Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash

$6.19 recipe / $1.55 serving
by Beth - Budget Bytes
4.85 from 13 votes
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You guys, Thanksgiving is right around the corner! And if you’ve been looking for a vegetarian (or vegan) main dish for Thanksgiving, this one is for you. And if you just want a show-stopping Autumn-inspired dish for any other day of the week, this one is for you, too. ;) This Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash is is colorful, flavorful, full of texture, and just as delicious as it is beautiful. It’s definitely a new favorite that I’m going to be making every year going forward!

Wild rice stuffed acorn squash in a white casserole dish from above

Make it Vegan

The recipe as written below is vegetarian because it does include butter. To make this recipe vegan, simply swap the butter with a vegan butter substitute or your favorite cooking oil. I do feel like the butter adds some extra richness because of the butter cream, so a vegan butter substitute will probably be the closest flavor match.

Swap out the Wild Rice Blend

I used Lundberg Wild Rice Blend, but if that is not available in your area or you want to swap it out for other reasons, it can easily be swapped out for any grain or grain mix that you like. Just cook your grain according to the package directions, using broth in place of water for extra flavor, as I did below. Then simply add the cooked grain into the recipe at the same point I added the cooked wild rice blend.

How Do You Eat Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash?

Sure, these stuffed acorn squash are pretty, but how do you eat them?? Just dig in with a fork, grabbing some of the baked acorn squash flesh on each forkful with the filling. Think of it kind of like eating a stuffed baked potato. And while acorn squash skin is edible, it can be quite tough, so I usually just scoop everything out of the skin and leave the shell of skin behind. :)

Can This Be Prepared Ahead?

You can prepare the wild rice filling ahead of time, and then bake the acorn squash, stuff it, and finish baking the day it will be served. I think it’s best to roast the squash the day of instead of fully baking and assembling the day before because it will take just as long to reheat the stuffed squash in the oven as it would to just bake it fresh. But you can save time by preparing the filling the day before. The color of the filling may dull a bit when prepared ahead, but the flavor should still be just as delicious!

Wild rice stuffed acorn squash close up from the front
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Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash

4.85 from 13 votes
Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash makes a great vegetarian (or vegan) Thanksgiving main dish, or a delicious dinner for any chilly fall evening!
Author: Beth – Budget Bytes
wild rice stuffed acorn squash close up from above
Servings 4
Prep 15 mins
Cook 1 hr 5 mins
Total 1 hr 20 mins

Ingredients

Roasted Acorn Squash

  • 2 acorn squash (3 lbs. total) ($3.01)
  • tsp salt ($0.01)
  • tsp pepper ($0.01)

Wild Rice Stuffing

  • ½ cup wild rice blend (uncooked) ($0.72)
  • 1 cup vegetable broth ($0.13)
  • 2 Tbsp butter* ($0.28)
  • 1 yellow onion ($0.32)
  • 3 ribs celery ($0.32)
  • 1 apple ($0.70)
  • ½ tsp dried sage ($0.05)
  • ½ tsp dried thyme ($0.05)
  • ¼ tsp salt ($0.02)
  • ¼ tsp pepper ($0.02)
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts ($0.30)
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries ($0.22)
  • 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley ($0.05)

Instructions 

  • Combine the wild rice blend and vegetable broth in a pot. Place a lid on the pot and bring the broth up to a boil over high heat. Once it reaches a boil, reduce the heat to low, and let the rice simmer for 45 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Cut each acorn squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Season the cut side of each squash with a pinch of salt and pepper. Place the squash on a parchment lined baking sheet, cut side down. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
  • While the rice is cooking and squash is baking, begin the rest of the filling. Dice an onion and add it to a deep skillet with the butter. Sauté the onion over medium heat until soft. While the onion is sautéing, finely chop the celery. Add the celery to the skillet and continue to sauté for a few minutes more.
  • Core and dice the apple, then add it to the skillet, along with the sage, thyme, salt, and pepper. Continue to sauté for a few minutes more, or just until the apple is slightly softened.
  • When the wild rice is finished cooking, add it to the skillet with the onion, celery, and apples. Also add the walnuts, cranberries, and chopped parsley. Stir to combine.
  • Turn the acorn squash over so the cut side is facing up (you can either leave them on the baking sheet or place them in a casserole dish). Fill the cavities in the squash with the wild rice mixture. Return the stuffed squash to the oven and bake for an additional 20 minutes. Serve hot.

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Notes

*Use a vegan butter substitute or your favorite cooking oil to make this recipe vegan.

Nutrition

Serving: 1stuffed squashCalories: 401.68kcalCarbohydrates: 75.95gProtein: 6.9gFat: 11.75gSodium: 561.33mgFiber: 9.85g
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wild rice stuffed acorn squash close up from above

How to Make Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash – Step by Step Photos

Wild rice package and some in a pot

Begin cooking the wild rice blend first because it takes the longest. You can use a different grain if you prefer. To cook this Wild rice blend, combine ½ cup of the rice blend with 1 cup vegetable broth. Place a lid on top, bring it up to a boil over high heat, then reduce to low and let simmer for 45 minutes.

Seeds scooped from acorn squash

Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Cut two acorn squash in half, lengthwise, then scoop out the seeds with a spoon.

Seasoned cut acorn squash

Place the acorn squash on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Season the cut sides of the acorn squash with a small pinch of salt and pepper. Turn the squash over so it is cut side down, then transfer to the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes.

roasted acorn squash on the baking sheet

After roasting for 20 minutes the squash will be mostly tender, but it will be baked again once stuffed to finish it off. While the acorn squash is roasting, begin making the rest of the filling…

diced onion and butter in a deep skillet

Dice an onion and add it to a deep skillet with 2 Tbsp butter. Sauté over medium heat until the onion is soft.

Diced celery added to skillet

While the onion is sautéing, finely dice 3 ribs celery. Add them to the skillet and continue to sauté.

Apple and herbs added to the skillet

While the onion and celery are sautéing, core and dice an apple. Add the apple to the skillet along with ½ tsp dried sage, ½ tsp dried thyme, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp pepper. Continue to sauté just a few minute more or just until the apple begins to soften.

Wild rice, walnuts, cranberries, and parsley added to the pot

When the wild rice blend is finished cooking, add it to the skillet, along with ¼ cup chopped walnuts, ¼ cup dried cranberries, and about 1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley. Stir to combine.

finished stuffing in the skillet

And then you have the finished stuffing. It’s so colorful, has so much texture, and it is SO DELICIOUS. Give it a taste and adjust the salt to your taste buds.

Stuffed and baked acorn squash in a casserole dish

Finally, turn the squash over so they are cut side up (you can transfer to a casserole dish if you’d like, or leave them on the baking sheet) and stuff the cavities with the wild rice mixture. Bake the stuffed acorn squash for an additional 20 minutes, then serve.

Stuffed acorn squash in a casserole dish, from above
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  1. A splendid recipe!  I used the filling “straight “ as a side with fresh salmon.  A few changes. 1.  I used raisins which I soaked briefly in boiling water to soften them and add a touch of flavored moisture.  2.  A tablespoon or two of dry vermouth  used at end of step 3 deglazes the pan and cuts the raisins’ sweetness.  3. I increased thyme, because I like it and again to tame the raisins.  I’m going to try freezing some for my solitary meals.   Have you tried adding eggs to make patties or latkes?…. (PS: I’m 82, so I remember quite a history of foods and chefs.  When Julia Child landed in USA, people protested her frequent use of wine, saying it was expensive and didn’t keep.  She responded that dry vermouth is very close to fine French wines, is inexpensive, and lasts indefinitely.  That was the 1960’s, and dry vermouth is still  a fixture in my pantry!!)

  2. This was so good! We made ours in kabocha squashes, which took a little bit longer to cook, but the flavors were spot-on. We’ll definitely be making again in the future!

  3. This is such a great recipe! I’ve made it several times and it’s great on its own with a green salad on the side.

    The recipe is pretty flexible. Once I had a couple of handfuls of fresh spinach leftover from another recipe, so I chopped that up, along with a pear instead of an apple. On another occasion, I had a link of Italian turkey sausage to use up, so I removed the casing and cooked it with the onions. It’s nice to have a base recipe that stands up to tweaks based on what’s left in my fridge.

  4. This recipe is delicious! I did add a small amount of pure maple syrup on top after the bake, and that added just a bit of sweetness 

  5. Wow!  This looks fantastic!  Thank you for sharing.  I don’t want to wait for Turkey day to enjoy this.  

  6. My family loves this recipe.Great combination of savory and sweet.Easy to make.Thanks for sharing.

  7. This is fantastic! I used farro instead of rice and added TVP rehydrated in veg stock to the skillet before stuffing the squash. Even the non-vegan was happy!

  8. 10 minutes in the micro wave is just as effective as oven. I use the acorn squash as a bowl. Cut a small slice off the bottom as to make the squash sit on its own. Then I cut the top of the acorn squash as to use like a lid. Then prepare what ever your wanting to stuff it with, replace the top and then either bake or put in the micro wave.

  9. WOW!!!! I have been looking at this recipe  for years and just now got around to trying it. We changed a couple of things. Dried bing cherries because the only dried cranberries I could find had added sugar. We used chopped pecans rather than walnuts because it’s what we had on hand. The apples and cherries worked so great with the flavor of the celery, onion, thyme and sage. My husband suggested a drizzle of balsamic reduction at the end and it really made the flavors pop. My only regret is that we didn’t make this sooner. It was amazing! Thanks, Beth!

  10. When I made this the first time, I followed the recipe perfectly, and while the flavors were delicious, I wasn’t a big fan of having to scoop the squash out, and I found the squash a bit too soft and sweet when cooked this way, and too hard to “distribute” with everything else. I made this again, but I sliced the squash thin and roasted it until each piece was slightly crispy. Then I mixed the slices in a casserole dish with the filling, roasted a bit longer, and served. It was like all the flavors of fall in one dish.

  11. Very good, although I must confess I made it with some chicken added. I don’t like dark meat, and struggle to find uses for it when I get one of those roasted chickens. I added some chopped up chicken right after the apple. I’m sure it doesn’t need the chicken though, very tasty.

  12. Good recipe! My husband and I devoured the rice filling and still enjoyed the acorn squash. I think you could make it either way. It looks nice as accompaniment to the acorn squash or you could make the rice as a side. Either way. Yummy!

  13. Okay wow. I just made this and my husband and I devoured it. Perfect ratios on everything. I *thought* that I would have too much of the wild rice mix for the amount of acorn squash that I had, but as we ate we kept adding the leftover rice mix and it was perfect.

    If you have any vegan/vegetarian/plant-based friends (heck any diet) that you want to wow make this!