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Stuffed Squash with Turkey and Apples Recipe

This recipe for Stuffed Squash with Turkey and Apples is an innovative and wonderful way to incorporate the delightful taste of autumn into a nutritious meal. The sweet and tender acorn squash pairs beautifully with the savory turkey and the tartness of the apple gives this dish a unique twist.

Stuffed Squash with Turkey and Apples Recipe
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The recipe calls for acorn squash, which might not be a common vegetable in every household. When you're at the supermarket, look for acorn squash that feels heavy for their size and have a hard, dull rind. Also, wild rice is another ingredient to look for. It's a whole grain that is chewier and nuttier than white rice.

Ingredients for Stuffed Squash with Turkey and Apples

Acorn Squash: This is a type of winter squash that has sweet, yellow-orange flesh. It's perfect for stuffing because of its shape and size.

Olive oil: Used for roasting the squash and sauteing the turkey. It adds a subtle flavor.

Salt and pepper: Basic seasonings to enhance the flavor of the other ingredients.

Wild rice: A chewy, nutty grain that adds a delicious texture.

Ground turkey: A lean, low-fat protein that complements the sweet squash.

Shallot: It has a subtle flavor that's milder and sweeter than onions.

Celery: Adds a nice crunch and fresh flavor.

Apple: Adds a slightly sweet, slightly tart flavor. Any variety works.

Sage leaves and rosemary: Fresh herbs that add a warm, aromatic flavor.

Dried cranberries: Adds a touch of sweetness and a bit of chewy texture.

Breadcrumbs: Gives a nice crunch to the top of the stuffed squash.

One reader, Cloe Brittain says:

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This stuffed squash with turkey and apples recipe is a game-changer! The combination of flavors is simply divine. The tender squash, savory turkey, and sweet apples create a delightful harmony. It's a must-try for anyone looking to impress their taste buds with a healthy and delicious meal.

Cloe Brittain

Cooking Techniques for Stuffed Squash with Turkey and Apples

How to roast the squash: Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment. Brush the squash with 1 tablespoon of the oil and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper. Place the squash on the baking sheet with the cut sides down and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until tender when pierced with the tip of a paring knife. Remove and cool briefly.

How to cook the wild rice: In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups of water and ¼ teaspoon salt to a boil. Add the rice and adjust the heat to a simmer. Set a lid on top, slightly askew, and cook for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the rice “grains” are tender. Drain in a sieve or fine-mesh colander.

How to prepare the turkey filling: In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the turkey and break it up into tablespoon-sized clumps using a stiff spatula or wooden spoon. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often until it begins to brown. Add the shallot, celery, apple, sage, rosemary, cranberries, ½ teaspoon salt, and a pinch of pepper. Cook and stir for another 3 to 4 minutes, or until the vegetables soften. If the pan seems dry, add up to ¼ cup water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and stir to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the skillet until the water evaporates. Stir in the cooked rice. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if desired.

How to assemble and bake the stuffed squash: Turn the squash on the baking sheet so the cut side is up. Divide the filling between the halves. In a small bowl, mix the breadcrumbs with 1 teaspoon of oil. Sprinkle on top of the squash halves. Bake for 10 minutes, or until hot all the way through and the breadcrumbs are browned.

How To Make Stuffed Squash with Turkey and Apples

Ground turkey, cranberries, apples, and herbs are tossed together with wild rice to make this deliciously filling stuffed squash.

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking: 45 minutes
Total: 55 minutes

Serves:

Ingredients

  • lbsacorn squash, halved lengthwise and seeded,(1 medium)
  • 2tbspolive oil,plus 1 tsp
  • 1tspsalt,divided
  • tspground black pepper
  • ½cupuncooked wild rice
  • 6ozground turkey,or ground breakfast sausage
  • 1small shallot,finely chopped
  • 1stalkcelery,finely chopped
  • ½large apple,(such as Honeycrisp, Jonagold, or Braeburn), unpeeled, cored, and cut into small dice
  • 1tbspchopped fresh sage leaves
  • 1tbspchopped fresh rosemary
  • 2tbspdried cranberries
  • 1tbspfine dry breadcrumbs

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

  2. Brush the squash with 1 tablespoon of the oil and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt and a pinch of pepper. With the cut sides down, place the squash on the baking sheet.

  3. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until tender when pierced with the tip of a paring knife. Remove and cool briefly.

  4. While the squash roasts, cook the rice. In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups of water and ¼ teaspoon salt to a boil. Add the rice and adjust the heat to a simmer.

  5. Set a lid on top, slightly askew, and cook for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the rice “grains” are tender (some grains may begin to separate or burst). Drain in a sieve or fine-mesh colander.

  6. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the turkey and break it up into tablespoon-sized clumps using a stiff spatula or wooden spoon.

  7. Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring often to further break up the meat until it begins to brown.

  8. Add the shallot, celery, apple, sage, rosemary, cranberries, ½ teaspoon salt, and a pinch of pepper. Cook and stir for another 3 to 4 minutes, or until the vegetables soften.

  9. If the pan seems dry, add up to ¼ cup water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and stir to scrape up any brown bits on the bottom of the skillet until the water evaporates. Stir in the cooked rice. Taste and add more salt and pepper, if desired.

  10. Turn the squash on the baking sheet so the cut side is up. Divide the filling between the halves.

  11. In a small bowl, mix the breadcrumbs with 1 teaspoon of oil. Sprinkle on top of the squash halves.

  12. Bake for 10 minutes, or until hot all the way through and the breadcrumbs are browned.

Nutrition

  • Calories: 621.42kcal
  • Fat: 21.78g
  • Saturated Fat: 4.10g
  • Trans Fat: 0.09g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 12.33g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 3.96g
  • Carbohydrates: 88.43g
  • Fiber: 12.23g
  • Sugar: 13.84g
  • Protein: 27.04g
  • Cholesterol: 58.68mg
  • Sodium: 1269.92mg
  • Calcium: 232.77mg
  • Potassium: 1791.70mg
  • Iron: 5.92mg
  • Vitamin A: 97.80µg
  • Vitamin C: 43.70mg

Expert Technique Tip for Perfect Stuffed Squash

When preparing the acorn squash, make sure to scoop out all the seeds and stringy bits for a smoother texture. However, don't discard these seeds. You can clean and roast them separately for a crunchy snack or garnish. Also, when cooking the wild rice, remember to keep the lid slightly askew. This allows some steam to escape, preventing the rice from boiling over and ensuring it cooks evenly.

Time-Saving Tips for Making Stuffed Squash

Prep ahead: You can prepare the squash and rice in advance and store them in the refrigerator until you're ready to assemble and bake the dish.

Use pre-cooked rice: To save time, you can use pre-cooked wild rice instead of cooking it from scratch.

Multitask: While the squash is roasting, you can simultaneously prepare the filling to maximize efficiency in the kitchen.

Invest in a good knife: A sharp, high-quality knife will make the prep work quicker and more efficient.

Organize your ingredients: Before you start cooking, make sure all your ingredients are prepped and ready to go to streamline the cooking process.

Batch cooking: Consider making a larger batch of the filling and using it for other recipes or meals throughout the week to save time in the long run.

Substitute Ingredients For Stuffed Squash with Turkey and Apples Recipe

  • acorn squash - Substitute with butternut squash: Butternut squash has a similar sweet and nutty flavor, and its texture is comparable to acorn squash when cooked.

  • olive oil - Substitute with avocado oil: Avocado oil has a mild flavor and a high smoke point, making it a suitable alternative for cooking and roasting.

  • wild rice - Substitute with quinoa: Quinoa has a similar nutty flavor and texture to wild rice, and it's a great source of protein and nutrients.

  • ground turkey - Substitute with ground chicken: Ground chicken has a similar lean texture and mild flavor, making it a suitable replacement for ground turkey.

  • shallot - Substitute with red onion: Red onion has a mild and slightly sweet flavor, similar to shallots, and can be used as a substitute in this recipe.

  • celery - Substitute with fennel: Fennel has a similar crunchy texture and a hint of licorice flavor, which can add a unique twist to the dish.

  • apple - Substitute with pear: Pears have a similar sweet and juicy texture to apples, and they can provide a delicious alternative flavor in the stuffed squash recipe.

  • sage leaves - Substitute with thyme: Thyme has a slightly earthy and floral flavor, which can complement the other ingredients in the recipe.

  • rosemary - Substitute with marjoram: Marjoram has a similar aromatic and slightly sweet flavor, which can work well in place of rosemary.

  • dried cranberries - Substitute with dried cherries: Dried cherries have a similar tart and sweet flavor, and they can add a delightful burst of fruitiness to the dish.

  • breadcrumbs - Substitute with panko breadcrumbs: Panko breadcrumbs have a light and crispy texture, which can provide a crunchy coating for the stuffed squash.

Presentation Tips for Stuffed Squash with Turkey and Apples

  1. Elevate the squash halves: Place the stuffed squash halves on a bed of fresh arugula to add a pop of color and freshness to the plate.

  2. Garnish with fresh herbs: Sprinkle a generous amount of freshly chopped parsley and thyme over the stuffed squash for a burst of aromatic flavors and a visually appealing presentation.

  3. Drizzle with balsamic reduction: Create an elegant design on the plate with a drizzle of rich, tangy balsamic reduction to add a touch of sophistication to the dish.

  4. Add a touch of edible flowers: Place a few delicate edible flowers such as nasturtium or pansies around the plate for a stunning and artistic finish.

  5. Serve with a side of cranberry compote: Accompany the stuffed squash with a small quenelle of homemade cranberry compote to provide a sweet and tangy contrast to the savory flavors of the dish.

  6. Sprinkle with toasted pumpkin seeds: Finish the presentation by sprinkling a handful of crunchy, golden-brown toasted pumpkin seeds over the stuffed squash for a delightful texture and nutty flavor.

Essential Kitchen Tools for Making This Recipe

  • Baking sheet: A flat, metal sheet used for baking and roasting foods in the oven.
  • Parchment: A non-stick paper used for lining baking sheets and pans to prevent food from sticking.
  • Saucepan: A deep cooking pan with a handle and a lid, used for boiling, simmering, and making sauces.
  • Sieve or fine-mesh colander: A kitchen tool used for straining liquids, sifting dry ingredients, or draining cooked foods.
  • Skillet: A flat-bottomed pan with sloped sides, used for frying, searing, and sautéing foods.
  • Small bowl: A small-sized bowl used for mixing, holding ingredients, or serving condiments.
  • Wooden spoon: A cooking utensil made of wood, used for stirring, mixing, and serving food.

Storage and Freezing Instructions for Stuffed Squash

  • Let the stuffed squash cool completely before storing or freezing.
  • To store in the refrigerator, place the cooled stuffed squash in an airtight container or wrap tightly with plastic wrap. It will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  • To freeze, wrap each squash half tightly in plastic wrap, then place them in a freezer-safe container or resealable freezer bag. Label the container or bag with the date and contents.
  • Frozen stuffed squash will keep for up to 3 months in the freezer.
  • To reheat from the refrigerator, place the stuffed squash on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350°F (175°C) oven for 15-20 minutes, or until heated through.
  • To reheat from frozen, remove the plastic wrap and place the frozen squash halves on a baking sheet. Cover with foil and bake in a preheated 350°F (175°C) oven for 30-40 minutes, or until heated through. Remove the foil for the last 5-10 minutes of baking to crisp up the breadcrumb topping.
  • Alternatively, you can thaw the frozen stuffed squash overnight in the refrigerator before reheating in the oven as directed above for refrigerated squash.

How To Reheat Leftover Stuffed Squash

  • To reheat leftover stuffed squash with turkey and apples, preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the squash halves on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil for easy cleanup.
  • If the stuffing seems a bit dry, you can drizzle a little chicken broth or water over the top to help moisten it. Cover the squash halves loosely with aluminum foil to prevent the tops from browning too quickly.
  • Bake the covered squash in the preheated oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until heated through. The exact time will depend on the size of your squash and the amount of stuffing.
  • Alternatively, you can reheat the stuffed squash in the microwave. Place one or two halves on a microwave-safe plate and cover with a damp paper towel. Microwave on high for 2-3 minutes, or until heated through. Check the squash every minute to ensure it doesn't overcook or dry out.
  • For a crispy top, after reheating the squash in the oven or microwave, you can remove the foil (if using the oven method) and place the squash under the broiler for a minute or two. Keep a close eye on it to prevent burning.
  • If you have leftover stuffing separate from the squash, you can reheat it in a skillet over medium heat with a little butter or olive oil. Stir occasionally until heated through, then spoon the warm stuffing back into the reheated squash halves.
  • To add a fresh touch to your reheated stuffed squash, consider garnishing with some freshly chopped herbs like parsley, sage, or rosemary, or a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese for extra flavor.

Interesting Trivia About Stuffed Squash with Turkey and Apples

The acorn squash used in this recipe is a good source of vitamins A and C, as well as dietary fiber. It also contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, making it a nutritious addition to your diet.

Budget-Friendly: Is This Recipe Economical?

This stuffed squash with turkey and apples recipe is a cost-effective option for a household. The combination of acorn squash, turkey, apples, and wild rice offers a balance of flavors and nutrients. The ingredients are reasonably priced and readily available, making it an affordable choice for a family meal. The total cost for a household of 4 people is approximately $15-$20. The dish's versatility and nutritional value make it a solid choice for a satisfying and budget-friendly meal. Verdict: 8/10

Is This Stuffed Squash Recipe Healthy?

This stuffed squash with turkey and apples recipe is a relatively healthy dish, offering a balance of protein, complex carbohydrates, and fiber. The use of acorn squash provides a good source of vitamins A and C, while the wild rice adds a nutty flavor and a boost of nutrients. The ground turkey is a lean protein option, and the inclusion of vegetables and fruits like shallot, celery, and apple contributes to the overall nutritional value.

However, there are a few areas where the recipe could be improved to make it even healthier:

  • Consider reducing the amount of oil used in the recipe or opt for a healthier alternative like avocado oil or coconut oil
  • Increase the proportion of vegetables in the stuffing mixture to boost the fiber and nutrient content
  • Use whole wheat breadcrumbs instead of fine dry breadcrumbs for added fiber and nutrients
  • Experiment with adding more herbs and spices to enhance the flavor without relying on excessive salt or oil

To further elevate the nutritional profile of this dish, you could also:

  • Incorporate additional vegetables into the stuffing, such as diced carrots, bell peppers, or mushrooms
  • Use a mixture of wild rice and quinoa for a protein-packed grain combination
  • Top the stuffed squash with a sprinkle of chopped nuts or seeds for added crunch and healthy fats
  • Serve the stuffed squash alongside a fresh green salad or steamed vegetables for a well-rounded meal

The Editor's Take on This Stuffed Squash Recipe

The combination of acorn squash, turkey, and apples in this recipe creates a delightful blend of flavors and textures. The use of fresh herbs and dried cranberries adds a depth of aroma and taste, while the wild rice provides a hearty and wholesome element. The dish is well-balanced and offers a satisfying meal that is both nutritious and delicious. The cooking instructions are clear and easy to follow, making this stuffed squash recipe a great choice for a cozy autumn dinner.

Enhance Your Stuffed Squash with Turkey and Apples Recipe with These Unique Side Dishes:

Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes with a hint of garlic and chives, topped with a dollop of butter.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts: Crispy roasted Brussels sprouts tossed in a balsamic glaze and sprinkled with toasted almonds.
Garlic Green Beans: Tender green beans sautéed with garlic and lemon zest, finished with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

Similar Recipes to Try If You Love Stuffed Squash

Savory Beef and Vegetable Stew: This hearty stew is packed with tender beef, carrots, potatoes, and peas in a rich and flavorful broth.
Honey Glazed Salmon with Roasted Vegetables: Enjoy a delicious and healthy meal with this honey glazed salmon served with a side of colorful and flavorful roasted vegetables.
Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Bake: Start your day off right with this warm and comforting apple cinnamon oatmeal bake, perfect for a cozy breakfast or brunch.
Mango Chicken Lettuce Wraps: These refreshing and light lettuce wraps are filled with juicy mango, tender chicken, and a zesty and flavorful sauce, perfect for a quick and healthy meal.
Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake: Indulge in the flavors of fall with this creamy and decadent pumpkin spice cheesecake, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Appetizer and Dessert Pairings for Stuffed Squash

Appetizers:
Stuffed Mushrooms: Savory mushrooms stuffed with a flavorful mixture of herbs, cheese, and breadcrumbs, then baked to perfection.
Spinach and Artichoke Dip: Creamy and indulgent dip made with spinach, artichokes, and a blend of cheeses, served warm with crispy tortilla chips or bread slices.
Desserts:
Chocolate Mousse: Indulge in a rich and creamy chocolate mousse, topped with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of cocoa powder. This elegant dessert is perfect for a special occasion or a romantic dinner.
Apple Crisp: Savor the warm and comforting flavors of baked apples, cinnamon, and oats in this classic apple crisp. Serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a delightful combination of sweet and crunchy textures.

Why trust this Stuffed Squash with Turkey and Apples Recipe:

This recipe offers a delightful combination of acorn squash, wild rice, and ground turkey, creating a harmonious blend of flavors and textures. The addition of apples and dried cranberries infuses a hint of sweetness, while the aromatic sage and rosemary add depth to the dish. With wholesome ingredients and a thoughtful cooking method, this recipe promises a satisfying and nourishing meal. Trust in the natural goodness of fresh ingredients and the expertise behind this well-crafted recipe.

Want to share your own stuffed squash recipe or discuss tips for making this delicious dish? Join the conversation in the Recipe Sharing forum and let us know your thoughts on this Stuffed Squash with Turkey and Apples recipe!
FAQ:
Can I use a different type of squash for this recipe?
Yes, you can use a different type of squash such as butternut squash or delicata squash if you prefer. Just adjust the cooking time as needed to ensure the squash is tender.
Can I substitute the wild rice with another type of grain?
Absolutely! You can substitute the wild rice with quinoa, brown rice, or even couscous based on your preference. Just be sure to adjust the cooking time and liquid ratio accordingly.
Can I make this recipe vegetarian?
Of course! You can easily make this recipe vegetarian by omitting the ground turkey and adding more vegetables or your favorite meat substitute to the filling. It's a versatile dish that can accommodate various dietary preferences.
Can I prepare the stuffed squash ahead of time?
Yes, you can prepare the stuffed squash ahead of time by assembling the dish and refrigerating it before the final baking step. When you're ready to serve, simply bake it according to the recipe instructions.
Can I freeze the stuffed squash for later?
While the stuffed squash can be frozen, the texture of the squash and filling may change slightly upon thawing. It's best enjoyed fresh, but if you do choose to freeze it, make sure to wrap it tightly and thaw it in the refrigerator before reheating.

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