Sausage and apple stufffed acorn squash is a fall favorite! The combination of sausage, apples and acorn squash warms the soul.
When FALL is knocking on the door, and I see assorted squashes enter the market. I get excited! Butternut, acorn, spaghetti, and kabocha squash are a few of my favorite.
Acron squash bakes until caramelized and stuffed with a fall blend of apples, Italian sausage, kale, onions, thyme, dried cherries, and pistachios.
Stuffed vegetables are fun ways to eat low-carb and healthy. My inspiration for this dish came from the Paleo Running Momma. The addition of dried cherries and pistachios is what takes this recipe to a new level.
What makes this stuffed acorn squash so good?
- Healthy - This stuffed acorn squash recipe is low-carb, paleo, and whole30 approved.
- Great make-ahead dinner - Stuffed acorn squash is so easy to prep and reheats great. To reheat, place it on a baking tray and cover it with aluminum foil. Reheat squash at 300 degrees for 20 minutes.
- Fall flavors - Nothing screams fall like Italian, acorn squash, sausage, and apples. It's as if these ingredients are meant for each other.
Stuffed acorn squash ingredients
To make this recipe you'll need:
- Italian sausage
- acorn squash
- white or yellow onion
- dried cherries
- salt + pepper
How to make this recipe
Making sausage and apple-stuffed acorn squash is so easy! Here's how to make it:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut acorn squash in half lengthwise and place on a parchment-lined baking tray. Brush with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Flip acorn squash over and bake cut side down. Baking time can take 30-45 minutes, depending on the size of the squash.
- In a large cast-iron or stainless steel skillet heat 2 tablespoons of avocado oil or ghee. Add in the sliced onions and cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes. Stir every couple of minutes, so the onions cook evenly. Transfer cooked onions to a plate and set aside.
- In the same pan, add Italian sausage and chopped garlic. Cook for 5-7 minutes or until sausage is browned and almost cooked through.
- Sliced apples and chopped fresh thyme are cooked until softened.
- Kale, cherries, and pistachios are added last and cook just until kale wilts. Season with salt and pepper.
- Take the acorn squash out of the oven. The squash should be soft enough for a knife to go through without resistance. It should also have a roasted and caramelized color.
- Scoop out a little bit of the flesh, so you have more real estate for the stuffing to live. Mix the scooped out flesh into the stuffing mixture. It adds a nice creamy element to the stuffing.
- Fill the acorn squash with the stuffing. Enjoy!
- Acorn Squash: Butternut squash makes for a great serving vessel for this recipe. The only adjustment to the recipe will be the roasting time for the butternut squash. It will take roughly 45 minutes - 1 hour, depending on the size.
- Apples: If apples are not your jam, try out pears or persimmons. Both of these fruits are fall-friendly and add a nice sweetness.
- Italian sausage: Ground turkey or chicken make great replacements for Italian sausage.
- Kale: Any leafy green will do! Spinach or Swiss chard would be my second choice if I didn't go with kale.
- Nuts: If you prefer, you can leave the pistachios out of this recipe. Some great swaps would be walnuts or pine nuts.
- Dried Fruit: Another dried fruit that would be perfect for this recipe is dried cranberries. They add the sweet and tart punch.
- Herbs: We used thyme in this recipe because it's DELICIOUS! Other fall herbs are rosemary and sage.
- Spicy: Opt for hot Italian sausage instead of sweet Italian sausage. Adding a teaspoon of red chili flakes will add a kick as well.
- Vegetarian: Swap out the Italian sausage for a can of kidney or white northern beans. Beans should be added at the very end so they don't overcook and get mushy.
- Make it keto: Remove apples, dried cherries, and top the acorn squash with parmesan cheese.
How to store and reheat stuffed acorn squash
- How long does sausage and apple stuffed acorn squash last? Stuffed acorn squash lasts up to 4 days in the refrigerator or 3 months in the freezer.
- How to Store: Let stuffed acorn squash cool down until room temperature. Place acorn squash halves into a glass-airtight container for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.
- How to Freeze: Let acorn squash cool down to room temperature. Place squash into large ziplock freezer bags and suck out as much air as possible. Place zip lock bags into the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Reheat: Place stuffed acorn squash onto a baking tray or casserole dish. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 300 degrees for 20 minutes, or until hot.
- Reheat from Frozen: Place frozen acorn squash halves onto a baking tray or casserole dish. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 300 degrees for 1 hour or until hot. You can also microwave for 5-6 minutes on high. Tip - Place a damp paper towel over the acorn squash in the microwave. It will prevent the sausage from drying out.
- Season acorn squash - People fail to do this step, and it's so crucial. Now is the only time you will have to season the squash. Salt also draws out moisture helping this carmelize the acorn squash.
- Cook the onion low and slow - This is the trick to perfectly golden and sweet onions. If you cook at high heat, the onion will burn.
- Use a BIG pan - This equals more surface area! More surface area helps brown the Italian sausage and not to steam it. Crowded a small pan with too much food will take forever to cook.
- Choose a medium-sized acorn squash - The larger the squash, the longer it will take to roast. It's important to buy squash that is uniform in size for consistency.
- Vacuum sealing hack - If you decide to freeze your stuffed acorn squash I have a cool vacuum sealing hack. Place a straw on one corner of a ziplock back, and seal. Submerge the bag in a large bowl of water. This will push the air out of the straw and vacuum seal the bag. Now remove the straw and seal the bag.
Other fall favorite recipes
Sausage and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash
- 2 acorn squash cut in half lengthwise and seeds scooped out
- 1 pound sugar-free Italian sausage
- 1 large onion sliced
- 3 tablespoons ghee
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 apple sliced
- 2 cups fresh kale chopped
- ¼ cup cherries dried
- ¼ cup pistachios shelled
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- salt ½ teaspoon
- pepper ¼ teaspoon
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush squash with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- On a parchment-lined baking tray place, acorn squash cut side down. Bake for 30-45 minutes (depending on the size of the squash). The visual appearance of the flesh should be brown and caramelized.
- While squash is roasting, make the stuffing. In a large cast-iron or stainless-steel pan, cook the sliced onions. Heat the ghee until melted, and place the onions on top. Cook on medium-low heat, stirring every couple of minutes until onions are soft and golden brown. This should take 10-15 minutes. Transfer cooked onion to a place and set aside.
- In the same pan, add Italian sausage and garlic and cook until browned. This should take 5-7 minutes.
- Add in sliced apples, herbs and cook until apples are softened. Kale goes in next just until wilted and soft. To finish, add in dried cherries, pistachios, salt, and pepper.
- Scoop out the few spoonfuls of acorn squash. This will create more real estate for the stuffing to live. Place the scooped-out acorn squash into the stuffing mixture.
- Spoon the Italian sausage and apple mixture into 4 acorn squash halves. Enjoy!
- You can place the stuffed acorn squash under the broiler for 2-3 minutes to make them nice and toasty!
- Cooking times for acorn squash may vary. Large acorn squash will take 45 minutes to cook. Small - medium-sized acorn squash will take 25-30 minutes.