Gluten-Free Stuffed Acorn Squash is gonna make your whole kitchen smell like fall.
What Are the Best Veggies for Fall?
As autumn is upon us, the selection and quality of hard squashes available in the store or the farmers market is going bananas.
There’s no time like the present to pick one up and start rotating in some seasonal veggies.
Seriously, it may be time to start backing away from tomatoes, zucchini and other summer veggies for a bit! (Click here to get my free Fall Seasonal Produce Guide if you need ideas.)
The hard squash varieties are so delicious. I think if I had to pick some favorites, they’d be kabocha, delicata, butternut, and of course, acorn.
If you snag an acorn squash or two, make this Paleo Stuffed Acorn Squash recipe.
What Are the Ingredients In This Stuffed Squash?
This Gluten-Free Stuffed Acorn Squash is a similar concept to the Stuffed Delicata Squash that I blogged in 2011 (srsly, no judgment on that horrible photo, okay?), but the flavor profile is totally different.
I packed a bunch of classic fall flavors in this recipe:
The aromatic fennel, sweetness from the apple and onion, smoky bacon, and herbaceous rosemary and gonna have you peeking outside for falling leaves and pumpkins.
If you use ground beef, opt for grass-fed and organic if you can. You can also swap in ground pork or chicken. The flavors will all work perfectly in this Gluten-Free Stuffed Acorn Squash.
This recipe is super easy to double so you end up with leftovers for the week ahead. Work smarter, not harder!
How I Make This Stuffed Acorn Squash
Overall, it’s pretty simple to make this Paleo Stuffed Acorn Squash.
I cut the squash, and get it into the oven. While it’s roasting, I prep the filling by rendering the bacon, then sautéing the apple and onion in the bacon fat.
From there, I cook the ground beef and add the herbs. Once that’s done and the squash is cooked through, I fill the squash boats.
And then it’s time to eat these yummy Paleo Stuffed Acorn Squash.
More Fall Squash Recipes
For more squash inspiration, check out these recipes:
- Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
- Pulled Pork Stuffed Delicata Squash
- Curried Kabocha Squash Soup
- Stuffed Delicata Squash
- Chicken Florentine Spaghetti Squash
Stuffed Acorn Squash
This Stuffed Acorn Squash has all the flavors of fall. Sweet apple, savory sausage, and lots of delicious herbs...it takes kind of like stuffing! It's also gluten-free. Get the recipe now!
- 1 acorn squash large
- 1 lb ground beef grass-fed if possible
- 1 onion medium, diced
- 1 apple any variety, cored and diced
- 6 slices bacon sliced
- 1 tbsp fresh rosemary chopped (or 1 tsp dried rosemary)
- 2 tsp dried thyme
- 2 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 tsp ground sage
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line a baking sheet or dish with foil or parchment paper.
- Cut the squash in half and scoop the seeds out. Place on the baking sheet and roast until the flesh is tender, approximately 45 minutes. Remove and allow to cool to the touch. **While the squash is baking, prepare the stuffing. Hint: You can always do this step ahead of time.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the bacon. Add the onion and cook for 5-10 minutes until softened and translucent. Add the apples and cook for another 5-10 minutes. Remove the bacon / onion / apple mixture to a large bowl.
- In the same skillet over medium-high heat, brown the ground beef. (Note: If the beef has yielded a lot of fat and is not grass-fed, you may want to drain it before adding the spices and herbs). Add all spices and herbs: rosemary, thyme, fennel seeds, sage, pepper, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Pour the ground beef into the same large bowl. Stir to combine.
When the squash is cool to the touch, use a spoon to scoop out some of the flesh and mix into the beef. Use a spoon to fill the squash boats with the beef mixture.
Return the squash to the oven and bake another 15 minutes until everything is heated through.
My recipes are all in a meal planner. Check it out!
Just a suggestion about finding a less expensive source for your meat. We went to our nearest farmer’s market and asked around, and eventually found an organic farmer who was willing to sell us a side (half) or a quarter of grass-fed beef for between $3-$4/pound. You have to order it around October, before it gets too cold and they have to start supplementing the animal’s feed with grain. This will save lots of money over the year, as long as you have room in your freezer!
That’s a really great suggestion, Louise! The local farmer’s market here has a few vendors that offer half or quarter sides and it’s indeed more reasonably priced. Most of the folks who raise beef here in SoCal still use grain to finish the animals so it can be hit or miss. Thanks for posting!
Steph, se help me understand why we would look for grassfed beef then last thing to have in their stomach is grains?
Can you please clarify what you mean by, “…then the last thing to have in their stomachs is grains.” I don’t understand what you’re asking. Thanks!
I think she’s asking why even bother with a cow that’s been grass-fed most of its life only to be finished with grains the last 8 months.
Because it shows that the animal was raised on grass/pasture for the majority of its life. It’s quite hard to find grass-fed/grass-finished meat. If you can find it, that’s good for you, but it’s still not the norm. Grass-finished beef tends to be very lean and many people don’t prefer the flavor. To me, grass-fed and grain-finished is a good compromise and for some people, one more step toward making a BETTER choice. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, right?
We do not have many farmers markets here. Is there a website or do they ship it to clients?
So, does each person get a half as an entree portion or is it supposed to be sliced or dipped out ? Have never fixed anything “stuffed” like this !
I think it depends how hungry you are and how much you managed to stuff into each half but I’m usually full after eating a half. I usually eat the stuffing right out of it and then scrape up any remaining squash out of the shell.
I made this at the end of a LONG day and completely forgot to season it. And it was still super tasty!
I’ve done those sorts of things before. I’m glad you liked it!
I made it with ground pork and added some fresh and dried sage. It was a perfect fall meal and very pretty. My kids liked eating squash boats. I have no idea what kind of squash I used, it was black and had a citrus flavor that went really well with the stuffing. Thanks for the recipe!
YUM! When it’s kiddo-approved, that’s even better. Love those substitutions you made.
How do you recommend saving leftovers? Freeze?
I usually save them for 2-5 days and eat them fresh. I don’t freeze much so I’m not exactly sure how this would hold up though I suspect it would freeze okay.
I have frozen these before. I like them but the family doesn’t so this way I can make up some an freeze (in the squash) and then I just take it out the night before work and leave it in the fridge. I noticed there’s a little bit of liquid in the bottom on the container but everything still tastes perfectly fine. Two to three mins or so in the microwave at work and lunch/dinner is served! 🙂
I just made this last night and it was fabulous. Thanks!
Hi Cassidy! Thank you so much 🙂
I just purchased an acorn squash and had no idea what to do with it – this looks awesome!! Btw, Costco sells organic ground beef for $5/lb in a 4 lb package…
Let me know how it tuns out, Kelsey. And thanks for the great tip. 🙂
Organic, yes, but not Grass Fed. The only Grass Fed that I’ve seen there is pre-shaped burgers. I’ve bought those, and they’re great, but the price is higher for the convenience.
made this once with ground beef. Second time with ground pork. Liked the pork better. Also used fresh rosemary, sage and Thyme from the garden. Awesome!
I made this with sage-seasoned pork sausage, a sweet onion, and 2 granny smith apples, sans bacon, and added just thyme and S&P. It’s delicious and I’m giving you credit anyway!
This is one of my absolute favourite recipes. I’ve made it a couple of times with ground beef from the store, and tonight is the first time I’ve been able to make it with grass-fed beef. So unbelievably good! Now that fall/winter is upon us, I’m adding this in to my weekly dinner rotation ^_^
I made this today and LOVED it! I use grass-fed beef only and was interested in reading the comment about the minimal grease; I used my usual go-to 85/15% ground grass-fed beef which was perfect. Great to know and an awesome dish for me to have in the fridge for some leftovers, as I am cooking for one over the next few weeks.
That’s a great suggestion, and I’m really glad you liked it! Leftovers, for the win!
very interesting recipe, definitely I’ll try this week, thanks Steph 🙂
Can this recipe substitute spaghetti squash for the acorn squash?
Steph – Looks delicious – I can’t wait to try this! How long do you think the filling would last in the fridge? I think I would prep the stuffing beforehand and make the squash day-of. Especially if I was eating the leftovers later in the week!
Hi there…at least 5 days! Can also be frozen.
Great autumn recipe for some acorn squash. Now I gotta go pick some up to make this! Great that the filling can be frozen too!
Awesome! Hope you enjoy!
It looks so delish!! I was wondering if you have the nutritional information.? I have to watch my carbs and sugar intake with a couple autoimmune issues. It would be so helpful if you did. Thanks
I don’t provide nutritional information because it’s a huge task that I unfortunately am not well equipped time-wise to tackle. The site has over 350 recipes.
If you’re curious of the nutritional info, you can use an app like MyFitnessPal to get an idea of what the squash, meat, and apples/veggies would add to the nutritional profile (herbs and spices don’t count toward that total generally).
I wanted to tell you that I use My Fitness Pal and you can put her recipe URL and it imports and matches everything. It was super easy and you can even modify the servings. For example I added two squash and made the servings 4 because we each had one half of a squash.
My results were (per serving):
I didn’t have a good apple, but I had a fennel bulb. I omitted the fennel seeds and used about a 1/4 of the bulb. I also used apple cider cured bacon-my new obsession. I just tasted the filling, and it is delicious!!!
Oh yes…fennel is a great addition! Love that!
Hi Steph! Can you recommend a good fall inspired salad to compliment this? I’ve never been a fan of traditional turkey so I’m totally serving this to my family on Thanksgiving!
Sure! How about a bed of mixed greens with some roasted beets, fruit such as pear or persimmon, and sprinkled with toasted almonds? I like your style!
Great recipe and thank you for creating this and posting it. It was beyond delicious.
You’re welcome Ayla!
Making this for dinner tonight! Squash is in the oven right now. We love acorn squash and typically throw it on the grill with some brown sugar, butter and a drizzle of maple syrup. Alas – not Whole30 approved. I’ve done stuffed zucchini several times before so i’m sure this will be delicious! I’m also guessing we’ll be having it at least once a week for the next 4 weeks LOL. Thanks for the inspiration! I’ll be linking the recipe from my blog post tomorrow! Happy New Year!
Sounds awesome! Try a little cinnamon and ghee 😉
I love this recipe. Make this yesterday and I will make it more often now.
Sweet!! Super glad to hear that, Tomek!
So good. I didn’t have fennel and made it without, but still ah-ma-zing! Thanks.
Do you roast the squash cut side down or cut side up?
I’m making this for dinner tonight! I finally found a great source of affordable grass fed beef @ Butcherbox and my veggies are all from a local farm so I’m thrilled!!
Roast with the cut side up.
Sweet!! Super glad to hear that, Jackie!
Just made this dinner for myself and my boyfriend. It was his first try with acorn squash and he seemed to like it. Not his favorite, but I’m glad it was appealing enough for him to try it!
I (an acorn squash lover) loved this recipe. It’s such a satisfying paleo/Whole30 approved recipe. Still feeling stuffed 2 hours later!
I’ve been using this recipe for over 2 years now, even though I’m no longer on paleo. Always delicious and satisfying. Though, for us, we find just 4 slices of bacon to be enough 🙂
Novia, Thank you for writing in to the blog. I’m glad that you enjoyed it!
My child is are allergic to celery and carrots as well as fennel. Can i use anise as a substitute of fennel for this recipe? Will it have any problem?
Add just a little! Anise is much stronger than fennel. You may want to leave it out completely.
My first time using acorn squash! This recipe was delicious! Thank you Steph?
Yay! I’m so happy you gave it a shot, Margie!
I LOVE this recipe! I typically use two acorn squash, and make four halves total. (Dinner for two tonight, and leftovers for the next day!). I use lean ground chicken in place of the beef. We get great local squash here in the fall, and this is my go to recipe each year 🙂 Thanks!
Super glad you liked it Chelsea!!
I thought this was delicious, but I had a lot more meat mixture than I needed, even though I used two squashes. My general attitude toward meat is to eat less of it in general, so if anyone feels like me, I’d say that you could maybe use an apple and a half and 3 acorn squashes, and then have a salad or something on the side and it’d be a nice meal. The fennel stands out a lot, so I’m glad that I went out to buy some fennel seeds (in the rain) in order to really follow the recipe! Though maybe if I make it again, I’d tone the sage down just a bit.
I’m glad you made it your own Loretta 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!
Delectable!! Smelt wonderful and tasted great! Loved the apple and fennel!
So so happy you liked it Linda! thanks for stopping by!
Hey, Steph! Thanks for helping me know what to do with all the squash this time of year! I’m adding this to my meal plan this week and will check out your meal plan too!
I’m a long-time fan of your podcast and other blogs. Thank you so much for sharing your fun positivity as well as challenges and real life. Your whole package of big-picture as well as detailed, everyday inspiration like recipes is a huge help.
Thank you Sarah! Hearing this means a lot 🙂
This is our new favorite fall recipe. I did use ground turkey since my husband does not eat beef. I have trailing rosemary and using it freshly chopped gives the entire recipe a great flavor. We use a pretty good sized acorn squash and have left overs for a second meal or it makes enough for two halves of a large acorn squash and two halves of a smaller one.
Oh yes and I forgot the second time I made it, I did not have an apple but used a jicama instead which gave it a nice crunchy slightly sweet taste as well. Thanks for a great recipe!