Stuffed Acorn Squash

Squash is one of the most versatile and beloved vegetables for fall. Patty Morrissey won a cooking contest on Twin Cities Live a few years ago and today she shares three different ways on how to make squash.

Stuffed Acorn Squash

4 small acorn squash
1 lb. sweet Italian sausage
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 rib celery, diced
1 apple, cored, peels on. Diced. Any variety works except pineapple
1 cup (already cooked) wild rice
1 cup halved pecans, broken in big chunks
1 cup baby portabella mushrooms, diced
1 cup dried cranberries
1 egg, stirred a bit
1 tsp dried rosemary leaves, crush with mortar and pestle or chop fine
1 tsp dried thyme leaves, crush with mortar and pestle or chop fine
1 -3 sage leaves chopped fine if fresh; ½ tsp ground
Freshly ground black pepper to taste


3 slices bread dried in oven and crumbled, or 2/3 cup bread crumbs
2 Tbsp. garlic butter (or add 1 tsp. garlic powder to melted butter)

How to make it:

Wash your squash and cut off just the very ends. Cut squash from stem end to butt end (this helps your squash stay balanced when served.) Scoop out seeds with a spoon. Poke inside of halves with a fork a few times. Spray the insides with a light coating of Pam. Turn cut side down on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in 400°oven for 25-30 minutes. Check squash – could need more time depending on size. The meat of the squash should be tender but shape should still be maintained. Pull it off when bottom near skin still feels a little firm-ish because it will go back in the oven later.

While squash is in the oven, brown the sausage in a non-stick frying pan. In a larger skillet, add oil and heat to medium high. Add onion, celery, apple, rice, nuts, mushrooms, cranberries, and spices. Sauté until celery is almost tender. Add sausage to mixture. Remove from heat and add in egg. Stir well.

When squash is cooled enough to handle, scoop out enough of the squash to make a receptacle for the filling. Don’t remove all the squash or you will be sad. Reserve that squash for another use (I have also mixed it in with the filling and packed in right back in – up to you). Distribute your filling among the 8 halves. Mix bread crumbs and melted butter and top each acorn. Put them back in the oven at 375° for 20 minutes.

Roasted Vegetables

1 small zucchini squash, cut in 1-2 inch chunks
1 yellow squash, cut in 1-2 inch chunks
1 orange bell pepper, cut in 1-2 inch chunks
1 red bell pepper, cut in 1-2 inch chunks
1 bunch asparagus; snip off tough ends, cut in 2 inch lengths
1 purple onion, peeled and cut in eighths (try keep layers together in the section)
2 cups baby portabella mushrooms, halved
2 cup fresh green beans – can sub Brussel sprouts cut in half, outer leaves removed
2 cups baby carrots, sliced in half lengthwise
6 cloves garlic, cut in half
2/3 cup pine nuts
2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 – 3 tsp. rosemary leaves, crushed
2 tsp. kosher salt
Cracked ground pepper
½ fresh lemon
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

How to make it:

Prepare all vegetables while oven preheats to 450°. Place vegetables in large bowl with rosemary, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Toss well. Pour out onto large cookie sheet with edges, lined with parchment paper. Single layer is important, use 2 pans if needed and rotate for even cooking. Roast 15 minutes. Remove, stir, and return to oven for another 10 minutes. Check whether vegetables are desired doneness. Add pine nuts for last 5-7 minutes of cook time. Remove from oven. Squeeze lemon over all, drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Serve as a main dish, side dish, or mix with cooked pasta, rice, or beans for a full meal. Can add cubed or crumbled feta cheese for creaminess at end if desired.

Savory Butternut Apple Curry Soup

2 Lbs. Butternut Squash
1 Tbsp. butter
1 apple, cored and diced, peels on. Any type works but green or crisp red preferred vs sweet baking apple.
1 medium yellow onion. Diced.
1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced fine.
1 ½ Tbsp. curry powder
4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup hard apple cider (alcohol will cook off) Can also use apple juice.
Salt and pepper to taste.


Crème Fraiche
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

How it make it:

Wash squash, cut lengthwise. Scoop out pulp and seeds. Poke flesh with fork a few times. Spray cut sides with Pam. Place cut sides down on a cookie sheet with edges, lined with parchment paper. Roast in 400° oven for 45-55 minutes, depending on how large squash is. The meat of the squash should be tender. Remove from skins with a spoon when cool enough to handle. Discard skins.

Meanwhile, melt butter in large kettle until bubbly. Add apple and onion, salt and pepper if used; sauté until tender. Add ginger and curry; stir and cook 2 minutes, be careful not to burn the ginger. Add broth, hard cider, and cooked squash. Simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and scoop into a blender or food processor. Blend until all lumps are gone. Return to stove to re-heat. Serve in bowls with a dollop of crème fraiche on top, a pinch of seeds, and a sprinkle of nutmeg over all.

Along with her passion for cooking, patty is a volunteer at Finnegans…the only beer company to donate 100% of profits to feeding the hungry. You can learn more about their mission here.

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