Healthy Holiday: Apple Pecan Stuffed Squash

Fall Recipes, Holiday Recipes, Seasonal Recipes, Side Dish, Thanksgiving Recipes, Vegetables, Winter Recipes | 15 comments

Can you believe that Thanksgiving is next week? Luckily, we are going low-key this year. No traveling and no guests. Just a nice, relaxed break at home this year. I will probably roast a chicken or a turkey breast rather than a large turkey. I’ve already been testing out a few new recipes to include this year, like these Maple Apple Pecan Stuffed Acorn Squash.

stuffed acorn squash

What will you be enjoying this year at Thanksgiving? Do you have big plans for a family get-together or are you keeping it casual at home with your immediate family? If you haven’t already, now would be a good time to start preparing. Some simple to do ahead tasks that will make next week easier are:

  • Begin planning the menu. Start with sorting out the recipes for your “must haves,” and your family’s traditional dishes.
  • After you’ve decided on the dishes you know you will have (your favorite sweet potatoes, your family’s pecan pie, etc.), start thinking about what’s missing. Do you need more sides? Appetizers? Drinks? Bread? Filling in the gaps is a great opportunity to introduce a few new dishes.
  • Print off all of your recipes. Punch holes in the sheets and place them in a binder or folder with brackets. Label that folder “THANKSGIVING RECIPES.” This will make every year from here on out much easier.
  • Take stock of your freezer and pantry. Make a list of items you are out of or running low on.
  • Purchase non-perishable essentials. The earlier the better, so you can avoid sold-out merchandise, crowded grocery stores and last minute shopping trips. Shop with a list to avoid overspending.
  • Order or purchase a turkey. Store it in the freezer if you bring it home earlier than 4-5 days before Thanksgiving.
  • Make requests or assignments to your guests (if you want people to bring food). Give them plenty of time to prepare for their dish and/or find a new recipe to share.

stuffed acorn squash

healthy holiday

Are you ready for a delicious, healthy holiday this year? Visit my fellow Healthy Holiday bloggers for great inspiration in planning a nutritious and delicious holiday meal.

Need help preparing for Thankgiving? Check out this FREE Thanksgiving Planning ebook. Still looking for more recipe inspiration? Try my Thanksgiving and Fall sections of the Recipe Index.

Apple Pecan Stuffed Squash

serves 4-8

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2 acorn squash (about 1 1/2 lb. each), rinsed
1/2 cup apple cider
2 teaspoons canola or olive oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 Gala or Honeycrisp Apple (1/2 lb. total), cored and chopped
1 Golden Delicious or Granny Smith (1/2 lb. total), cored and chopped
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fresh minced sage
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme
salt, to taste
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons brown sugar
optional ad in: 8 ounces cooked and crumbled turkey sausage


Cut each squash in half; scoop out seeds. Place each half, cavity side down, in a 9- by 13-inch baking pan. Pour apple cider in the bottom of the pan, cover the pan with foil and bake in a 350° F oven until tender when pierced, about 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat 2 teaspoons canola or olive oil. Add onion, apples, golden raisins, cranberries, cinnamon, sage and thyme; stir often until apples are tender when pierced, 8 to 10 minutes. If desired, add 8 ounces cooked and crumbled turkey sausage. Season to taste with salt. Stir in pecans.

Uncover squash and turn halves upright. Brush edges and inside with the remaining apple cider in the bottom of the pan; fill equally with apple mixture. Drizzle equally with maple syrup. Sprinkle edges with brown sugar and bake, uncovered, until filling is slightly browned on top, about 15 minutes longer.

*I like to use different apple types and leave the skin on for extra color, but you do not have to do that. If desired, peel the apples.

Katie Goodman

About the Author:

Katie’s lifelong interest in cooking good food has shown her that part of the goodness in life is enjoying delicious food with friends and family. She is: Mom. Writer. Photographer. Recipe Developer. Website Founder. Lover of all things good in life. A mix of great recipes, family memories, and yummy photography is what Katie serves up each week at GoodLife Eats™. Katie and her family reside in Colorado.

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  • 1
    Shaina - November 16, 2010 @ 8:08 am

    Yum. These look delicious. I’m in the process of stuffing dumpling squash right now with oranges and cranberries, but apples and pecans sound wonderful.


  • 2
    Amber | Bluebonnets & Brownies - November 16, 2010 @ 8:22 am

    This looks really really tasty. And amazingly, it’s naturally vegan since you didn’t use butter. I think I’ll add this as a side for the whole family, but especially for my cousin Lucas that can’t eat gluten or dairy.


  • 3
    naomi - November 16, 2010 @ 8:28 am

    I love acorn squash and I love how stuffed this it looks fantastic! The apples and pecan are a great combination


  • 4
    the blissful baker - November 16, 2010 @ 8:33 am

    this looks wonderful! acorn squash is naturally sweet and tasty, and adding pecans and apples can only make it more delicious. i love all of the different flavors in this. it’ll definitely be on my list of things to make ASAP!


  • 5
    Kristen - November 16, 2010 @ 9:22 am

    We are having a low key, just us Thanksgiving too. I’m actually kind of bummed about it. I love having a full table of guests at Thanksgiving! Oh well… hopefully next year!


  • 6
    Krystina (Basil & Wine) - November 16, 2010 @ 10:15 am

    Those are visually stunning.


  • 7
    Estela @ Weekly Bite - November 16, 2010 @ 10:24 am

    Gorgeous pictures!! We’re having a small Thanksgiving this year. Although it means less kitchen time… I really enjoy having lots of guests :)


  • 8
    SusieBee at eatlittleeatbig - November 16, 2010 @ 11:23 am

    Beautiful squash.
    We are joining several groups of local friends for this year’s meal. Everyone will be bringing a couple of sides. I’ve tested my dessert already so I just need a savory veggie dish-perhaps this one if I can get the squash (it’s always a toss up what we can get in the store here at holidays).

    Dessert-a light version of pumpkin cheesecake parfaits


  • 9
    Sues - November 16, 2010 @ 12:26 pm

    This is so my ideal meal. And it makes such a pretty picture, too :) My Thanksgivings are always small… Going to my parents’ with my boyfriend and my sister and her husband. My neighbors (who are kind of like my grandparents) always come too. It’s small, but exactly how I like it!! :)


  • 10
    Aimee @ Simple Bites - November 16, 2010 @ 8:58 pm

    I’ve got a little mountain of squash in my cold room just waiting for something like this. Thanks for the inspiration!


  • 11
    Lauren - November 17, 2010 @ 10:54 am

    I am absolutely bookmarking this recipe. There are so many delicious fall flavors and textures!


  • 12
    Alicia - November 17, 2010 @ 12:23 pm

    Great tips… and this looks like an amazing side dish! Lovely, seasonal, and healthy!


  • 13
    DawnK - November 17, 2010 @ 5:50 pm

    My daughter and I made this tonight, but as a side dish to some white bean chicken chili, so we didn’t add the sausage. It was delicious. Hubby, 18yo, and I all loved it. The 21yo would have loved it, too, if she’d been home.

    We made half a recipe, since we only had 1 acorn squash and there are only 3 of us here. Our honeycrisp apple weighed 12 ounces, so it was HUGE. We ended up with more stuffing than we needed. No matter. The extra was quickly consumed by my husband and me.

    Also, when stuffing the acorn squash, because of the cranberries, apples, thyme and sage, it just smelled like Thanksgiving.


  • 14
    marla {family fresh cooking} - November 21, 2010 @ 6:41 am

    Katie, this squash looks amazing. Absolutely linking to it in my holiday round-up!


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