Acorn Squash Casserole Recipe

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Acorn Squash Casserole Recipe



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Acorn squash, with its sweet, nutty flavor and buttery texture, makes a delightful centerpiece for a variety of dishes, especially during the fall and winter months. A casserole featuring acorn squash is not only a testament to the versatility of this winter squash but also offers a comforting, nutritious meal that can easily become a family favorite. In this article, we’ll explore a simple yet delicious acorn squash casserole recipe that balances the squash’s natural sweetness with savory and herbal notes, creating a dish that’s as satisfying to the palate as it is beautiful on the table.


2 medium acorn squash
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup quinoa (cooked according to package instructions)
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup kale, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)
2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (for topping)


Preparation of Acorn Squash:

Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).

Cut the acorn squash in half from stem to end and scoop out the seeds. Slice each half into 1/2-inch thick slices.

Toss the squash slices with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Arrange them on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 25 minutes, or until tender and slightly caramelized. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Then, chop the roasted slices into bite-sized pieces.

Casserole Base:

While the squash is roasting, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add a splash of olive oil, followed by the diced onion. Cook until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add the minced garlic to the skillet and cook for another minute until fragrant.

Stir in the chopped kale and cook until it starts to wilt, about 3-4 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the roasted acorn squash, cooked quinoa, sautéed onion, garlic, kale, dried cranberries, walnuts (if using), sage, thyme, and half of the grated Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Assembling the Casserole:

Transfer the squash mixture to a greased casserole dish. Pour the vegetable broth over the mixture to ensure it stays moist during baking.

Mix the breadcrumbs with the remaining Parmesan cheese and sprinkle evenly over the top of the casserole.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until the topping is golden and crispy.


Let the casserole cool for a few minutes before serving. This dish pairs wonderfully with a light salad or as a hearty side to your main course.

This acorn squash casserole recipe brings out the best of fall flavors with its mix of sweet squash, earthy grains, and aromatic herbs. It’s a perfect dish for a cozy night in or a festive holiday table. The beauty of this recipe lies in its adaptability; feel free to experiment with different herbs, nuts, or even add-ins like crumbled feta for a different twist. Enjoy the process of making it and the delightful flavors that come with every bite.

Tips for Perfecting Your Acorn Squash Casserole

Creating a memorable acorn squash casserole isn’t just about following the recipe to the letter. Here are some tips and tricks to enhance the flavor and texture of your dish, making it even more irresistible.

Choose Your Squash Wisely

The quality of your acorn squash can significantly affect the outcome of your casserole. Look for squashes that feel heavy for their size and have dull, dark green skins without any soft spots or blemishes. A good acorn squash should feel firm and be free of cracks and excessive scarring.

Experiment with Textures

The basic recipe offers a wonderful blend of textures, from the soft squash to the crunchy walnuts and breadcrumbs. However, don’t hesitate to play around with these elements. For instance, adding roasted pepitas or sunflower seeds can introduce a delightful crunch, while stirring in some cooked barley or farro instead of quinoa can give the dish a chewier texture.

Adjust the Seasonings

While the suggested herbs and spices in the recipe create a harmonious blend, feel free to adjust these to suit your taste preferences. For a more robust flavor, consider adding a pinch of nutmeg or cinnamon to complement the sweetness of the squash. A little smoked paprika can introduce a subtle warmth and depth to the dish.

Make It a Meal

While this casserole can stand as a hearty side, it can also be the star of the show. To turn it into a more filling entrée, consider adding a protein source. Cooked, shredded chicken, crumbled sausage, or even chunks of roasted tofu can make this dish even more substantial and satisfying.

Vegan and Dairy-Free Options

For a vegan version of this casserole, simply substitute the Parmesan cheese with a vegan alternative or nutritional yeast for a cheesy flavor without the dairy. Use a plant-based broth instead of vegetable broth if you prefer, and check that your breadcrumbs are vegan-friendly.

Leftovers and Storage

This casserole reheats beautifully, making it a great option for meal prep or leftovers. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, simply cover the casserole with foil and warm it in the oven at 350°F (175°C) until heated through.

This helps retain the moisture and ensures that the casserole remains delicious.

Serve with Style

Presentation matters, especially when you’re serving a casserole. Before serving, garnish with a sprinkle of fresh herbs, such as chopped parsley or additional sage, to add a pop of color and freshness. A drizzle of high-quality olive oil or a balsamic reduction can also elevate the dish, adding a touch of elegance and enhancing the flavors.

By following these tips and experimenting with your own twists, you can make an acorn squash casserole that’s uniquely yours. Whether as a comforting weeknight dinner or a festive holiday dish, this recipe is sure to warm hearts and satisfy appetites. Enjoy the process of cooking and the joy of sharing this delicious meal with others.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about Acorn Squash Casserole

Can I make this casserole ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare this casserole ahead of time. Assemble the casserole without baking, cover it tightly, and refrigerate for up to 24 hours before you plan to serve it. When ready to bake, you might need to add a few extra minutes to the baking time if it’s going straight from the fridge to the oven.

Is acorn squash casserole healthy?

Acorn squash is a nutritious ingredient rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, making this casserole a healthy option, especially when it’s loaded with vegetables, grains, and nuts. You can adjust the ingredients based on your dietary needs, such as using less cheese or incorporating more leafy greens, to tailor the dish to your nutritional preferences.

Can I freeze acorn squash casserole?

Yes, you can freeze this casserole. To do so, bake the casserole as directed and allow it to cool completely. Then, wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil or transfer it to a freezer-safe container. It can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating in the oven.

How can I make this dish gluten-free?

To make a gluten-free acorn squash casserole, ensure that your quinoa and vegetable broth are certified gluten-free, and substitute the breadcrumbs for a gluten-free alternative. You can use gluten-free panko breadcrumbs or make your own by pulsing gluten-free bread in a food processor until coarse crumbs form.

Can I use another type of squash?

Yes, while acorn squash is recommended for its flavor and texture, you can use butternut squash or kabocha squash as substitutes. These squashes have a similar sweetness and will work well in the casserole, though you may need to adjust the roasting time based on the hardness and size of the pieces.

What can I serve with acorn squash casserole?

This casserole pairs beautifully with a variety of dishes. For a hearty meal, serve it alongside roasted meats such as chicken, turkey, or pork. It also complements salads, especially those with a tangy dressing to balance the sweetness of the squash. For a vegetarian feast, serve it with other roasted vegetables and a grain salad.

How can I add more protein to this dish?

To increase the protein content, consider adding cooked beans (such as chickpeas or black beans), lentils, or quinoa. For non-vegetarian options, cooked and shredded chicken, ground turkey, or diced ham can be mixed into the casserole before baking.

By addressing these FAQs, you can navigate the nuances of making an acorn squash casserole that suits your taste preferences and dietary needs, ensuring that this dish becomes a cherished part of your culinary repertoire.


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