If you are looking for the perfect fall recipe, this Savory Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe is it! Not only is it a delicious side dish recipe, but it can also be a complete meal. It is always one of my favorite recipes for Thanksgiving. If you are looking for a savory side for your holiday dinner, let me suggest this one!
What Makes This Side Dish So Good?
The flavor is the best thing about this dish. There is just something so delicious about the baked acorn squash and the cornbread filling. They are a great compliment to each other. It is such a great blend of savory flavors.
All the prep work on this dish can be done ahead of time. Making it a breeze on serving day.
If you are looking for meal prep recipes, this will work. I love these reheated!
The acorn squash rings make a really beautiful food presentation. I love serving this for our Thanksgiving as it is just such a pretty dish.
- Acorn Squash- I will explain more below about how to choose a good acorn squash.
- Cornbread- I will include a homemade recipe, but you can also use a box if you prefer, just make sure it isn't too sweet. This is a savory dish and sweet cornbread will set that off. This needs to be done and cooled beforehand. I always have extra cornbread after our meals. I save it and put it in the freezer then pull it out for cornbread dressings.
- Sausage- I used Jimmy Dean hot for ours, as it is a personal family favorite, but you can use whatever you like. If you are looking for something lower in calories, you can always use a chicken sausage or even ground turkey.
- Butter- This could hardly be a southern recipe without butter.
- Celery- I really believe that every good cornbread dressing needs celery.
- Onions- Same as above.
- Sage- Is this spice not the flavor of fall spices??
- Vegetable or chicken stock- I have used both and love both.
- Eggs- This will help bind the dressing and hold it together after baking.
- Salt, black pepper, and cayenne- With all the other flavors in this dish, these are all you will need. The cayenne is optional but really good!
How To Make
Start by cutting your acorn squash into rings. I like to use a sharp chef's knife for this, whatever you choose to use, just make sure it is sharp!! If you have a good serrated knife, that will work as well. Acorn squash is a really hard winter squash and if you aren't using a sharp knife it can be really dangerous to cut.
If you don't want to do rings, you can also just cut the squash in half. This is easier but makes really big portions.
Once you have the rings cut, remove the seeds. I have nested biscuit cutters and used these to cut the center out of the squash rings. You can also just use a spoon and scoop it out.
Now, start on the cornbread mix. Add the sausage to a large skillet and cook over medium heat. Once it is almost cooked, add in your chopped onions and celery. Saute onions and celery for several minutes. Remove this and let it cool slightly.
I moved mine to a large bowl for mixing, but you can also mix it in the pan if you prefer.
To the sausage mixture, add in your stock, seasonings, butter, and beaten eggs. Mix well.
Place your rings on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. I used a large portion scoop to fill the rings with the stuffing mixture. If you don't have a portion scoop, just use a large spoon.
Brush with more melted butter, or if you prefer, olive oil.
Place in the oven until the cornbread is a golden brown color and the flesh of the squash is fork tender but not mushy.
That is it! It is done and ready to serve.
How To Choose A Good Acorn Squash
There are a few things to be mindful of and check for. Start by checking the skin. It should be firm, with no soft spots.
It should be deep in color and feel heavy for its size.
Also, check the top of the squash, you want to make sure the stem is intact, if not, bacteria can get in.
Last, it should be a good mix of green and orange colors.
Variations On The Cornbread
One of the beauties of this recipe is it is really easy to mix it up. Let me give you a few suggestions.
If you want a little sweeter dressing, you can always mix in some maple syrup, or even brown sugar.
If you have gone sweeter with the recipe, how about adding in some apples as well. Or dried fruit is really good too, like dried cranberries or golden raisins.
You can also add rice into the mix as well. Make sure it is cooked first as the baking will not cook it fully. You could add in wild rice (which is a great fall rice0, or even brown rice.
If you want a different flavor on the sausage, you could use Italian sausage, or even ground beef. Both will give it a very different flavor, but both are really good!
Spices will change the dish as well. If you want to use warm spices, add in a little cinnamon, nutmeg, and even cloves.
Different cheeses can also be mixed in to change the flavor. Parmesan cheese is really good, as are gruyere, and gouda.
If you decide to cut use squash half instead of the rings, just know it will take longer to bake. Check for color, but also tenderness of the squash. These would be a squash boat. Still really delicious, just a little longer baking time.
If you have some leftover, simply wrap tightly with saran wrap or store in an airtight container. Place it in the fridge and it will hold well for up to a week.
When you are ready to reheat, I think the microwave is the best way to do it.
These little squash are really filling, so they can easily be the main course, especially if you are cutting it and serving it as squash halves!
There are plenty of squash varieties that will work well. Butternut and banana squash are both really good with the sausage dressing, as are delicata and other pumpkins.
It sure can. Omit the sausage and use vegetarian stock instead of chicken.
It can, but I don't recommend it. The flavor is kind of funny after your thaw and reheat.
Other Recipes For Holidays
- Cornbread Dressing
- Praline Pumpkin Pie
- Chocolate Pecan Pie
- Stuffed Pork Tenderloin Recipe
- Parker House Rolls
- Garlic Herb Dinner Rolls
- Autumn Kale Salad
- Butternut Risotto
Acorn Squash Rings with Cornbread Stuffing
- 1 acorn squash
- 4 cups cornbread, broken into small pieces
- 8 ounces Sausage I used Jimmy Dean hot sausage, but you can use whatever you like.
- ¾ cup vegetable or chicken stock
- ¾ cup diced celery
- ½ cup diced onions
- 1 teaspoon sage I used dry, but if you had fresh, slice it thinly.
- 1 egg, beaten
- salt and pepper I used about 1 teaspoons salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. This would depend largely on how salty your stock is.
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Wash acorn squash well. Slice off both ends of the squash. Cut rings by cutting ½-3/4 inch sections of squash. Hollow out insides of the squash. Place rings on baking dish. Sprinkle with a little salt.
- Add your sausage to a pan and cook over medium heat.
- When it is just about done, add in the celery and onions. Cook about 3-5 minutes.
- Transfer the sausage mixture to a bowl and let it cool slightly.
- Add in your stock, cornbread, seasonings, and beaten egg.
- Mix well to combine.
- Now, scoop your filling into the acorn rings. I used a large portion scoop to fill it just as full as I could.
- Brush with the melted butter and place in the preheated oven.
- Bake for about 35-45 minutes until the cornbread is golden brown and the squash tender.
- That is it! They are ready to be enjoyed.