Have you ever tried acorn squash? It's not as popular as the slightly sweet butternut squash or trendy striped delicata squash, but it definitely deserves a spot at your dinner table. Acorn squashes are a deep orange color, often flecked with dark green spots, and--as the name implies--shaped like an acorn.
If you're looking for a beautiful, eco-friendly fall accent for your home, grab 2-3 acorn squashes and let them hang out on your counter (or wherever you want to put them) until you're ready to cook them for supper.
Stuffed Acorn Squash
Since an acorn squash is relatively small and almost heart-shaped it's perfect for stuffing. I like to bake mine in the oven until fork-tender then stuff them with seasonal ingredients + a protein. In the past, I've stuffed my acorn squashes with chorizo, black beans & rice (SO yummy, although I really need to re-photograph the post). I want to try ground Italian sausage or Cajun sausage with apple, cranberries & stuffing (a.k.a. dressing) soon.
Today's recipe is actually a version of a baked stuffed acorn squash with ground beef, diced apple, and brown rice that I published back in December 2012. It's adapted from this stuffed sweet acorn squash recipe, with a few tweaks that make it non-Whole 30 compliant (sorry, rice just sounded good).
The fact that it's October and some states are experiencing fall weather (ahem...not Northern Texas) was reason enough for me to dig back into my archives + this post was begging to be updated (at least the photos).
That and it gave me an excuse to fix winter squash again for my squash-hating boyfriend (as he's fondly known here on the blog). I actually shared quite a few squash recipes in my first year of blogging and it was a running joke back then that I'd have to try every single winter and summer squash recipe out there in order to get my beau to like one of them.
Did it work? Mmmmm...not really. I mean, he'll either tolerate it (he likes my roasted butternut squash soup) or just eat everything else on the plate except the squash. I'm still holding out that his taste buds will change in a few years and he'll magically enjoy it all of a sudden.
Hey, it could happen! I used to hate blue cheese and onions and now I eat them every chance I can get. The beau has also started eating yogurt this year, where he wouldn't touch it before.
Beef, Apple & Rice Filling For Acorn Squash
Although acorn squash makes a beautiful and healthy vessel for a meal (winter squash is super duper good for you), my favorite part of this recipe is undoubtedly the filling.
Even though it uses humble ingredients like ground beef and short grain white rice, it's laced with buttery coconut oil and fragrant thyme + oregano. Let me tell you, coconut + thyme is a heavenly combo!
Of course, I think it's even better when you use a batch of my easy coconut rice with coconut milk, which takes the same amount of time & effort to fix on the stove-top as plain rice.
So altogether you have a mixture of slightly sweet (apple + squash) and buttery (coconut oil + coconut rice) ingredients tossed with savory protein (beef) and fragrant herbs (thyme + oregano).
Oh, but you can't forget the shredded cheese that you sprinkle on top then melt quick-like under the broiler. Well, unless you're avoiding dairy. In that case...totally forget it.
Easy Fall Dinner Recipe (Even For A Weeknight)
If any of this seems fancy or complicated, please know it's not! This recipe is actually easy and semi-quick enough to fix on a weeknight. Simply cut the squash in half, season it, pop it in the oven to bake for about 35-40 minutes, and fix the filling + rice on the stove while the acorn squash is baking.
If the squashes aren't too big (you could raise the temperature slightly so they bake faster) you can have this whole meal done in 40 minutes--maybe even 30!
Psssst...If you happen to make one of my recipes or DIY crafts and share it on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter make sure to use the hashtag #therisingspoon and tag my account @therisingspoon so I see it! It helps me so much to get feedback on my creations and it totally makes my day. :)
Notes & Tips
- The original recipe that I adapted this from back in 2012 called for 1/2 tsp sage and dried cranberries, but I didn't have any so left it out. If you make the recipe and add either of those ingredients, let me know!
- If you don't want to scoop out the cooked squash, you can simply spoon the filling on top. I've tried it both ways and prefer having the squash mixed with the filling so I get a bit in every bite. Do it however you like!
- To make this recipe grain-free, simply leave out the rice and make sure you scoop out the squash and mix it into the filling. OR you can substitute cauliflower rice instead. Either way, it'll still be yummy. :)
I'd like to hear from YOU!
What's your favorite way to fix acorn squash?
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