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These sausage stuffed acorn squash have a savory sourdough stuffing, full of pecans and cranberries. Make this recipe for part of your holiday meal or a weeknight dinner!
Whether you call it sausage stuffing or dressing, imagine it baked into acorn squash with sautéed onions and celery, pecans, and fresh cranberries. And of course, a drizzle of maple syrup on top. The result is our new favorite fall meal, and it is off the hook tasty!
The stuffed squash is filling enough to be a meal in itself, but if you make the servings smaller, it’s also a great Thanksgiving side dish.
Speaking of Thanksgiving and other special holidays, these would be gorgeous on the table with a roasted turkey! If you plan to make one, I have an entire post on tips for roasting and carving a turkey.
Sausage stuffed acorn squash
The ingredients you’ll need to make this recipe are pretty basic, but I have few notes and substitutions to mention.
Ingredient notes and substitutions
- Acorn squash– I prefer the sweetness of this squash, but the recipe will definitely work with other types of winter squash. It would work well with butternut squash, or even spaghetti squash.
- Sausage– Any regular ground pork sausage will work. You could also use ground Italian sausage, a tube of breakfast sausage, or even hot sausage if you want to.
- Sourdough bread– If you’re feeling adventurous, you can make homemade sourdough bread. Otherwise, buy it ready to use. You could also use regular stuffing cubes or croutons.
- Cranberries– Fresh or frozen cranberries may be used. If you have a hard time finding them, you can use dried cranberries.
- Pecans– Of course, any type of nut can be used. Walnuts or even almonds would be delicious. You can omit the nuts entirely if you need or want to.
Another option instead of using cranberries is to make apple sausage stuffing.
If meat isn’t your thing, leave the sausage out. I highly recommend it though, as the sausage adds a bit of savory moisture and texture that takes this over the top from side dish to main course.
Or, use a protein-rich substitute like lentils, or chopped portobello mushrooms, which are often used as a vegan meat substitute.
Video: Making sausage stuffed acorn squash
To see how easy the stuffed squash recipe is to make, watch the video located in the recipe card below!
Make ahead instructions
If you’d like to make sausage stuffed acorn squash ahead of time, it can be done. However, you’ll need to keep the stuffing separate from the squash until you’re ready to bake it.
Both should be fine in the refrigerator for up to two days, but it’s best not to wait much longer than that.
To prevent any chance of illness from bacteria, use a cooking thermometer to be sure that the filling reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.
This post, first published on Kevin Is Cooking Oct. 17, 2016, was last updated with new content on Sept. 7, 2021.
Sausage Stuffed Acorn Squash + Video
- 4 slices sourdough bread toasted and cubed (See Note 1)
- 2 acorn squash halved and seeded
- 1/2 lb sausage meat See Note 2
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 medium yellow onion chopped
- 2 stalks celery chopped
- 2-3 sage leaves chopped (see Note 3)
- 1/2 tsp ground thyme
- 1/2 tsp dried parsley
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 pinch red pepper flakes
- 1 large egg
- 1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken stock
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- 1/2 cup pecans chopped
- 2 tbsp maple syrup divided
- Preheat oven 425°F. Using a sharpened kitchen knife, cut the acorn squash in half vertically starting at tip down to the stem. Scoop out the seeds and discard. Rub oil all over squash and salt and pepper the cut sides. Place cut side up on lined baking sheet and bake for 40 minutes or until fork tender. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
- Toast the sourdough bread slices and then cube, set aside.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat and the oil, sausage meat and start to brown, 4 minutes. Add the onion, celery, herbs, red pepper flakes and salt to taste. Cook for another 6 minutes. Remove from skillet and add to large bowl to cool.
- When sausage mixture is cool enough to handle add the bread, egg and chicken stock. Toss to coat evenly. Add the cranberries and pecans and mix.
- Divide stuffing mixture evenly between each squash half and press down gently to mold in cavity. Drizzle with maple syrup and bake for another 15-20 minutes, and tops are golden brown and crispy.
- Use thick slices of bread, about the thickness of two sandwich bread slices.
- I used half (8 ounces) regular pork sausage. There’s also the Spicy HOT version if you’d like a spicier stuffing.
- Substitute 1/2 teaspoon of ground sage if fresh isn’t available.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.