Meat Lover's Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash are filled with all of the flavors and spices of the autumn season. The filling has not one but 2 kinds of meat. Featuring both savory ground turkey and beef along with naturally sweet handpicked apples. Baked to perfection in acorn squash halves for the perfect paleo friendly fall dinner.
What's to Love
You are just going to love this recipe for stuffed acorn squash as it is savory, naturally sweet and slightly spicy. It is also happily gluten-free and dairy-free just like our Air Fryer Baked Apples - that would be perfect for dessert. If you are looking for a cozy fall dinner, this paleo stuffed squash is sure to please.
What spices do you think of when you think of autumn/fall?
Well of course, that has to be cinnamon as this spice is a great accompaniment to apples and acorn squash. Sage as it goes really well with Turkey. Rosemary is super fragrant and whether you have fresh or dried don't skimp on this spice, or you will be sorry. Dried chilis to warm you up is a must try spice in these Meat Lover's Apple stuffed Acorn Squash.
2 Kinds of Meat
Well, why not! Actually, a mixture of turkey and lean beef really makes this dish moist and juicy and a great way to keep this dish lean and mean. You could also use ground lamb or anything your heart desires.
Apples - We are just amazed at al of these new breeds of apples. You will want to use a crisp apple that can hold up to the cooking process. We used gala apples but you can also use green apples, Fuji or honey crisp or other crunchy apples. If you cook your apples just slightly on the stove top they are tender but still have a little bite to them.
Acorn squash - are just these perfect little naturally sweet containers to hold this delicious savory herbed meat lover's apple stuffing. You could also use butternut squash, kabocha squash and other naturally sweet squash of choice.
Ground Proteins - It is not required that you use both ground turkey and ground beef but the combination makes it very tender. You can use any ground meats of choice like ground turkey, ground lamb or even make it vegan with adding cooked wild rice and lentils.
If you put the squash cut side down on a baking sheet with a little water it helps steam them first then flip them over with a little olive oil and spices to get toasty browned. This is a very good thing as it helps keep the squash moist and cook faster in the oven.
No need to peel of you are going to use the acorn halves stuffed. As a matter of fact, it is better to keep the peel on as it makes the perfect natural bowl to eat from.
First and foremost, please make sure that your cutting board is stable on the table and not moving. Make sure the cutting board is dry and not wet or slippery. Next, make sure your knife is sharpened.
We like to use a heavy duty cleaver for this job. Take the pointed edge of the knife and pierce the center of the acorn squash to get it started while stabilizing the squash in your other hand. Then, take both hands off the squash and hold the cleaver on top with both hand and cut down and hard through the squash.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) and reheat for 10 to 15 minutes or until toasty. You can also reheat in the microwave for just 1 to 2 minutes or in the air fryer for 3 to 4 minutes until heated through.
Meat Lover's Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash is going to be your new go to fall/autumn recipe.
More Squash and Pumpkin Recipes
For dessert, how about a Cardamon Ginger Butternut Affogato
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Meat Lover's Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash
- 1 acorn squash
cut in half, seeds removed
- ½ cup water
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
( or coconut oil, if you prefer) 1 tablespoon is for the meat and apple stuffing and the other tablespoon is for the final roasting of the acorn squash)
- 1 onion
small peeled and chopped
- 1 clove garlic
peeled and minced
- 2 small apples
gala apples (or crispy apples of choice like granny smiths, fuji, etc)
- ¼ pound ground turkey
- ¼ pound hamburger
- 1 teaspoon rosemary
dried or 1 tablespoon fresh chopped.
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon - 1 teaspoon
- 1 teaspoon sage
- ½ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
or to taste (optional)
- salt and pepper
- pomegranates optional - seeds to garnish
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F ( 204 degrees C).
- Carefully with a sharp and sturdy knife ( We used a Chinese clever), cut the acorn squash in half going with the natural grooves of the squash. (You could also use butternut, kaboacha or other naturally sweet squash that you desire. You will have to adjust the cooking time according to the size of your squash.)
- Line your baking tray with waxed paper/ parchment paper (just for easier cleanup) and place your acorn squash down in the pan, cut side down. Place about ½ to ¾ cup water in the pan to help steam the squash. Bake the acorn squash between 30 minutes to 40 minutes or until your can push the fork easily into the outer green covering of the acorn squash. (Our acorn squash were fork tender in 30 minutes)
- While your acorn squash are baking in the oven, prepare your meat eater's apple stuffing for the acorn squash. In a medium frying pan, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, onion, garlic and apples and saute just until to start to become fork tender. You want to leave them a little crisp for texture. (Remove apple, onion and garlic mixture from pan and set aside) Add the ground turkey, ground lean hamburger, rosemary, cinnamon, sage, dried red pepper flakes and salt and pepper to taste and cook until ground meats are browned ( about 5 minutes) Add the apple mixture back in with the meat mixture and stir. (Fresh herbs are the best and if you have access to them, that is preferred, but you will need to add more herbs as fresh herbs are not as strong as dried herbs, in many cases)
- When the acorn squash are fork tender, flip over so that cut side is up. Brush on olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle on a little ground cinnamon. (If you have a sweet tooth and really need an extra sweet and savory dish then drizzle on a little maple syrup to the acorn squash halves before adding the meat eaters apple stuffing mixture) Spoon the meat eaters apple stuffing inside the acorn squash halves. Drizzle with a little olive oil and bake for about 10 minutes more or until the edges of the acorn squash turn lightly browned and the meat mixture gets a little brown crust. Remove from oven.
- Garnish your Meat Eaters Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash with pomegranate seeds and enjoy!