Quinoa and Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash – Sweet acorn squash stuffed with spicy Italian sausage, quinoa, sweet dried cranberries and walnuts. A perfect fall dinner that can be even be made ahead of time!
Instead of using rice in this stuffed acorn squash, I switch things up and used quinoa. It turns out to be the perfect fluffy (and healthy) grain for this recipe. Then to add some spice and extra protein, I included Italian sausage.
With the final addition of walnuts, cranberries, and cheese, this recipe is like an edible fall cornucopia. It’s overflowing with wonderful textures and autumn flavors.
Now, this recipe is a meal unto itself. But on a chilly night, you can make a seriously hearty spread by serving it with Roasted Brussels Sprouts with balsamic dressing. Along with a Roasted Squash and Goat Cheese Salad, you’ll feel warm, cozy, and satiated.
Why This Recipe Works
- It’s protein packed. With quinoa, sausage, and walnuts, this dish is loaded with nutrition.
- It’s comforting. Starchy squash, a hearty sausage, and cheese fill you up and warm your bones.
- A perfect balance of savory and sweet. From the spicy, savory sausage to the sweet squash and tart cranberries, your taste buds will be dancing.
- Easy to make ahead of time. Roast and fill the squash a day in advance, then bake it when you’re ready for an easy dinner.
What You’ll Need
- Acorn squash – Buttery, sweet acorn squash is the perfect base for this recipe.
- Italian sausage – Spicy Italian sausage adds a hearty texture and bold flavor.
- Quinoa – Light, fluffy quinoa packs in extra nutrition.
- Toasted walnuts – These roasted nuts add a satisfying crunch and nutty taste.
- Dried cranberries – Tart, sweet cranberries give a nice flavor contrast to the savory ingredients. They also add color and a pleasing chewy texture.
- Parmesan cheese – That sharp parmesan flavor makes every recipe better.
- Mozzarella cheese – Melty mozzarella adds a creamy richness that takes it over the top.
- Thyme – This warming herb gives a touch of home-cooked flavor.
- Sage – Sage offers a hearty, savory herbal flavor.
- Garlic – Fresh garlic adds savory, garlicky goodness to the Italian sausage.
- Onion – Onion creates a strong base of savory flavor with a hint of sweetness.
- Olive oil – Olive oil seeps into the squash as it roasts, making it extra soft, rich, and delicious.
Acorn squash is a hard squash shaped much like its namesake, the acorn. They’re usually green in color with an orange or yellowish blush. Like any other hard squash, you’ll need to cut it in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds before using it.
How To Make Stuffed Acorn Squash
- Prepare the squash – Drizzle olive oil over the inside of each half of the acorn squash. Then sprinkle it with salt and pepper.
- Roast the squash – Place the acorn squash cut side up on a baking sheet. Roast for 45 minutes at 350°F until just tender.
- Cook the Italian Sausage – In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the Italian sausage with the onions. Break the sausage apart as it cooks. Cook until browned, about 6-8 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
- Mix the filling – In a large bowl, combine the quinoa, sausage mixture, walnuts, cranberries, spices, and Parmesan. Mix until fully combined.
- Fill the squash – Fill each half of the cooked squash with the quinoa mixture and top with mozzarella cheese.
- Bake – Bake in a 350°F oven until the cheese is melted.
- To make this ahead of time, prepare the recipe but stop just before topping it with mozzarella. Then cover and refrigerate. When you’re ready, bake at 350°F for 30 minutes or until heated through. Then top with mozzarella and melt in the oven before serving.
- Hang on to the acorn squash seeds if you like roasted pumpkin seeds! Toss them in a light amount of olive oil and season to taste before roasting. Yum!
- For something different, try switching out the cheeses. Sprinkle the top with cotija, pepper jack cheese, or sharp cheddar.
- Don’t like dried fruit in your dinner? Feel free to omit the cranberries.
One acorn squash will feed two people. If you’re expecting guests, plan for each person to have one-half of a squash.
To store your leftovers, keep them in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Then, eat them within 3-4 days for the best taste.
Yes! You could use cooked brown or white rice if you don’t have quinoa. Barley, farro, or even kasha (toasted buckwheat) are also excellent alternatives.
How To Serve Stuffed Acorn Squash
- Sparkling Fall Sangria is a refreshing adult beverage that keeps up the autumn meal theme.
- Pomegranate Bellinis are an amazing cocktail for a fall dinner party or a cozy night in.
- Apple Cider Cocktails are a perfect match for stuffed squash, and they’re easy to make without alcohol!
- Fall Couscous Salad can be a light appetizer to serve before this dish.
- Parmesan-Garlic Roasted Edamame is a fun appetizer that everyone will love.
- Air Fryer Green Bean Fries offer extra crunch in a side dish without the guilt.
More Comforting Fall Dinner Recipes
- Roasted Butternut Squash is delicious and incredibly versatile.
- Butternut Squash Risotto offers the creaminess of risotto with tender butternut squash.
- Curried Butternut Squash Soup is a great way to get your vegetables in and feel like you ordered takeout.
- Instant Pot Vegetable Beef Soup brings all the comfort you need on a cold night with extra veggies!
- Brown Butter Gnocchi with vegetables and pine nuts is luxurious simplicity at its finest.
- Carrot Ginger Soup is a sweet & gingery way to enjoy eating healthier.
- 2 acorn squash, halved and seeds removed
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- salt & pepper
- 12 oz Italian sausage
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 1/3 cup toasted walnuts
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries
- 2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 350º F.
- Drizzle olive oil over the inside of the halved squash. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and cook for 45 minutes, or until just tender.
- Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add Italian sausage and onions to the pan. Break apart sausage and cook for 6-8 minutes until browned. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute, until fragrant.
- In a large bowl combine cooked quinoa, sausage mixture, walnuts, dried cranberries, thyme, sage, salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese. Mix until well combined.
- Spoon quinoa mixture into the cooked halves of squash. Top with Mozzarella cheese.
- Return to oven and bake until the cheese is melted.
Adapted from Cooking Light
To made ahead: Prepare recipe until you top with Mozzarella cheese. Cover and refrigerate. When ready, heat at 350 for 30 minutes or until heated through. Top with cheese to melt and serve.
Serving Size4 Servings
Amount Per Serving Calories 678Total Fat 38gSaturated Fat 12gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 28gCholesterol 61mgSodium 1435mgCarbohydrates 59gFiber 10gSugar 15gProtein 28g
Nutrition Disclaimer: All information presented on this site is intended for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and any nutritional information shared on dinnersdishesanddesserts.com should only be used as a general guideline.
I created a fun group on Facebook, and I would love for you to join us! It’s a place where you can share YOUR favorite recipes, ask questions, and see what’s new at Dinners, Dishes and Desserts (so that you never miss a new recipe)!
Be sure to follow me on Instagram and tag #dinnersdishes so I can see all the wonderful DINNERS, DISHES, AND DESSERTS recipes YOU make!
Be sure to follow me on my social media, so you never miss a post!