For an easy and flavorful fall dinner, try these sausage stuffed acorn squash that you make in the air fryer. Full of savory sausage, sun dried tomatoes and other tasty ingredients, this tasty stuffing goes perfectly with the sweetness of a roasted acorn squash.
You might also like this sausage, kale and butternut squash noodles.
I just ate acorn squash for the first time with this air fryer sausage stuffed acorn squash recipe. I am hooked and I’ve bought 2 more to play around with. The flavor of the squash is not as sweet as sweet potatoes and but has the consistency of a potato almost!
And I love sausage with with squash and other veggies. It adds so much flavor but paired with sun-dried tomatoes it’s next level in my opinion. And air frying makes this dish a breeze. It’s perfect for a busy weeknight meal but also could be great for company.
So if you are looking for some healthy comfort food this fall try this recipe.The dark green color outside and vibrant orange color inside of this beautiful squash goes great with the red and green in the filling. And of course it’s a great combination of flavors.
Why I love acorn squash.
Acorn squash tastes to me like a cross between a butternut squash and sweet potato both in taste and texture. If you ever had delicata squash it’s much like that but easier to find.
It’s a healthy type of winter squash that is low in calories but high in many nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium and magnesium.
It’s also pretty high in dietary fiber as well. One cup of cooked squash has 115 calories and 9 grams of fiber – both soluble and insoluble fiber. It also has good amounts of vitamin B1, vitamin B6, and vitamin B9.
Another great thing about this food is that you can eat the skin when it’s cooked so keep it on. The skin is a good source of fiber and antioxidants. Learn more about this food here.
Recipe ingredients I used and substitutions.
The simple ingredients I used were – an acorn squash, pork sausage, spinach, sun dried tomatoes, pecans and parmesan cheese. I also use salt and black pepper to season and olive oil.
This ingredient is the star of the recipe and I don’t recommend you substitute it at all. But other options could be butternut or spaghetti squashes or even a sweet potato but I don’t know how long they would take in the air fryer.
Breakfast Pork Sausage
I like breakfast pork sausage best for this recipe both for the texture and the spices it uses. Other options would be ground Italian sausage or you could spice up some ground chicken, ground turkey or even ground beef. Check out this breakfast turkey patties recipe for the spices to try.
I used fresh spinach for color, nutrition and because it balanced out the stuffing. You could use frozen spinach but suggest fresh spinach for this recipe. You could also use baby kale or even baby Swiss chard leaves.
Sun Dried Tomatoes
Again this is an ingredient that really adds flavor so I would not substitute it or even eliminate it. If you don’t have any sun-dried tomatoes you could possible roast some grape tomatoes and then mix them into the stuffing at the end before stuffing.
I added these for crunch, nutrition and flavor. I love nuts in fall recipes and the crunchy pecans really went well with the other ingredients. However if you can’t eat nuts you can just not use them. Other nuts to try would be pine nuts, walnuts, almond slices or slivers, hazelnuts, etc.
Again the parmesan cheese adds another layer of flavor. I just sprinkled it on top but this is totally optional. You could also mix a tablespoon or two in the mixture when making the stuffing.
Other cheese you could try are grated Romano or Asiago cheeses, goat cheese or feta cheese. Note if you use the cheeses add them right after you take the sausage off the heat. You don’t necessarily want cheeses like feta and goat cheese to melt completely and mix with the other ingredients. Again the cheese is optional and not necessary but could be a nice addition.
Lastly if you wan to play around with a few herbs you can try some sage, thyme, rosemary, etc. That’s why I like the breakfast sausage for the filling in this recipe because it usually contains sage and thyme and even a bit of brown sugar.
How to make air fryer sausage stuffed acorn squash.
Step 1: Prepare the acorn squash by cutting in half and cleaning out the seeds. You can roast seeds in the microwave FYI. The brush olive oil on the cut sides and season with salt and black pepper.
Step 2: Place the raw squash halves in the air fryer basket and roast at 400°F for 20 minutes. If it’s fork tender it is ready. It will also have a golden brown color on the top. Take out and let cool a bit while you make the stuffing. Cooking time may vary.
Step 3: Get out a large skillet and heat to medium high heat. Add the breakfast pork sausage and break it up in the pan with a wood spoon. Turn down the heat to medium and once the meat is cooked take the skillet off the stove.
Step 4: Add the chopped spinach to the meat mixture and mix around until it wilts. Then mix in the sun dried tomatoes and chopped pecans. Let cool a few minutes.
Step 5: Take the sausage filling mixture and stuff the baked squash halves as much as you can. Place in the air fryer and cook for 3-5 minutes at 400°F.
When done you can sprinkle some grated parmesan cheese on top. You can also add some hot pepper flakes for heat if you want. NOTE you can eat this roasted skin of the stuffed squash so go ahead and eat the whole thing! It’s a self contained edible bowl.
If you have any leftover filling you can save and eat as is or mix with some cooked rice (white or wild rice) for a tasty dish. You can try other grains too like cooked quinoa, couscous etc. I would even eat it with eggs for a fancy omelet.
Take out and let cool a bit before servings. Store leftovers in an airtight container or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Please scroll down to view a printable recipe card for details.
Below you can see what the final dish looks like. It was SO good to me and I think it would look great on a holiday table during the winter months.
I also like it because it’s like a self contained complete meal in my opinion. You could add a green salad and some crusty bread if you want but we just ate it as is.
To make this sausage stuffed acorn squash in the oven.
Just preheat the oven to 400°F. Cut the squash in half and clean it out. Brush the insides with a tablespoon of oil or you can also use cooking spray. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Place them cut side down on the prepared baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake for 30-45 minutes. When they are fork tender take them out of the oven and they are done. Baking times may vary.
You can make the filling while they bake and then stuff them when they come out. You still might want to put them back in the oven for 2-3 minutes so that the filling can cook a bit more. Note you might want to use a baking dish when making them in the oven. That way after you serve them in the baking dish too.
More tasty and healthy squash recipes to try.
I have lots of healthy zucchini recipes on this blog but if you are looking for other kinds of squash recipes check out some of my favorites.
- roasted delicata squash
- coconut curry spaghetti squash with shrimp
- creamy butternut squash soup
- Thai curry butternut squash noodles with veggies
- nacho zucchini chips
- chicken enchilada stuffed pattypan squash
I was really pleased with how this recipe came out and I can’t wait to make it again. I have a few other ideas of acorn squash recipes I want to try so look out for them in the future. Enjoy!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 acorn squash, cut in half
- ¼ pound breakfast sausage (pork)
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach leaves
- 2 tablespoons chopped sun dried tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons chopped pecans
- salt and black pepper to season
- grated parmesan cheese to garnish (optional)
- Cut acorn squash in half and clean out the seeds. Take a pastry brush and brush the olive oil over th squash and then season with salt and black pepper. Place in the air fryer and cook at 400°F for 20 minutes or until the squash is fork tender. Take it out to cool. Cooking time may vary.
- While that is baking, get out a large nonstick skillet and heat to medium high heat. Add the pork sausage and break apart with a wooden spoon then turn the heat down to medium heat. Saute until the sausage is cooked through.
- Add the chopped spinach and mix with the pork sausage until wilted then take off the stove. Add in the sun dried tomatoes and pecans and mix well to complete the filling.
- When the squash are done, take them out and stuff with the sausage mixture. Place them bake in the air fryer and cook for 3-5 minutes more.
- When they are done, take the out and let them cool for a few minutes. Sprinkle with some parmesan cheese if you want but that is optional. Note you can eat the roasted skin so think of it as an edible bowl!
- Store leftovers in an air tight container. If you have leftover stuffing, you can eat it as is, with eggs, with rice, etc.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 425Total Fat: 30gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 49mgSodium: 886mgCarbohydrates: 27gFiber: 11gSugar: 3gProtein: 19g