Table of Contents
  1. This is the perfect side dish for Thanksgiving!
  2. Everything you’ll need to make this recipe.
  3. Here’s how to make this recipe.
  4. These pro tips will make this recipe a success.
  5. Frequently asked questions about this recipe.
  6. More Thanksgiving recipes you'll love to try.
  7. Watch how to make this recipe.
  8. Have I convinced you to make this recipe?
  9. Stuffed Acorn Squash Casserole Recipe

Rather than stuffing all the components that traditionally go into stuffed acorn squash, this recipe achieves the best of both worlds. A combination of quinoa, sausage, cranberries, and cheese are combined with chunks of acorn squash to create the perfect casserole. It’s perfect for any fall day and special enough for the Thanksgiving table!

This is the perfect side dish for Thanksgiving!

Stuffed acorn squash has always been a food I think makes more sense as a casserole. Acorn squash tends to be large and, even when halved, does not work as a single serving. The flavors and ingredients are perfect. Acorn squash gains a slightly sweet, nutty flavor when roasted. The squash is a great carrier of hearty ingredients.

This recipe deconstructs what I would fill acorn squash with, and instead of piling the ingredients in each squash, they are mixed into a casserole. The key is the balance of flavors. Instead of starchy rice, this recipe utilizes quinoa. Quinoa is a seed filled with protein, the quinoa also has a nutty sweetness that works well with squash. Ground sausage is easily left out to make this vegetarian or added in for more flavor and protein. Pops of flavor from dried cranberries and feta finish this casserole as a perfect Thanksgiving side dish or weeknight meal.

White marble surface with white baking dish filled with stuffed acorn squash casserole with spoon resting in dish along with magnolia garland.

Everything you’ll need to make this recipe.

  • Acorn squash has tough skin, but when roasted, the skin becomes deliciously tender. Once sliced and roasted, the sweet, nutty flavor of the squash is exemplified.
  • Ground sausage is a terrific way to add a lot of flavor without much work. It has spices and herbs worked directly into the meat, so how could it not be super flavorful? Choose a spicy or sweet sausage that fits your personal preference. For a great source of protein, opt for a good-quality sausage.
  • Quinoa is a seed packed full of nutrients and protein. Once cooked, the quinoa is light and fluffy, adding a heartiness to the casserole.
  • Dried cranberries add a sweet-tart balance of flavor to the overall recipe. They’re a welcome pop of sweetness that pairs so well with the light sweetness of the squash. Choose cranberries that have been sweetened with apple juice for less added sugar.
  • Feta cheese is the briny, tangy cheese that balances all of the sweet flavors of the squash.
  • Parmesan cheese is like a seasoning, meaning that a little bit goes a long way. Sprinkled on top, the Parmesan adds a nutty flavor that’s enhanced during baking when it becomes brown and crispy.
White marble surface filled with all of the items needed to make acorn squash casserole including sausage, celery, onion, squash, lemon, stock, and more.

Here’s how to make this recipe.

  1. Prepare the squash. Slice the squash in half and use a spoon to scoop out the inside seeds. With the half placed flat on a surface, slice into 1/2-inch thick slices. Take each resulting piece and slice it in half once more. This will result in bite-size pieces of squash. Once sliced, place the squash pieces onto two parchment-lined baking sheets and drizzle with neutral oil. Using your hands, toss each piece of squash in the oil to ensure it is well coated and spread everything out into an even layer. Then sprinkle with salt and black pepper and place in a 425°F oven to roast for 24 to 28 minutes. Once done roasting, remove it from the oven and set it aside until ready to assemble the casserole.
  1. Cook the quinoa. To a kettle with simmering vegetable stock, pour the quinoa. Cook it until the quinoa is fluffy and has absorbed the liquid. Remove it from the heat and set aside until ready to assemble the casserole.
  1. Cook the onion and celery. Place neutral oil in a skillet and allow it to heat up. Chop up the onion and celery and place them both in the skillet with the oil. Add salt and black pepper and sauté the mixture until slightly softened. While the mixture is sautéing, mince the garlic, and slice the sage and thyme. Once softened, add these three items to the skillet, mix them in, and allow the entire mixture to cook for approximately 30 seconds.
  1. Cook the sausage. To the cooking onion and celery mixture, add the ground sausage. Break up the meat into small pieces and allow the entire mixture to cook, browning the sausage. Once the meat is cooked, remove the skillet from the stove.
  1. Assemble everything in one dish. In a large baking dish, place half of the roasted acorn squash. To the skillet with the sausage mixture, add the quinoa, lemon juice, roasted pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, and feta cheese. Stir everything together until well mixed. Spoon the mixture in the skillet on top of the acorn squash in the baking dish and mix the two together to incorporate slightly. Add the remaining half of the acorn squash on top and sprinkle the top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
  1. Bake the casserole. Place the baking dish into the preheated 375°F degree and bake for 24 to 30 minutes. Since everything is already cooked, the oven simply melts the cheese and caramelizes everything together.

These pro tips will make this recipe a success.

  • Make sure to slice the acorn squash into uniformly-thick slices. This will allow for even roasting of the squash. Using two baking sheets while roasting will allow for plenty of room around each piece of squash, which helps them to roast evenly and prevent certain pieces from getting too dark.
  • If you allow your oil to come up to heat before adding your onion and celery, the mixture will actually sauté better. Instead of adding the oil, onion, and celery all at once and then turning on the stove’s heat, simply allow a few extra seconds for the oil to heat. Then add the onion and celery.
  • Adding lemon juice is an essential part of this recipe. Adding lemon juice will not make the entire mixture taste like citrus. Instead, it simply brightens everything and enhances all of the flavors. It’s a necessary component that will be missed if left out.
Metal spoon about to scoop a serving of acorn squash casserole from white baking dish sitting on white marble surface with large pieces of squash.

Frequently asked questions about this recipe.

Does it matter what type of squash is used for this?

Any sweet winter squash will work in this recipe. Butternut, kabocha, sweet dumpling, red Kuri, or buttercup will all work. Note that thick-skinned ones will need to be peeled.

Is there a way to make this recipe vegetarian? Can it be made vegan?

Yes, this is easily made into a vegetarian and vegan recipe. For a vegetarian dish, leave out the sausage. For a vegan dish, leave out the sausage, feta cheese, and Parmesan cheese.

Is there another type of meat that would work in this recipe besides sausage?

The sausage is used for the flavor it adds to the recipe and how well it works with the squash. Chicken, turkey, or ham would work also.

Can the feta cheese be left out? Is there a different type of cheese that would work in its place?

Yes, the feta can be left out. The salty, briny flavor offers a good balance to the sweetness of the casserole. Goat cheese would also work well.

How long does this recipe last once prepared?

This recipe will keep for up to 10 days as leftovers in the refrigerator. Leftovers can also be frozen but keep in mind that the squash will lose some texture when frozen.

Spoon holding serving of stuffed acorn squash casserole with rest of casserole still in white baking dish below all with white background.

Watch how to make this recipe.

More Thanksgiving-themed recipes

Have I convinced you to make this recipe?

I hope you make this recipe and put some food on your dessert table. Leave a comment and share a star rating so you let others know how much you love this recipe. This helps show others that this is a recipe they too can make, enjoy, and love!

White baking dish sitting on white marble surface filled with baked acorn squash casserole topped with browned pieces of squash and shredded Parmesan cheese.

Stuffed Acorn Squash Casserole

5 from 6 votes
Rather than stuffing all the components that traditionally go into stuffed acorn squash, this recipe achieves the best of both worlds. A combination of quinoa, sausage, cranberries, and cheese are combined with chunks of acorn squash to create the perfect casserole. It’s perfect for any fall day and special enough for the Thanksgiving table!
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 15 mins
Servings 12 servings

Ingredients

For the squash

  • 2 large acorn squash
  • 2 tbsp neutral oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper

For the casserole

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 3 ribs celery diced
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh sage
  • 1 lb ground sausage
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½ cup roasted pumpkin seeds
  • ½ cup dried cranberries
  • 4 oz feta cheese crumbled
  • 2 oz Parmesan cheese grated

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 425°F. Cut each acorn squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Slice the squash into ½-inch pieces and cut it into half again. Place the squash on two parchment-lined baking sheets. Drizzle with oil, rubbing the oil around the squash to coat evenly. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper and place in the preheated oven. Roast until the squash is deep brown and caramelized, 24-28 minutes. Once the squash is roasted, remove the baking sheets from the oven and turn the heat down to 375°F.
    2 large acorn squash, 1 tsp salt, ½ tsp black pepper, 2 tbsp neutral oil
  • In a 2-quart saucepan, bring the vegetable stock to a boil. Add the quinoa, cover, and simmer until the quinoa has absorbed the stock and becomes light and fluffy, 20 minutes. Once the quinoa is cooked, remove the saucepan from the heat and set aside.
    1 cup quinoa, 2 cups vegetable stock
  • Heat 2 tbsp neutral oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, salt, and black pepper. Sauté until the onion and celery are softened, 6-8 minutes. Add the garlic, sage, and thyme leaves. Stir to warm the garlic and add the sausage. Break the sausage into small bite-sized pieces and cook until it browns, 8 minutes. Once the sausage is cooked, remove the skillet from the heat.
    1 medium onion, 3 ribs celery, ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp black pepper, 3 cloves garlic, 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves, 1 tbsp minced fresh sage, 1 lb ground sausage
  • Add the quinoa, lemon juice, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, and feta cheese to the sausage mixture and stir. Add half of the roasted squash to a greased 9×13 baking dish. Pour the filling mixture over the squash in the baking dish and top with the remaining roasted squash. Stir and arrange the squash into the filling and sprinkle the Parmesan cheese. Place in the 375°F oven and bake until warmed through, 24-30 minutes.
    1 tbsp lemon juice, ½ cup roasted pumpkin seeds, ½ cup dried cranberries, 4 oz feta cheese, 2 oz Parmesan cheese

Notes

  • Make sure to slice the acorn squash into uniformly-thick slices. This will allow for even roasting of the squash. Using two baking sheets while roasting will allow for plenty of room around each piece of squash, which helps them to roast evenly and prevent certain pieces from getting too dark.
  • If you allow your oil to come up to heat before adding your onion and celery, the mixture will actually sauté better. Instead of adding the oil, onion, and celery all at once and then turning on the stove’s heat, simply allow a few extra seconds for the oil to heat. Then add the onion and celery.
  • Adding lemon juice is an essential part of this recipe. Adding lemon juice will not make the entire mixture taste like citrus. Instead, it simply brightens everything and enhances all of the flavors. It’s a necessary component that will be missed if left out.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 337kcal
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Difficulty Intermediate
Method Cooking

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Kaleb

I’m Kaleb! I'm not a chef, professional baker, landscaper, or designer, but I like to play each on Knollgate Farm. Come join me on my journey and let's learn together!

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5 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This recipe was easy to make and absolutely delicious. I know it’s meant to be a side dish but I served it as the main dish with some French bread. Perfect.

  2. 5 stars
    I can’t rave enough about this casserole…Just go make it.
    One of the things I like the most about Kaleb‘s recipes is how the flavors and textures are so perfectly balanced.

  3. 5 stars
    Added this to Thanksgiving this year for a vegetarian we love (omitted the sausage, of course). Such a truly delicious addition to the autumn flavors of Thanksgiving. Can’t wait to enjoy the leftovers and share this recipe with friends. You don’t miss!