Acorn Squash with Turkey, Cranberry and Rice Stuffing

Packed with fall flavours, this stuffing has ground turkey, cranberries, walnuts, rice and more. All piled high in half of a roasted acorn squash.

A close up with roasted squash half filled with stuffing.

I love to cook with squash during the fall and winter months. Acorn squash is one of my favourites and roasting them is delicious. Stuffed acorn squash is a full meal and there are so many different types of ingredients you can use in the stuffing.

A bunch of stuffed squash on a platter with one on a small plate.

This stuffed acorn squash is full of fall flavours. With the ground turkey, ground sage and cranberries, it almost tastes like a thanksgiving dinner in a rice stuffing. 

Two acorn squash with one cut in half.

What Is An Acorn Squash?

An acorn squash is a winter squash that is common during the cold months of the year. Also called a pepper squash, the outside is a dark green colour with some occasional patches of orange. The distinctive look of an acorn squash has the long ridges that run from the top to the bottom. The inside of the squash is a bright golden yellow.

A hollowed out acorn squash is perfect for roasting and excellent for stuffing!

Halved and cleaned out acorn squash in a baking dish.

How To Clean Out An Acorn Squash

Getting acorn squash ready for the oven is very easy. Cut the acorn squash in half and scoop out all the seeds and slimy stuff. The inside is quite similar to a pumpkin. Place them hollowed side up, on a baking sheet.

Ground turkey cooking in a skillet.

Brown The Ground Turkey

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the ground turkey and cook for a few minutes. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to break up the turkey as it cooks.

Expert Tip: Make sure to use a skillet that has a lid because you will need to cover the skillet as the rice cooks during a later step of this recipe.

Spices on cooked ground chicken in a skillet.

After the ground turkey has cooked for a few minutes, add the minced garlic and spices. Stir the seasoning throughout the turkey and continue cooking for a few more minutes.

A skillet with chopped raw celery and onion on cooked turkey.

Add in the diced celery and red onions. These add lots of flavour to the stuffing along with the turkey and seasoning.

Cooked ground turkey, onions and celery in a frying pan.

Continue cooking until the onions are starting to go translucent and celery is getting soft. This should take about 3 to 5 minutes.

Raw rice added to a skillet with cooked turkey.

Once the ground turkey is fully cooked through and the celery and onion are fairly tender, it is time to add the rice to the skillet. Adding the 1 1/4 cup rice looks like it is no where near enough, but once it cooks and expands there will be a great ratio to the rest of the ingredients in this stuffed acorn squash.

A skillet with rice, broth, turkey and other ingredients.

How Long To Cook The Rice

Pour the broth into the skillet and stir to ensure the rice is mixed throughout. Bring the broth to a boil and then lower heat to a simmer. Cover with the lid and cook until the rice is tender and all the broth has been absorbed. This should take about 10 minutes or so.

Expert Tip: If the rice is still not tender once all the broth has absorbed, you should add a little more broth and continue cooking with the lid on.

Turkey and rice stuffing prepared and in a frying pan.

Some of my favourite ingredients in this stuffed acorn squash are the dried cranberries and chopped walnuts. Once the rice is cooked and tender, remove the skillet from the heat. Stir in the dried cranberries and walnuts.

A close up picture of a stuffed acorn squash

How To Stuff An Acorn Squash

It is now time to assemble these stuffed acorn squash. You can either fill the squash with the stuffing on a serving platter, or fill them right on everyone’s plate. Spoon plenty of the stuffing into each squash. Make sure to pile the stuffing high in each of the acorn squash halves and serve immediately.

Stuffed squash on a platter with one in front on a plate.

Other Great Squash Recipes!

Squash is a versatile vegetable and great in soups, salad, pasta, side dishes and more. Check out this dishes.

Acorn Squash with Turkey, Cranberry and Rice Stuffing.

A close up picture of a stuffed acorn squash
5 from 1 vote
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Roasted acorn squash filled with ground turkey, cranberry and rice stuffing. A perfect fall side dish with sage and fennel seasoning.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 4 acorn squash
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 3 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground sage
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 stalks celery , diced
  • 1 small red onion , diced
  • 1 1/4 cups rice
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400F.
  • Cut acorn squashes in half lengthwise. Remove all the seeds and stringy insides in the centre of the squash.
  • Place the squash halves on a baking dish, cut side up, and cook in the oven for 1 hour, or until cooked through and soft.
  • While the squash is in the oven, prepare the stuffing, by browning the ground turkey in a skillet with the oil over medium heat. Use a spatula or wooden spoon to break the turkey into little chunks while it cooks.
  • After the ground turkey has been cooking for a few minutes, stir in the garlic, salt, pepper, sage and fennel seeds. Cook for a few more minutes.
  • Add the diced onion and celery and stir. Cook for about 3-5 more minutes, stirring often.
  • Stir in the rice and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer, and cover with a lid. Cook until the rice is soft and absorbed all the broth. If needed, add some extra broth and cook a little longer.
  • Turn off the heat and stir in the dried cranberries and walnuts.
  • Once the squash has finished cooking and been removed from the oven, spoon some of the stuffing into the hollowed out part of the acorn squash.

Nutrition

Per serving:

Calories: 812kcalCarbohydrates: 118gProtein: 39gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 65mgSodium: 1401mgFiber: 11gSugar: 19g

Nutrition Disclaimer

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A close up with roasted squash half filled with stuffing.

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