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Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash

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Mild and buttery acorn squash stuffed with wild rice, apples, ground turkey, cranberries, sage, and thyme makes a cozy weeknight dinner or show-stopping holiday dish. This autumn inspired meal is comforting, colorful, and loaded with your favorite fall flavors!

Check out these other Zucchini and Squash Recipes for even more delicious ways to use this versatile gourd!

Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash with apples, turkey, and cranberries on a plate.

I am so ready for autumn’s cooler temperatures and traditional flavors! This dish is so versatile and I have substitution ideas towards the bottom of this post. Feel free to make it your own using your family’s favorite ingredients.

What you will need

Ingredients used to make wild rice stuffed acorn squash with apples, cranberry, turkey, and herbs.
  • Medium-sized Acorn Squash – approximately 1 to 1.5-pounds each. This recipe will still work with larger squash, but you may need to adjust the filling a bit.
  • Wild Rice – a blend of long-grain brown rice, sweet brown rice, wild rice, red rice, and black rice. It has full-bodied flavor, and whole-grain goodness that adds texture to your stuffing.
  • Vegetable Broth – a flavorful cooking liquid for the rice, but water or chicken stock will work as well.
  • Diced yellow onion and minced garlic is sautéed in olive oil as a flavorful base to the ground turkey filling. Italian sausage or ground chicken are wonderful as well.
  • Dried Sage and Thyme – add those traditional fall flavors and tie this dish together.
  • Diced Gala Apple and Dried Cranberries – add a sweetness to this otherwise savory dish and a pop of color.
  • Shredded Gruyere Cheese – adds flavor and binding power to the filling and a nice crust to the top of the finished dish. Parmesan or Romano are also delicious options.

Be sure to check out the detailed printable recipe card below

Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash with apples, turkey, and cranberries on a plate with a dish of chopped parsley on the upper right side.

How to make Acorn Squash Stuffed with Wild Rice

Prepare the squash

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place squash on its side on a cutting board. Run a sharp chefs knife around the center between the ridges…..

An acorn squash cut in half with a chefs knife on a cutting board.

all the way around to create two halves. Use a large spoon to scoop out the seeds just like you would with a pumpkin.

An acorn squash cut in half to show seeds inside.

Place the squash halves cut side up in a baking dish or on a large baking sheet. Brush with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper.

Helpful Tip

If the squash is uneven or starts to fall over, place a wad of aluminum foil underneath to prop it up OR you can use a sharp knife to create a flat spot on the bottom of the squash.

Four acorn squash halves in a baking dish brushed with oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper.

Place in preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Prepare the stuffing

Thoroughly rinse the wild rice using a fine mesh sieve/strainer under cool water until it runs clear, about 2 minutes.

Place the rice and vegetable broth (or other liquid) in a 2-quart saucepan and bring to a boil.

Wild rice and vegetable stock in a saucepan.

Reduce heat to retain a low simmer and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Simmer and cook for 45 minutes. Follow your package directions if different.

Remove from heat and allow to steam with the lid on for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside.

While the rice is cooking, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet. Sauté the onion over medium heat until translucent, stirring occasionally.

Diced onion and oil in a skillet.

Add the minced garlic, stir and cook for one additional minute. Stir in the ground turkey, sage and thyme and cook until no longer pink, 6 or 7 minutes, stirring and breaking apart any large pieces.

Ground turkey and seasonings in a skillet with the cooked onion.

Add the diced apple chunks and dried cranberries and cook for 3 to 4 minutes to heat through.

Ground turkey, onion, chopped apple and cranberries in a skillet.

Stir in the cooked rice and 0.5-cup of cheese. Adjust seasonings as needed.

Stuffing mixture with wooden turner stirring in the cheese.

Stuff the rice mixture into the center of each cooked squash half. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Helpful Tip

Use a large “cookie” scoop to create a nice mound of filling without having to touch the squash.

Four acorn squash halves in a baking dish filled with rice mixture and covered with grated cheese.

Return baking dish to the oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes, until the cheese is melted and just starting to brown.

Four stuffed acorn squash halves in a baking dish.

Serve while hot garnished with chopped parsley if desired. A little bit of green always looks nice.

A wild rice stuffed acorn squash cut open to show stuffing.

Tips & Tricks

  • Swap cooked quinoa or any other grain of your choice for the wild rice.
  • For Whole30 & Paleo – substitute cauliflower rice and omit cheese.
  • To make ahead – prepare stuffing up to 24 hours in advance if needed.
  • To store leftovers – allow squash to cool completely and store in an airtight containing in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Substitute rosemary, oregano, or basil if you prefer.
  • For even more texture add .25-cup of chopped pecans or walnuts.
  • Substitute butternut, delicata, or buttercup squash if acorn is not available. Cooking times may need to be adjusted depending on size.
  • Cooking times are estimates, all ovens cook differently!

Tools used to create this recipe

You can see the rest of my favorite kitchen tools and gadgets here in my Amazon Affiliate Page. I earn a small commission when you purchase through my links, at no cost to you, so I can keep bringing you more delicious recipes!

Serving Suggestions

Stuffed acorn squash makes a delicious side dish, or serve as a main course.

If you love this recipe, please rate it five stars and help me share on facebook and to help other readers in our community!

Enjoy!!

Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash with apples, turkey, and cranberries on a plate.

Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash

Mild and buttery acorn squash filled with wild rice, apples, ground turkey, cranberries, sage, and thyme make a cozy weeknight dinner.
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Course: Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: stuffed squash
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 25 minutes
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 600kcal
Author: Lisa Johnson

Equipment

  • Baking Dish
  • Large Skillet

Ingredients

Squash

  • 2 medium acorn squash 1 to 1.5 pounds each
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • sea salt and black pepper

Stuffing

  • 1 cup wild rice blend
  • 1.75 cup vegetable stock or water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup diced yellow onion
  • 3 large cloves garlic minced
  • 8 ounces ground turkey chicken, or pork sausage
  • 0.5 tablespoon rubbed sage
  • 0.5 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 1 gala or fuji apple (or any sweet-tart apple) skin-on, cored and diced
  • .33 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese divided
  • chopped parsley to garnish optional

Instructions

Squash

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place squash on its side on a cutting board. Run a sharp chefs knife around the center between the ridges all the way around to create two halves. Use a large spoon to scoop out the seeds just like you would with a pumpkin.
  • Place the squash halves cut side up in a baking dish or on a large baking sheet. Brush with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, then sprinkle with sea salt and black pepper. Place in preheated oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Stuffing

  • Thoroughly rinse the wild rice using a fine mesh sieve/strainer under cool water until it runs clear, about 2 minutes.
  • Place the rice and vegetable broth (or other liquid) in a 2-quart saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to retain a low simmer and cover with a tight-fitting lid. Simmer and cook for 45 minutes. Follow your package directions if different.
  • Remove from heat and allow to steam with the lid on for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
  • While the rice is cooking, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet. Sauté the onion over medium heat until translucent, stirring occasionally.
  • Add the minced garlic, stir and cook for one additional minute. Stir in the ground turkey, sage and thyme and cook until no longer pink, 6 or 7 minutes, stirring and breaking apart any large pieces.
  • Add the diced apple chunks and dried cranberries and cook for 3 to 4 minutes to heat through. Stir in the cooked rice and 0.5-cup of cheese. Adjust seasonings as needed.
  • Stuff the rice mixture into the center of each cooked squash half. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Notes

  • Swap cooked quinoa or any other grain of your choice for the wild rice.
  • For Whole30 & Paleo – substitute cauliflower rice and omit cheese.
  • To make ahead – prepare stuffing up to 24 hours in advance if needed.
  • To store leftovers – allow squash to cool completely and store in an airtight containing in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Substitute rosemary, oregano, or basil if you prefer.
  • For even more texture add .25-cup of chopped pecans or walnuts.
  • Substitute butternut, delicata, or buttercup squash if acorn is not available. Cooking times may need to be adjusted depending on size.
  • Cooking times are estimates, all ovens cook differently!
  • If the squash is uneven or starts to fall over, place a wad of aluminum foil underneath to prop it up OR you can use a sharp knife to create a flat spot on the bottom of the squash.
  • Use a large “cookie” scoop to create a nice mound of filling without having to touch the squash.

Nutrition

Calories: 600kcal | Carbohydrates: 73g | Protein: 31g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 0.01g | Cholesterol: 67mg | Sodium: 690mg | Potassium: 1230mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 1403IU | Vitamin C: 29mg | Calcium: 444mg | Iron: 4mg

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