Turkey and Cheddar Stuffed Acorn Squash
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 acorn squash, halved and seeded
- salt and pepper
- 1 large shallot, minced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary, divided
- 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- 1 ½ cups panko breadcrumbs, divided
- 1 ½ cups shredded white Cheddar cheese
- ⅓ cup dried Montmorency cherries, chopped
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Brush 1 tablespoon olive oil onto the squash flesh and season generously with salt and pepper.
- Place squash cut-side-down on a baking sheet and roast until flesh is tender, about 40 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat remaining olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-heat. Cook shallot and garlic until soft, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Stir oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, red pepper flakes, fennel seed, and salt and pepper to taste into the shallot mixture. Cook until fragrant and toasted, 30 to 45 seconds.
- Add turkey and 1 tablespoon rosemary to the skillet and use a wooden spoon to break it into small pieces while it cooks. Cook until no longer pink, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in vinegar and remove from heat. Allow to cool slightly.
- Wipe out skillet and melt butter over medium heat. When it turns lightly brown, 2 to 3 minutes, add ½ cup panko, remaining rosemary, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring frequently, until panko is deep golden brown, 7 to 10 minutes.
- Carefully scoop 2 to 3 tablespoons flesh from each squash half, leaving the skin intact and sturdy. Add squash flesh to the turkey mixture.
- Add 1 cup panko, cheese, and cherries to the turkey mixture and stir to combine thoroughly.
- Divide turkey mixture between the squash halves.
- Wipe out skillet and melt butter over medium heat. When it turns lightly brown, 2 to 3 minutes, add panko, remaining rosemary, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring frequently, until panko is deep golden brown, 7 to 10 minutes.
- Divide breadcrumbs over 4 squash halves and bake until heated through, about 10 minutes.
- Remove squash from oven and transfer to a serving plate. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.
Substitute ground chicken or pork for a different lean protein option.
What others are saying
Kara Brooks says:
This is going to be a fall staple!
Greg Jones says:
Really good weeknight meal! I love the breadcrumbs, gives it a nice crunchy topping. I love it as much as I enjoy the zucchini or stuffed squash boats.
Marlea Kent says:
This recipe is soo yummy!! Seriously the best fall recipe I've ever made. I've never made anything with acorn squash and now like it much more than spaghetti squash! Great texture and the spice mixture is amazing. 😍
Jessica Scott says:
This was my first time cooking acorn squash! I usually make spaghetti squash with ground turkey, so this was a nice switch. The cheese mixed in with the panko was delicious! I'm usually a picky eater so I was hesitant about the cherries at first, but they were a nice addition. I bet this dish is also good with dried apricots. I'm so glad to have found a new weeknight meal!
Caro Hodgin says: