Baked Acorn Squash stuffed with cranberries, pistachios, wild rice and chopped dates. Made sweet with the help of a little maple syrup and butter. The Ultimate Stuffed squash Recipe is the perfect side for Thanksgiving or weeknight dinner. Vegetarian and Gluten-Free.
I am in love with fall. For me, it is the best time of the year for so many reasons.
- The changing leaves are beautiful
- Sweater and Fashion Boot Weather has arrived!
- Bugs have scrammed
- The food! Apples, pears, turkey, squash, pumpkin (I know squash family), zucchini (yup, squash family again) and baking season.
Fall food is the best! Christmas food is good but for me focusses mainly on getting as many cookies as possible in my stomach. While fall food…well fall food is all about warm, rustic, hearty comfort. Comfort food that is both pretty to look at and healthy and delicious to eat!
my favourite fall recipes to try
- Cranberry Apple Brussel Sprouts Salad
- Leftover Turkey Pot Pie
- Oven Roasted Turkey Made Simply
- Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats
- Date Squares
- Apple Cider Mimosas
So now that we have the important stuff like all the fun things to eat this fall covered let’s get down to it. How do you make The Ultimate Baked Acorn Squash?
First, it is important to get the right squash. There are lots of different squashes out there but I prefer acorn squash. Small and roundish with orange spots and dark green skin. When it is cut in half it is the perfect size for a meal or side dish for one.
How To Pick the Best Acorn Squash
Look for an acorn squash that feels heavier than it looks with no soft spots or harsh blemishes. The rind should be dull dark green with only a few areas of orange. If the squash is shiny or more orange than green this is an indication that the squash has yet to ripen.
How to cut & prepare an acorn squash
You can cut the acorn squash down the middle length or widthwise. I prefer to cut from the stem to the bottom (lengthwise) but if you want to showcase the scalloped edges cut the squash widthwise. Then once cut in half scoop the stringy seedy centre and discard or separate the pulp from the seeds and roast them. Here is a great recipe for Perfectly Roasted Pumpkin or Squash Seeds.
No squash is perfect so when you cut them and then place them skin side down on a baking sheet you will likely have one or two that are lopsided. To make sure that the hollowed side is laying upright and flat simply cut a small flat slice on the bottom of the squash to form a solid base. This way when you fill the squash the stuffing won’t spill out.
How to make the acorn squash stuffing
Make the wild rice ahead of time according to package directions. If you don’t have wild rice you can use quinoa just as well.
Rough chop both the dates and pistachios.
The cranberries can be fresh or frozen. Combine all ingredients along with maple syrup in a medium-size bowl and mix well till combined. Using a basting brush baste the cut side of the squash with the melted butter. Spoon the stuffing evenly into the prepared acorn squash.
Bake at 375ºF for 1 hour and 15 to 30 minutes. Bake the acorn squash until the fork can easily be inserted into the flesh of the squash. If you notice that the rice is getting a little brown at the end of cooking just place a sheet of tin foil over top to prevent some of the looser rice kernels from getting a little too crispy.
Baked acorn squash variations try
- For a vegan acorn squash recipe simply substitute the melted butter for olive oil
- Use honey instead of maple syrup
- Wild rice can be swapped quinoa or barley
- Add chopped apples or pears instead of cranberries
- Replace the pistachios for walnuts or pecans
That’s it! Simple and I am totally going to toot my horn… this may be the best squash I have ever had. The squash is sweet but when combined with the cranberries it is like little bites of zing along with some sweetness all at the same time. Absolutely delicious! I had it for lunch and I am going to have it again for dinner kinda good!
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The Ultimate Baked Acorn Squash
- Large Knife
- Medium bowl
- Baking Sheet
- Basting Brush
- Measuring Cups
- 2 acorn squash
- 2 cups wild rice pre-cooked as per packaging directions
- 3/4 cup cranberries fresh or frozen
- 1/2 cup pistachios roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup pitted dates roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 3 tbsp butter melted
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Cut the acorn squash in half and scoop out the inside pulp and seeds.
- Lightly baste the edges and inside cavity of the cleaned acorn squash with the melted butter. Reserve the remaining butter for later.
- In a medium bowl combine 2 cups of pre-cooked wild rice, 1/2 cup chopped pistachios, 1/3 cup chopped dates, 3/4 cup cranberries and 1/3 cup maple syrup. Mix well to combine.
- Spoon the cranberry and wild rice stuffing mix into the cavity of the acorn squash evenly between the 4 squash halves. Spoon the remaining butter evenly over the stuffing of each of the 4 squash halves.
- Baked for 1 hour and 15-30 minutes or until a fork can easily pierce the flesh of the squash fully. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.
- Store leftovers that have been cooled in the refrigerator covered for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave before eating. Or if you like this can be eaten cold as well.
For the step-by-step version of this recipe, check out the How To Make The Ultimate Baked Acorn Squash Story.
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