase the amount of rice to 3 cups and stock to 6 cups and add 1 cup of toasted, chopped pecans.

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22 Comments

  1. Hi David! What a great fall recipe and we are finally having some fall weather!! I love squash so this really appeals to me! I do a twice baked squash with bacon and spinach. This would also be good made with sausage. We get “volunteer” squash every year from the previous year’s crop so if you put those seeds in your compost pile you WILL get squash! Just be mindful of where you put them as squash need a lot of room to vine out. Have a great weekend! PS Check out Nagi’s post today 🙂

    1. It seemed like it took Fall forever to arrive up here, too, Dorothy! But it’s been a bit brisk lately, so now it finally feels like Fall. That, and the leaves are finally starting to turn, too. It’s the best time of the year up here! So needless to say, I’m ready for some comfort food! 🙂

      I’d love to get some volunteer squash each year, but I’m afraid the sheer temperatures up here might prevent those seeds from doing their business. We shall see!

  2. Great looking dish David. A good introduction of pumpkin season as you said! I half wondered if you were going to use some of the smoked pork you mentioned. That said, what a great dish to serve when you got friends over!

    1. Ohhh…now you’re talking, Matt! I bet some smoked pork would be an awesome addition to these stuffed squash. In fact, I just posted a slow cooker pulled pork. I might have to use a bit of that on another round of stuffed squash! 🙂 Thanks for the genius idea!

    1. Stuffed squash really is a fun recipe…especially at this time of the year! Thanks, Kevin…I can’t wait to see your version soon! 🙂

  3. Squash is in season and this is truly my favorite time of year. As soon as the leaves started changing my mother added Spaghetti Squash, acorn squash and butternut squash to most of her dishes. That might explain my obsessions of Squash. I love the idea of stuffing squash, it seems like acorn squash was created to be stuffed, it’s the perfect shape and size. I think Gourds and Squash are in the same family, I don’t have any proof but it makes sense to me. 🙂

    1. This truly is my favorite time of the year, too, Mary! And cheers to squash being in season. I can usually find some great sales on squash, and this stuffed version is one of my favorite ways to prepare it! And maybe we should investigate this gourd + squash family thing. Stuffed Ugly Gourds for dinner tonight? 🙂

  4. Cutting open acorn squash can be a real pain. I find placing it in the microwave for a minute or two (depending on how stubborn your squash is) will get it just soft enough to get the knife going.

    1. Oooo…good tip, Dana! Thank you so much. It really was a pain to cut those acorn squash. Maybe my squash were particularly stubborn, but still…that took some work! Thanks for the microwave idea…and thanks for stopping by and commenting! 🙂

    1. Ugly tomatoes! Those are the best! But the problem I have with ugly tomatoes is I never know when to pick them. A normal tomato turns nice and bright red, but some of those ugly ones stay purple or funky shades of yellow-red-purple striped. And then I end up leaving them on the vine too long! Oh well, live and learn, right? 🙂

  5. Firstly, thank goodness this isn’t a spaghetti squash. Secondly, YES to ground beef in it- This is like an even better version of stuffed peppers, although more flavorful as acorn squash is superior to other squash!

    1. Haha…what’s wrong with spaghetti squash? I hear you can make spaghetti-o’s with it! (Gross…spaghetti-o’s…) And now I’m craving stuffed peppers. Maybe you just solved my problem of what to make for dinner tonight!

    1. This definitely made for a delicious dinner, Dawn! And I love how cheap squash is this time of the year, too. I think I’m gonna take advantage of it and make some more for dinner this week. Nice and easy and healthy. Plus, it helps justify the cake for dessert! 🙂 Thanks!

    1. Thanks so much, Kathy! I’m kinda skeptical on whether those seeds will do anything since it gets so darned cold here in the winter…but I guess it can’t hurt to try! 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Kushi! These stuffed squash turned out quite well…and what’s even better is the fact that squash are on sale again this week. I think we’ll be having these again for dinner soon. 🙂

  6. Haha – too too funny about those ugly gourd compost children! David, our Kroger has a bin with “ugly fruit/vegetables” – these are definitely not eye candy, but one day, I was feeling a bit adventurous and brought a few pumpkin-looking things and obtuse looking peppers home and they tasted just fine. By the way, your beef and bean stuffed squash is my kinda eating! This is a meal definitely not share-worthy! BTW, Good luck to y’all with growing some ugly gourds of yalls very own!

    1. You know, I saw a similar bin at one of our local grocery stores. Maybe I’ll have to start hunting random things in that bin! I suspect our gourd seeds might not make it over the winter up here due to the snow. But lucky for us, squash has been on sale for the last couple weeks and it’s on sale again this week. This one is super easy and super tasty, too! Thanks, Shashi! 🙂

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