Stuffed Acorn Squash is a Great Holiday Side Dish Idea!

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Looking for an alternative Holiday side dish? Try this Stuffed Acorn Squash that is filled with mushrooms, pancetta, dates, lentils, walnuts, and sage. Packed with flavor in every bite, this recipe could even be served as a main dish too!

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Stuffed Acorn Squash

The full ingredients list and instructions are found in the printable recipe card at the end of this post. I highly recommend reading the blog post all the way through so that you don’t miss any tips or substitution suggestions and to ensure that you have all the ingredients and equipment required as well as understand the steps and timings involved.

This protein-packed stuffed acorn squash provides a healthy and tasty alternative to traditional holiday side dishes.

Crisp pancetta, rich Portobello mushrooms, sweet dates, and aromatic sage bring fabulous, yet diverse, flavor to every bite.

As an added bonus, the lentils and walnuts make it more filling, so maybe you’ll be able to stop at just one piece of pumpkin pie this holiday season!

A variety of small squash

Acorn squash is a winter squash with distinctive longitudinal ridges on its exterior and sweet, yellow-orange flesh inside. Although considered a winter squash, acorn squash belongs to the same species as all summer squashes. As the name suggests, its shape resembles an acorn. Acorn squashes typically weigh one to two pounds and are between four and seven inches long.


If you can’t find acorn squash, don’t worry, it would work just as well in any small pumpkin or squash. The photo above is some of the ones I found in my local supermarket.

Imagine serving up these tasty stuffed acorn squashes for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. They will add a unique touch to your table plus they provide their own dish! And of course, they taste amazing!

Oh, and acorn squash seeds can be seasoned and toasted, just like pumpkin seeds. Reserve the seeds while preparing this recipe to enjoy as a healthy snack later.

Ingredients & Equipment Used In This Recipe

You may have some of the ingredients for this recipe in your kitchen already – the full list with measurements is found in the recipe card.

For your convenience, any specialized or notable ingredients and equipment needed for this recipe have been listed below and linked to Amazon if available online.

  • Fresh produce: acorn squash, Portobello mushrooms, onion, sage, garlic
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Pancetta – Italian cured pork belly. It has a deep, strong, slightly salty flavour, is fairly fatty, and comes either smoked or unsmoked.
  • Green Lentils
  • Dry Red Wine
  • Dates
  • Walnuts
  • Parmesan Cheese

This recipe uses American cups. They’re a handy piece of kitchen equipment to have along with a kitchen food scale. Having both in your kitchen means you’ll be able to make all of the different recipes on my blog as I use both cups and weighted measures.

Stuffed Acorn Squash - an Alternative Holiday Side Dish!

More Recipes Using Mushrooms

One of the hero ingredients in this recipe is mushrooms, so here are some more recipes using the same:

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More Stuffed Squash Recipes

Squash is one of those vegetables that really doesn’t get the attention it deserves. There are so many fantastic recipes that you can make using them! Looking for more stuffed squash inspo? Check these recipes out next:

Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe

How Do I Make Stuffed Acorn Squash?

Just check out the recipe card below with full ingredients, and instructions. You can print the card out too (don’t worry, the pics don’t print to save your ink!).

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes

Looking for an alternative holiday side dish? Try this Stuffed Acorn Squash that is filled with mushrooms, pancetta, dates, lentils, walnuts, and sage.


  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 3 acorn squash, cut in half and seeds removed
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 4 oz pancetta, diced
  • 1½ lbs. Portobello mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • ½ medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup green lentils, cooked
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup dry red wine
  • ⅓ cup dates, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup walnuts, chopped
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Spray a large baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Place the acorn squash halves cut side up in the prepared baking dish and brush cut edges with one tablespoon olive oil. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste.
  3. Place baking dish on center rack in the preheated oven and roast for 40 minutes, or until the squash is fork-tender.
  4. In the meantime, heat the remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  5. Add minced garlic and pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until slightly browned, approximately 2-3 minutes.
  6. Add chopped mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until they start to brown, approximately 4-5 minutes.
  7. Add sliced onions and continue cooking, stirring once or twice, for another 3-4 minutes.
  8. Stir green lentils, fresh sage, and red wine into the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture thickens, approximately 8-10 minutes.
  9. Remove from heat and stir in the chopped dates and toasted walnuts. Season with salt and black pepper, to taste. Set aside.
  10. When ready, remove cooked squash from the oven and cool slightly before filling each half with the mushroom mixture. Sprinkle each half with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
  11. Return stuffed squash to oven for another 5-10 minutes, or until heated through and the cheese starts to melt.
  12. Remove from oven and serve immediately. Enjoy!
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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 375Total Fat: 22gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 15gCholesterol: 17mgSodium: 149mgCarbohydrates: 36gFiber: 11gSugar: 9gProtein: 12g

This site uses Nutritionix to provide estimated nutrition. Nutritional information is always approximate and will depend on the quality of ingredients used and serving sizes. If you need exact calories and macros, please do your own calculations.

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Make It A Meal!

A portion of this stuffed squash could be served as a side dish for poultry like turkey, making it perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Or serve a whole squash as a filling main meal. Leave out the pancetta, and it makes a tasty vegetarian option.

Here are additional recipes to make a full meal!

There are 500+ Recipes on The Purple Pumpkin Blog for you to enjoy – please feel free to check them out too!

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