by Olena

Turkey Stuffed Acorn Squash

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Olena Osipov
4.9 from 17 votes

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Nothing screams fall like healthy Stuffed Acorn Squash recipe with ground turkey, kale and the perfect blend of spices. This show-stopping autumn inspired meal is comforting, colorful and loaded with earthy flavors; it’s fancy enough for the holidays yet easy enough for a simple weeknight meal!

Can’t get enough of fall squash cooking like me? Try oven baked butternut squash, chicken alfredo or butter chicken spaghetti squash boats.

acorn squash dinner recipe stuffed with ground turkey and melted cheese

Fall Inspired Stuffed Acorn Squash with Ground Turkey

Stuffed acorn squash officially means fall cooking is ‘on’ in my kitchen. With it’s colorful hues and earthy taste, this winter squash recipe brings all the cozy vibes of fall inside and onto your dinner table. If you have ever wondered ‘what to do with acorn squash’ that you just picked up at the farmers market or grocer, this oven baked squash recipe is for you!

Recipes that are ‘stuffed’ look impressive but are usually surprisingly easy- like chicken stuffed with brie and cranberries or spinach stuffed chicken – and the same goes for this stuffed acorn squash recipe. Think sweet tender squash roasted in the oven while you put the finishing touches on the rest of your autumn inspired meal of kale, apple and quinoa salad, turkey breast roast and cranberry sauce.

I also share an easy way to cut through the thick skin of squash without losing a finger because while we can all agree healthy acorn squash recipes are delicious, we can also agree that winter squash can be tough to slice through! Apply this same method to my honey garlic butternut squash recipe or when you make avocado and egg spaghetti squash.

Not only does this recipe solve what to do with acorn squash, but it is a ‘one pan’ meal that is great for a weeknight dinner but also elegant enough for your holiday table. I just love that about this acorn squash dinner recipe ~ Enjoy!

Why This Healthy Acorn Squash Recipe Works?

  • Helps solve the question of ‘what to do with acorn squash’ with an easy baked winter squash recipe.
  • Stuffed acorn squash ground turkey is colorful with earthy tastes that match the essence of autumn.
  • Baked acorn squash dinner recipe is a healthy main or side and lower in carbs with no rice included in the stuffing
  • Easy enough for a weeknight dinner with only 7 minutes of prep time, but also elegant enough to impress guests during the holidays
  • High in antioxidants with vitamins A and C – one more reason to eat plenty of acorn squash during the fall!

Ingredients for Turkey Stuffed Acorn Squash

  • Meat: You can use ground turkey (like I did) or chicken. Ground beef is more fatty. If you do use ground beef, drain the fat while browning the meat.
  • Veggies: Acorn squash, onion and garlic. Pick smaller squash if serving individual portions.

Did you know that while acorn squash is considered a winter squash, it actually belongs to the same species of summer squash plants!?!

  • Spinach or kale: These hearty greens give stuffed acorn squash a bright pop of color as well as a nutritional boost.
  • Spices and seasonings: Fresh parsley, dried rosemary and tomato paste.
  • Cheese: Any hard cheese like cheddar, marble or colby cheese, freshly grated is best.
ingredients for recipe

How to Make Baked Stuffed Acorn Squash

There is a full recipe card below.

  • Cut and seed acorn squash: Start by placing a rubber mat under the cutting board to reduce sliding. Using a long serrated knife, cut through the skin of the squash, helping with a meat mallet. And then, just split open and scoop out the seeds.

Use a meat mallet if you need help to ‘hammer’ your knife through the skin. You could also use a crinkle cutter if you have one on hand.

  • Bake squash: First, brush the squash with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes with the cut side up in preheated 450 degrees F oven.
  • Prepare stuffing: Cook onion and garlic in large skillet until translucent. Then add turkey and cook for ~7 minutes. Finally, add the spices, herbs and spinach. Remove from heat and stir in half the cheese.
  • Stuff: Add a scoop of stuffing to each pre-baked squash half. Then, sprinkle with more cheese.
  • Bake: Just another 25 minutes in the oven and it’s done!

Optional Add In’s and Variations

  • Swap out your herb combinations for thyme/sage or oregano/basil.
  • Add some heat by sprinkling in some red chili pepper flakes with your ground turkey stuffing.
  • Go meat free by using sautéed portobello mushrooms or substituting cooked chickpeas.
  • Use the meat you have an hand– leftover chopped chicken breast, ground chicken or ground turkey sausage.
  • Omit cheese for a dairy free option or substitute for a dairy free brand.
  • Make it heartier by adding some cooked rice or quinoa into the stuffing.
  • Toss in dried cranberries with your stuffing mix – especially great for a holiday meal!

Tips for Best Acorn Squash Dinner Recipe Results

  • Use medium to large squash to have enough room for the ground turkey stuffing.

  • Save the seeds and roast them just like pumpkin seeds – toss them into salads or for garnish.
    • Cook your healthy acorn squash ground turkey stuffing up to a day in advance – this is especially great when prepping for your Thanksgiving meal.
    • Don’t over bake your stuffed squash. You want it tender, not mushy.
    • No acorn squash? Use butternut, delicata or buttercup squash (cooking time may need to be adjusted).


    Can you eat the skin of acorn squash?

    Yes, and you should consider doing so! The skin of an acorn squash (like many other vegetables!) is packed with nutrients. By roasting your acorn squash, the skin becomes soft and edible. The choice is yours though, if you don’t prefer the skin, just scoop out the squash and filling and eat it that way.

    Is acorn squash healthy?

    Yes, it is low calorie while also being high in vitamins, minerals and fiber.

    What does acorn squash taste like?

    Acorn squash has a sweet, nutty taste. It is a very mild tasting – some even say buttery in taste. Leave a comment with how it tastes for you!

    What is the difference between acorn squash and butternut squash?

    While both are considered ‘winter squash’, they do vary in look, texture and taste. Butternut squash is sweeter and smoother in texture – which is why it is used in soup more often. Acorn squash, while sweeter as well, has a ‘nuttier’ taste profile and is more fibrous (sometimes stringy).

    Serving Recommendations

    This acorn squash dinner recipe is a great addition to any meal as well as as complete meal in itself!

    Leftover turkey mixture? Serve alongside your poached eggs and toast in the morning or use it for stuffed peppers.

    Making Stuffed Acorn Squash Ground Turkey in Advance

    Store: Stuffed acorn squash can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

    Make ahead: Turkey stuffing can be made ahead of time and refrigerated for up to 24 hours until ready to assemble.

    More Squash Recipes

    Turkey Stuffed Acorn Squash

    Turkey Stuffed Acorn Squash {BEST Ever!}

    Nothing screams fall like healthy Stuffed Acorn Squash recipe with ground turkey, kale and the perfect blend of spices. This show-stopping autumn inspired meal is comforting, colorful and loaded with earthy flavors; it's fancy enough for the holidays yet easy enough for a simple weeknight meal!
    4.89 from 17 votes
    Print Save Rate
    Course: Dinner
    Cuisine: North American
    Prep Time: 7 minutes
    Cook Time: 1 hour 7 minutes
    Total Time: 1 hour 14 minutes
    Servings: 6 servings
    Calories: 288kcal
    Author: Olena Osipov



    • 3 smaller acorn squash about 1.5 lbs each
    • 1 tbsp avocado oil
    • Pinch of salt and ground black pepper


    • 1 medium onion finely chopped
    • 3 garlic cloves minced
    • 1 tbsp avocado oil
    • 1 lb ground turkey extra lean
    • 3 cups spinach and/or kale packed and coarsely shopped
    • 2 tbsp tomato paste
    • 2 tsp dried rosemary
    • 3 tbsp parsley finely chopped
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • Ground black pepper to taste
    • 3/4 cup any hard cheese shredded & divided


    • Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. To cut squash open, place a rubber mat under the cutting board and a towel on top. Place squash on the towel and cut through using long serrated knife, cut all around. You might get some help from a meat tenderizer but I found it wasn’t necessary. Now scoop out the seeds.
      Turkey Stuffed Acorn Squash
    • Place squash cut side up on a large baking sheet. Brush with 1 tbsp of oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes.
      Turkey Stuffed Acorn Squash
    • In the meanwhile, prepare the stuffing by first placing large skillet on a low-medium heat. Add remaining avocado oil and tilt the skillet to coat. Add onion and garlic; cook until translucent, stirring occasionally. Now add turkey and cook for another 7 minutes, stirring and breaking into pieces. Add remaining ingredients (except cheese) and cook for a few more minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup cheese.
      Turkey Stuffed Acorn Squash
    • Stuff opening of each pre-roasted and cooled until safe to handle squash half with stuffing, dividing evenly. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Return to the oven and bake for another 25 minutes or until tops start to turn golden brown. Serve hot.
      Turkey Stuffed Acorn Squash

    Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

      Make ahead: Prepare stuffing up to 24 hours in advance.


        • Swap out your herb combinations for thyme/sage or oregano/basil or add some heat by sprinkling in some red chili pepper flakes with your ground turkey stuffing.
        • Go meat free by using sautéed portobello mushrooms or substituting cooked chickpeas.
        • Make use of leftover meat you have already– leftover chopped chicken breast, ground chicken or ground turkey sausage.
        • Keep it dairy free with dairy free cheese or omitting it altogether. 
        • Make it heartier by adding some cooked rice or quinoa into the stuffing.
        • Dried cranberries mixed with your stuffing mix make it especially great for a holiday meal!
        See recipe post for tips and FAQs.


        Calories: 288kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 56mg | Sodium: 383mg | Potassium: 1166mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 2612IU | Vitamin C: 34mg | Calcium: 207mg | Iron: 3mg
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        37 comments on “Turkey Stuffed Acorn Squash

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        1. 5 stars
          OMG! Just made this for supper, and it was absolutely divine. I used the sage/thyme combo of spices and yum. The only difference in my recipe was the fact I didn’t have fresh spinach so I used canned, drained well, and it worked out great. We will be eating this again and again, thank you for the awesome recipe ❤️

        2. 5 stars
          I made this last night and it was SO good! It looks beautiful and tastes amazing. Everyone loved it. The best part is that it is so easy to make!

        3. 4 stars
          I used ground chicken and in place of spinach I had a kale salad mix that I chopped up and added in. Used thyme, basil and parsley. Very tasty.

        4. 5 stars
          This is my new go-to for impressing guests! Fool proof, incredibly tasty, and looks great! I add chopped portobello mushrooms and use fresh thyme and sage instead of the dried herbs. Thank you for this recipe!

        5. 5 stars
          I made this recipe for my family and we all loved it! I did make a couple of slight changes to accommodate what I had available (I used chopped chicken breast instead of ground turkey), and to make it cleanse friendly (I omitted the cheese). I’m looking forward to making it again with the cheese!

        6. 5 stars
          Love this recipe! I use a sweet Italian Turkey sausage. Instead of rosemary I include oregano, basil and thyme- these are my favorite herbs. It cooks up brilliantly and is fairly easy…but out looks impressive. Thanks!

        7. 5 stars
          A staple for dinner! If you have leftover turkey mixture, use it for breakfast! I did a bed of mixed greens with a sprinkle of olive oil and lemon juice, then topped with turkey mixture and two poached eggs. Delicious!

        8. 5 stars
          Love squash every which way! But this was new to me and so delicious! Thank-you, as always, I appreciate every new recipe.

        9. 5 stars
          This recipe has been in my “need to try” list since last year, but I was holding out for a good crop of acorn squash. Today I finally tried the recipe, and it is everything I hoped for! I know it will become a fall favorite!

        10. 5 stars
          The turkey stuffing is so good!!! So good! I didn’t mind the acorn squash with it but I am wondering how the stuffing would taste inside green peppers?? I might just stuff green peppers with this yummy turkey stuffing next time.

        11. This looks amazing – hoping I can find acorn squash. Squash is generally hard to find here in Mexico City. Yes it’s safe to come to Mexico City! The devastation is heartbreaking- but how the people came together is amazing. Most everything is still open – Businesses are already suffering because people feel guilty for going on with life. You just must go to the San Juan food market – if you want a food adventure. Happy to give any other tips or suggestions.

          1. Hi Melissa. I will be staying with friends in Interlomas. No idea where they are taking me. Where is San Juan food market?
            Glad to hear life keeps going on. My friends told me it’s such a huge city, nothing happened in their town. I just hope no more earthquakes but I mean can’t live in fear, right?! I would be open to all of your suggestions. No squash, huh?! You can stuff chayotes with this stuffing.:)

            1. Found some acorn squash super expensive but I splurged. No turkey though – ground turkey just doesn’t taste the same here. Making this tomorrow ?

              San Juan Food market is downtown Mexico City. It is open seven days a week. There is a little Mercado in interlomas we use to go to – we moved to a Polanco this summer- it’s Tuesday’s and Thursday’s. My favorite touristy things are the Turibus, Zocalo – Templo Mayor and basilica and presidential palace tour, Chapultepec Castle (my favorite), Pyramids Teotihuacan (La Gruta for lunch – cave restaurant – super cool show – make sure if you get water ask for bottled water. We somehow messed this up and my husband and daughter got sick.)
              Polanco (including food tour
              Villa Maria (has mariachi)
              El Moro (churros, chocolate, churro ice cream sandwiches)
              Tacos al pastor
              Have a wonderful trip

        12. Your not the only sad one about saying good bye to summer. It is my favorite season of all! Fresh produce, sunshine, etc. I’m one of those people that literally can’t wait for summer to roll around again. In the meantime, I’ll be making your fall goodies and reminiscing about summer. 🙂

          1. Right?! How can people say they are excited to cook with pumpkin again?! You can cook with canned pumpkin any time of the year but can enjoy true summer only 2 months of the year. So sad. Who cares about pumpkins?! Lol.

            1. It’s really hard to find canned pumpkin around here (western Washington) during the spring and fall unless you want to pay around 5 dollars a can! I stock up during the fall when it’s readily available AND less expensive!

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