Stuffed Acorn Squash with Candied Apples and Nuts

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Candied Apples and Nuts

Published on Wednesday, November 15, 2023
Lisa Green

Acid Reflux
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Customizable Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe for a Flavorful Autumn Dish

Who doesn’t love to stuff squash when the season of Autumn is in full bloom? I do not use acorn squash often, but after revisiting this delicious recipe, I know it will be on my fall favorite rotation schedule. What is great about this recipe is that it is entirely customizable to your taste and dietary preferences. 

The Versatile Acorn Squash: Nutrition and Tips

The acorn squash is a winter squash that is low in calories and rich in vitamins and minerals, especially vitamins A and C, which boost your eye health and immune system. They also contain potassium and are a good source of dietary fiber. If you’ve never cooked acorn squash before, here are some tips for choosing and preparing them:

  • Ripe acorn squashes have a deep green color with a touch of orange
  • They will feel heavy for their size, indicating they are fresh
  • If you have trouble cutting through the squash, microwave it for 2-3 minutes before cutting it
  • Don’t forget about the seeds! You can keep them to roast separately for a tasty snack later.

A Flexible Filling: Your Choice of Protein

When it comes to stuffing the squash, there are many variations you can make to this recipe to make it your own. This dish contains a flavorful filling with a combination of apples, pecans, and your choice of protein. This recipe calls for either turkey or pork for protein, but you could also substitute protein alternatives such as quinoa, oatmeal, lentils, or tofu.

Ground pork is a favorite of mine, which is what I use when I cook stuffed acorn squash. It has more fat than turkey, so it definitely has more flavor, which means you can cut some of the salt out of the recipe if you choose to make it with ground pork. Homemade recipes allow for better control over salt or sodium content, making this recipe a heart-healthy alternative by controlling the amount of salt you choose to use.

Nutritional Boosters: Apples and Pecans

The apples and pecans in the stuffing add nutrients and fiber to this dish and sensational flavors. The apples provide extra vitamin C, and the pecans are heart-healthy with protein and monounsaturated fats. You can get creative with this recipe by adding additional customizations, such as cranberries, raisins, or crumbled cheese (goat or feta), for added flavor if you would like! 

Serving Suggestions: A Complete Autumn Meal

You can serve the stuffed squash halves as a main dish for a comforting Autumn meal. If you want to add some garnish to the plate, parsley or thyme will give the acorn squash a pop color and add freshness. Some suggested pairings include sauteed greens, wild rice, mashed potatoes, or cranberry sauce. Enjoy!

[[ recipeID=recipe-8lon9tpl5, title=Stuffed Acorn Squash with Candied Apples and Nuts ]]


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Stuffed Acorn Squash with Candied Apples and Nuts

Servings: 4


  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hours 0 mins




Main Recipe

  • 2 acorn squash
  • 8 oz ground turkey or pork
  • 2 apples (Honeycrisp)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh “garlic” blend*
  • ½ cup candied pecans**
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • Salt and pepper (for seasoning)
  • ⅛ tsp Nutmeg
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • ⅛ tsp Allspice
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • ¼ cup lemon juice

*Fresh "Garlic" Blend

  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 bunch celery
  • 1 tablespoon fennel

**Candied Pecans

  • ½ cup pecans
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 egg white


Main Recipe

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. Cut the squash in half, and scoop out the seeds. Save the seeds, and bake them separately if you'd like.
  3. Poke the flesh of the squash with a fork—season with salt and pepper. Bake for 10-15 minutes until al dente. They will go back in the oven with the turkey or pork. 
  4. While the squash is in the oven, dice the apples and celery in one saute pan on medium to high heat, add a little olive oil, and add the celery and the fresh “garlic” substitute once warm. Saute for roughly 2 minutes, then add the turkey or pork. 
  5. Cook the turkey or pork just shy of being well done. A little pink is ok since it is going back in the oven. 
  6. Add the brown sugar and spices ¼ cup lemon juice in another saute pan and warm until the brown sugar has dissolved, then add the apples. Saute the apples until they are coated with the sugar blend. 
  7. Combine the turkey or sausage blend with the apples in another mixing bowl. 
  8. Then, fill the squash. Put back in the oven for 10-15 minutes. 
  9. When finished, garnish with candied pecans.

*Fresh "Garlic" Blend

  1. Chop the celery into small pieces, using the leaves too. 
  2. Add the celery, fennel, and olive oil in a large saute pan on medium heat. Turn the heat down. We are looking to soften the celery, not saute it.  
  3. Once the celery is soft, turn off the heat and let it steep for ½ hour.  
  4. Then, puree the “garlic” until smooth in a food processor.  
  5. Store for up to one week in the refrigerator, or freeze it. You can portion the mix out into one-tablespoon measurements into an ice cube tray and freeze. So when you need a little fresh garlic substitute, pop one out.

**Candied Pecans

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. In a mixing bowl, lightly whip the egg white until fluffy.
  3. Add the spices, sugar, and nuts and mix all together. Put on a greased baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 7-15 minutes. The nuts are done when the sugar and egg whites have formed a “candy” shell over all the nuts.
  5. Let cool, then break apart.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1

Serving Per Recipe: 4

Amount Per Serving
Calories 455
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 20.9g 32%
Saturated Fat 3.7g 18%
Trans Fat 0.3g
Sodium 388.6mg 16%
Total Carbohydrate 47.6g 15%
Dietary Fiber 8.4g 33%
Sugars 18g
Protein 25.9g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs:


Difficulty level: 4

*Difficulty level on a scale of 1-10 with 1 being easy (little to no cooking experience required) and 10 being difficult (having a strong background in cooking and using equipment)

Nutritional Analysis uses ground turkey for the filling.