Fall in the Midwestern United States is amazing for so many reasons…cooler temperatures, cozy sweatshirts, and bonfires just to name a few. It’s also an amazing time to use Fall produce like acorn squash and savor the flavors of season. Full transparency…my kids don’t love acorn squash the way I do (or any kind of squash for that matter). However, the beauty of this Sweet and Savory Stuffed Acorn Squash recipe is that you don’t have to love acorn squash and still be able to enjoy it…squash lovers can delight, while squash loathers can simply eat the stuffing and still be satisfied.
Nutritional Benefits of my Sweet and Savory Stuffed Acorn Squash
- Acorn Squash: rich in fiber, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, and antioxidants
- Millet: high in fiber for digestive health; also calcium, iron, protein, vitamins, and zinc
- Kaniwa: protein and fiber; adds a nice “nutty” taste. Kaniwa is actually a seed, not a grain. (remember you can sub rice or quinoa in place of kaniwa and the millet)
- Sweet potato: minerals, vitamin B, C, fiber
- Walnuts: protein, promotes a healthy gut, rich in antioxidants
- 3 acorn squash
- 1 cup millet
- 1 tablespoon (dry) kaniwa (optional) *can use rice or quinoa in place of millet and kaniwa
- 2 cups vegetable broth (or sub beef or chicken bone broth)
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 large sweet potato, chopped
- 3/4 cup celery, chopped
- 3/4 cup mushrooms, cut into small pieces
- 4 garlic cloves (diced or whole)
- 3 tablespoons chopped walnuts
- 2 tablespoons roasted pumpkin seeds
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup or maple balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 tablespoon black pepper
- 1/3 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon Celtic Sea Salt
- 8 strips vegan bacon
- 2 tablespoons liquid aminos (or soy sauce)
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Toppings (optional): avocado slices, balsamic vinegar (for drizzling on top)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Cut acorn squash in half (cutting through or near the stem so it's a vertical cut).
- Using a sectioning spoon, scoop out the seeds and middle "stringy" section of the middle of each acorn half. This sectioning spoon is a huge time saver. (Tip: pull out as many of the acorn seeds as possible and roast them for a delicious and healthy snack!)
- Brush olive oil on the inside of each squash. Lightly sprinkle black pepper, Celtic sea salt (find out why I use specifically use Celtic Sea Salt over any other salt in my Easy Electrolyte post), and smoked paprika (optional) onto the oil
- Place a piece of parchment paper or Silpat Liner on a cookie sheet or cake pan and place the acorn squash halves face down (so the opening or middle part of the acorn squash is face down) onto the parchment paper. This seals in moisture and helps cook the squash.
- Place in preheated oven and bake for 45-50 minutes. Check after 35 minutes. I prefer it to be a little "glazed" so if it's slightly brown on top that's perfect.
- Prepare millet and kaniwa as described on package. -or-If using the InstantPot: place millet and kaniwa in InstantPot. Add broth and maple balsamic vinegar (or maple syrup). Stir and set on sealed, rice setting. Let pressure naturally release. Option: I have a picky eater so I roasted the celery, garlic cloves, mushroom, walnuts, garlic cloves, and sweet potato separately in the oven. However, if you don't have picky eaters, place all of those ingredients in the instant pot together with the millet and kaniwa and you can cook all at once in the InstantPot.
- On a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or Silpat Liner, place strips, side by side, of Vegan bacon on one side of the pan. -OR- Prepare desired meat. *If you did not add the sweet potato, celery, and other ingredients listed in step 7 into the InstantPot, place them on the same cookie sheet and bake all at the same time. Drizzle 1 Tablespoon Olive oil and seasoning on top of beggies, "massage" into them to help cooking process. Tip: If you want to seal in moisture and help with the cooking process (and prevent burning), place a Silpat Liner or piece of parchment paper on top of the bacon and other ingredients. So you'll have your bacon and ingredients "sandwiched" between the liners. Doing this also means you don't have to use much oil since the moisture helps cook it!
- If choosing to roast the acorn seeds scooped out in step #3, drizzle 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and seasoning of choice and stir seeds to coat with oil/seasoning mix. Place on the cookie sheet with other ingredients.
- Place cookie sheet in the same oven as the acorn squash. Cook for approximately 20-25 minutes (until veggies are tender). Stir veggies and flip bacon midway through cooking time. Bacon and acorn seeds may take only 15 minutes to cook so check often.
- Cut bacon into small pieces. Gently stir bacon pieces (or choice of meat) and all other ingredients on baking sheet into the millet mixture.
- In a small bowl, combine liquid aminos and honey. Drizzle over Millet mixture and gently combine.
- Scoop approximately 3/4 cup millet mixture into the centers of the prepared acorn squash.
- Optional: Add avocado slices on top and drizzle with balsamic vinegar
The "stuffing" part of this recipe is very forgiving and easy to add or take away any of the ingredients. Make it your own by adding dried cranberries, raisins, apple chunks, or remove any parts of the recipe that are undesirable. You can also use wild rice, quinoa, or cauliflower rice instead of millet and kaniwa.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 364 Total Fat: 18g Saturated Fat: 4g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 13g Cholesterol: 15mg Sodium: 987mg Carbohydrates: 44g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 9g Sugar: 12g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 11g
This Savory Stuffed Acorn Squash recipe reheats nicely for leftovers. Remember, the stuffing is very flexible and forgiving so feel free to substitute your favorite ingredients and make this meal your own. The Silpat Liner really does come in handy for this and 95% of the food I make in the oven. Find out why I love the Silpat Liner so much in my Kitchen Must-Haves posting.