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Sweet & Savory Stuffed Acorn Squash Dinner

It’s fall, y’all! The perfect excuse for this Sweet & Savory Stuffed Acorn Squash Dinner, which incorporates all those autumn flavors.

Since it’s really starting to feel like fall around here lately, this week’s Sweet & Savory Stuffed Acorn Squash Dinner recipe continues my recent harvest vegetable (and fruit!) kick. Of course, this kick is also partially fueled by seasonal sales on fall produce such as the lovely acorn squash and apples featured in today’s Sunday Scratchups: Your weekly recipe from scratch around grocery sales and affordable ingredients. Incorporating seasonal produce into your diet is a great way to save, to try new flavors, and to enjoy a variety of fruits and veggies across the year.

This sweet & savory stuffed acorn squash dinner is naturally gluten free, and features all of the flavors of fall in just one recipe.

Does this dish not just scream autumn to you?! In addition to our affordable acorn squash and apples here, you need just one pound of ground beef (which some of you might already have in your freezer from recent sales), a dash of Craisins, and a few pantry staples to make this sweet + savory stuffed acorn squash.

Pre-baking your squash gives you plenty of time to cook up the sweet & savory filling, and then you top everything off with just a bit of shredded sharp cheddar cheese for a touch of tangy contrast. (This is also a good way to stretch a smaller amount of meat to feed four…)

Sweet & Savory Stuffed Acorn Squash Dinner

Ingredients

-to pre-bake the squash

2 medium acorn squash
Sea salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste

– for the filling

1 lb ground beef
1/4 a medium yellow onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 small apples, peeled and chopped (about 1 cup chopped; I used 1 1/2 small Gala)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cumin
Dash of cayenne
Sea salt, to taste
2 Tbsp dried cranberries, chopped
1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Cut each squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds & membranes, then season generously with sea salt and pepper.

Place cut side down on the prepared baking sheet and roast at 375 degrees for 40 minutes, or until tender when shell is pricked with a fork. (Cooking times may vary, depending on the size of your squash.)

While the squash is baking, brown your ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat, then drain and remove the browned beef from the skillet. Saute apple, garlic, and onion in the same pan over medium heat for another 5-7 minutes, or until softened, stirring occasionally. Stir beef back into the skillet, then turn off the heat and mix in the cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin, cayenne, sea salt, and dried cranberries.

This sweet & savory stuffed acorn squash dinner is naturally gluten free, and features all of the flavors of fall in just one recipe.

Turn the cooked squash over so that the cut side is up, then fill each with the ground beef & apple mixture. Top each filled squash with a bit of shredded cheddar, then return them to the oven and bake for another 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees, or until cheese is browned and squash is very tender. Enjoy your cooked acorn squash with their sweet + savory filling!

Note: Next time I’d chop the apples smaller than shown here, so that they blend in a little bit better.

Sweet + Savory = All the Flavors of Fall

This sweet & savory stuffed acorn squash dinner is naturally gluten free, and features all of the flavors of fall in just one recipe.

Although you might not usually use these types of spices in meat dishes, bear with me on the cinnamon and nutmeg here — they can add an underlying warmth to savory foods, and also play nicely off both the sweeter apple and squash and the slight tang of the cheese & the dried cranberries.

There’s so much flavor going on in these stuffed squash, too: All of the flavors of fall, in just one recipe! The ground beef provides the perfect foil for the other sweet & savory ingredients, while contrasting really nicely with the texture and sweetness of the acorn squash. This sweet & savory stuffed acorn squash dinner is naturally gluten free.

Sweet & Savory Stuffed Acorn Squash Dinner, printable recipe

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4.77 from 13 votes

Sweet & Savory Stuffed Acorn Squash Dinner

Pre-baking your squash gives you plenty of time to cook up the sweet & savory filling, and then you top everything off with just a bit of shredded sharp cheddar cheese for a touch of tangy contrast. (This is also a good way to stretch a smaller amount of meat to feed four!)
Course dinner
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

-to pre-bake the squash

  • 2 medium acorn squash
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste

– for the filling

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/4 a medium yellow onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 small apples, peeled and chopped (about 1 cup chopped; I used 1 1/2 small Gala)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • Dash of cayenne
  • Sea salt, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp dried cranberries, chopped
  • 1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees and spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Cut each squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds & membranes, then season generously with sea salt and pepper.
  • Place cut side down on the prepared baking sheet and roast at 375 degrees for 40 minutes, or until tender when shell is pricked with a fork. (Cooking times may vary, depending on the size of your squash.)
  • While the squash is baking, brown your ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat, then drain and remove the browned beef from the skillet.
  •  Saute apple, garlic, and onion in the same pan over medium heat for another 5-7 minutes, or until softened, stirring occasionally. 
  • Stir beef back into the skillet, then turn off the heat and mix in the cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin, cayenne, sea salt, and dried cranberries.
  • Turn the cooked squash over so that the cut side is up, then fill each with the ground beef & apple mixture. Top each filled squash with a bit of shredded cheddar, then return them to the oven and bake for another 15-20 minutes at 375 degrees, or until cheese is browned and squash is very tender. 
  • Enjoy your cooked acorn squash with their sweet + savory filling!

Notes

Next time I’d chop the apples smaller than shown here, so that they blend in a little bit better.

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Recipe Rating




Laura

Sunday 17th of October 2021

Usually, I can read a recipe and get a god handle on how it will taste. This one looked really good on paper, but my husband and I both thought it was bland. Maybe if I had substituted chorizo or a mild sausage, it would have been better.

Julie Baker

Tuesday 12th of October 2021

I microwave the acorn squash for 5 minutes.. This makes it very easy to slice in half, and it partially cooks it.. Then, when I am cooking the meat, I place the acorn squash on the oven to continue cooking. Once the meat is done, I then fill the acorn squash as directed, and then place in the oven for approximately 5-10 minutes. I also use minced garlic in a jar (at Aldi's in the spice section), and threw in a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar.

Robin

Sunday 18th of July 2021

Loved this recipe! I used ground bison and added bacon, used raisins instead of cranberries since that is what I had on hand. I love how the cinnamon, nutmeg, and cumin, bring out more flavors in the squash. Definitely a repeat meal. Thank You!

Samantha

Thursday 1st of April 2021

Absolutely amazing and a hit with the whole family! I used ground emu instead of beef. This is definitely a keeper!

rachel

Monday 5th of April 2021

How interesting! I've never had emu, and now am curious what it would taste like.

Elizabeth Donaldson

Tuesday 20th of October 2020

This is incredibly delicious!! For my husband and I, this is our first time actually eating acorn squash and this was so delicious! Thank you so much for sharing and we will be keeping this recipe.

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