The best vegetarian stuffed acorn squash? It’s roasted until tender and draped in a fall-scented stuffing of rice, pecans, and herbs.
Ready for the best stuffed acorn squash recipe? Alex and I have made many acorn squash recipes in our day. And this one is our absolute favorite. The creamy squash is roasted until tender, then it’s draped in a toasted pecan rice stuffing that makes your kitchen smell like a fall paradise! You know that scent of onions, celery and leeks cooking in butter? Well, this recipe delivers it in spades. It’s vegetarian, easily made vegan, and naturally gluten-free, so it works for all sorts of eaters. Even better: it’s seriously crowd pleasing. Everyone we’ve served it to becomes a believer…and then immediately asks for the recipe.
Got an Instant Pot? Try our Instant Pot Acorn Squash.
Tips on how to cut acorn squash
The hardest part about stuffed acorn squash? Cutting it! Acorn squash are infamously tough and can be difficult to cut open. To avoid fear of this small and mighty squash, here’s a little crash course on how to cut it:
- Microwave it first (optional, but effective). If you’d like, you can microwave your acorn squash for about 3 minutes prior to cutting it. This softens the skin and flesh so that it’s easier to pierce. It’s not required, but it’s helpful, especially if you’re nervous about your knife skills.
- Use a large chef’s knife. It’s time for the big guns! Pull out your largest, sharpest knife for the job.
- Find a groove and cut half first. Don’t try to cut through the stem! Find a groove on one side of the squash, then put your knife into that and cut about halfway around the squash. Curl back your fingers and keep them out of the way.
- Cut the other side, then pop it apart. Cut around the tip of the squash and then the squash around to cut up the other side in the same way. Then pull it apart with your hands! Voila.
At this point, you can leave the squash as a half, or cut it into wedges, then scoop out the seeds. We like to serve our acorn squash cut into wedges because it makes it easier to eat.
How to roast acorn squash
Once you’ve mastered how to cut the acorn squash, roasting it is a breeze! The method is the same whether you choose to leave it in halves, or cut it into wedges as we’ve shown here.
- Preheat to 450 degrees. A hot oven makes for the best roasting: it leaves the squash tender and almost caramelized.
- Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. This is all you need for great seasoning. Place the squash cut side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Roast until tender, about 35 to 40 minutes. The exact timing depends on the squash, so make sure to check with a fork to see when it is tender.
Did you know you can eat the skin too? After roasting, the skin becomes more tender and is easier to eat. You can use these instructions anytime you want to make roasted acorn squash. But if you want stuffed acorn squash…well, keep reading!
How to make stuffed acorn squash
After cutting and roasting the squash (above), what’s left but the stuffing? As we noted above, if you’d like a more traditional “stuffed” look, you can leave the acorn squash in halves. However, we like to cut it into wedges as shown above. It’s easier to eat — and serve too. Sometimes a half of a squash can really overwhelm a plate, so wedges make portioning easier.
Now: this rice and pecan stuffing truly makes your kitchen smell like fall paradise! The onion, celery, garlic, and herbs combine into something heavenly. Add to that the crunch and rich flavor of buttery pecans, and you’ll find yourself sneaking bites of the stuffing alone. This recipe is perfect for a cozy fall dinner, or even a vegetarian Thanksgiving main dish.
Here are the basic steps for how to make stuffed acorn squash (see the full recipe below):
- Roast the squash (see above).
- Make the rice: Add the rice to a pot and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes until tender. Then stir in dried sage and salt.
- Prepare the stuffing: Make the stuffing while you wait for the rice to cook: saute onion, celery, and garlic, add thyme and oregano. When the rice is done, stir it in along with the toasted pecans and butter (or olive oil for vegan).
- Serve: When the squash is done, spoon the stuffing over the squash edges and serve.
More vegan & vegetarian acorn squash recipes
And that’s it! We hope you enjoy this stuffed acorn squash as much as our family does. And if you’re looking for more fall inspiration, here are a few more vegetarian and vegan acorn squash recipes:
- Instant Pot Acorn Squash
- Roasted Acorn Squash with Wild Rice Stuffing
- Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash
- Curried Acorn Squash Soup
- Acorn Squash Salad with Farro
Want to try delicata squash? Start with this Chipotle Black Bean Stuffed Delicata Squash.
This recipe is…
Vegetarian, vegan, plant based, and refined sugar free.Print
This delicious vegetarian stuffed acorn squash is roasted and stuffed with a hearty stuffing, featuring whole grain bread, veggies and herbs.
- 1 cup white basmati rice*
- 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided, plus more for sprinkling
- 2 small acorn squash*
- 1 small yellow onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 stalks celery
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Fresh ground black pepper
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter (or substitute olive oil or coconut oil for vegan)
- 3/4 cup raw pecan pieces
- Feta or goat cheese crumbles, optional
- Pre-heat oven to 450°F.
- Cook the rice: Add rice and 2 cups water to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover and reduce to a simmer. Simmer until tender and all the liquid is absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the heat and allow to steam with the cover on for 5 minutes. Stir in the dried sage and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt.
- Roast the squash: Meanwhile, chop each of the acorn squash in half and then into quarters. (You can also leave it in halves if you prefer that look.) Using a spoon, scrape out the seeds. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, place the squash on the sheet and drizzle with olive oil on the cut sides, then sprinkle with kosher salt and pepper. Turn cut side down on the sheet and roast until tender, about 40 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prep the veggies for the stuffing: Dice the onion and celery. Mince the garlic.
- Toast the pecans: In a dry skillet over low heat, toast the pecans for about 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until fragrant.
- Make the stuffing: Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Saute the onion and celery 5 to 7 minutes until tender and translucent. Add the garlic, thyme, and oregano, and saute for an additional 2 minutes until fragrant. When the rice is cooked, stir it into the skillet. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, the fresh ground black pepper, butter, and pecans.
- Serve: Spoon the stuffing over the squash quarters and serve immediately.
- Category: Main Dish
- Method: Baked
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: Stuffed Squash, Stuffed Acorn Squash, Vegetarian Stuffed Acorn Squash, Vegetarian, Vegan, Thanksgiving, Holiday
Looking for fall recipes?
Looking for more plant forward fall recipes? Outside of this vegetarian stuffed acorn squash, here are some of our favorites:
- Roasted Root Vegetables
- Grape and Walnut Salad
- Apple Pomegranate Galette
- Whole Grain Classic Stuffing
- Mediterranean Spaghetti Squash Bowls
- Pumpkin Pie Spice Recipe
- Superfood Butternut Squash Lentil Soup
- Instant Pot Wild Rice Soup Recipe
- Easy Pumpkin Hummus
- Chewy Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies
About the Authors
Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.
Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.