This recipe for stuffed acorn squash with brown rice, kale, cranberries and pecans is a delicious and creative use for acorn squash that can be prepared ahead of time and easily reheated for lunches and dinners throughout the week. It’s a perfect fall meal that can be prepared meatless or with chopped or shredded chicken or turkey.
I am in full fall food mode and have been buying up all the winter squash at the farmers market. This recipe idea came to me when I was looking for something to do with my acorn squash other than roast it and eat it. I think acorn squash lends itself perfectly to stuffing so I decided to create a filling that featured some of my favorite fall flavors like hearty brown rice, kale, toasted pecans and cranberries.
I started by roasting my acorn squash. I pre-roasted it until it was tender and nearly cooked through. While it was roasting I cooked the rice and assembled the filling.
The filling is a mix of sautéed onion, shallots, kale and garlic with pecans, dried cranberries and fresh sage.
The sautéed kale mixture is stirred into the rice. I also added some shredded cooked chicken to my filling but it’s definitely not necessary and if you’re going for a meatless meal, you won’t miss it. Looking forward to Thanksgiving, this would also be a great use for leftover turkey.
Here are the pre-roasted squash halves piled high with the kale, pecan and cranberry stuffing.
Because I think cheese almost always makes everything better, I added a sprinkle of gouda cheese to my stuffed acorn squash. You could absolutely skip the cheese if you want to keep this dairy-free.
I popped the squash back in the oven to finish cooking with the stuffing, The house smelled wonderful while it was cooking and I can promise you that the taste matches up to the presentation and aromas. This stuffed acorn squash is a simple, one-dish meal and one of my favorite fall recipes that I have ever created.
Stuffed Acorn Squash with Brown Rice, Kale, Cranberries and PecansPrint
Stuffed Acorn Squash with Brown Rice, Kale, Cranberries and Pecans
- 2 acorn squash
- 2 cups cooked brown rice (or quinoa)
- 1/2 large onion
- 2 cups chopped fresh kale
- 1 small shallot, finely diced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus a little more
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans, lightly toasted
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1 tablespoon butter (optional but highly suggested)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage, finely diced
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 cup shredded cheese (mozzarella, white cheddar, gouda, monterey jack, etc)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Place squash flesh side down in a baking dish and add about 1 inch of water to the pan. Loosely cover with foil and place in oven to bake until tender, about 30-45 minutes.
- In the meantime, prepare rice according to package directions. While rice and squash are cooking, sauté the onion, kale and shallots in a large pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Once onions are soft and translucent and kale has wilted down, add the garlic and cook for about 1-2 more minutes. Remove from heat and stir in pecans and cranberries. Place cooked rice in a bowl and add butter and salt/pepper to taste. Add the sautéed veggie mixture and fresh sage and toss to combine. Season again to taste with salt and pepper.
- Remove squash from the oven and carefully flip flesh side up. Pour any remaining water out of the baking dish. Fill the squash with the stuffing mixture, letting it overflow a bit. Top with cheese if desired. Return to the oven and cook for another 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted and everything is heated through.