Needing a vegetarian dish for Thanksgiving? I’ve got you covered with this walnut cranberry stuffed acorn squash drizzled in creamy, dreamy maple tahini dressing! You can even, very easily, make this dish vegan – just swap out the regular butter for vegan butter.
Plus, this is an easy dish to make ahead of time and then pop in the oven for 20 minutes – the exact amount of time you should let your turkey rest for. Then all your Thanksgiving dishes come together in perfect unison and you look like the badA master chef that you are. And if you use a rice maker, your life gets even easier. I will never stop talking about rice makers. They are life changing.
This walnut cranberry stuffed acorn squash is so yummy you might even see some non-vegetarians reaching for it! It’s another recipe that calls for lots of butter, but butter is what makes the holidays delicious. Butter is my happy place. All my favorite foods have butter…maybe butter is my favorite food?!
Even if you’re not needing a vegetarian main dish, this walnut cranberry stuffed acorn squash makes a great side. The flavors come together so nicely, its a great way to highlight the warm, cozy, earthiness of fall 🍂
I especially love the hint of orange and rosemary in this dish. It pairs perfectly with the walnuts and cranberries and is bright and fresh in a sweet and unexpected way. Plus, the dressing just sends this dish over the top – the tahini is savory and nutty while the maple syrup brings just enough sweetness to mellow out the cranberries. Acorn squash heaven 🙌
This is another pretty straightforward recipe, so I’ll just share a few recipe notes with you:
- Save the seeds from the squash, rinse them off in a mesh sieve and then spread them out on some paper towels to dry/drain. While the squash is in its last 20 minutes of cooking you can toast the seeds and then sprinkle them lightly with salt. You can also toast them ahead of time and store in a sealed container for 2 to 3 days if you are making the squash ahead of time. Sprinkle them on the finished squash for a really pretty/fancy effect!
- Don’t leave off the maple tahini dressing – this dish really needs just a little extra bit of flavor and deliciousness.
Walnut Cranberry Stuffed Acorn Squash
Stuffed Acorn Squash
- 2 acorn squash
- EVOO cooking spray
- 1/2 c butter
- 1/2 t brown sugar
- 1 orange juiced
- 1 T rosemary minced
- 1 c walnuts roughly chopped
- 1 1/2 c cooked brown rice
- 1 c cranberries roughly chopped
- 1 t orange zest
Maple Tahini Dressing
- 1/4 c tahini
- 1/2 lemon juiced
- 1 T maple syrup
- 1/2 t garlic powder
- salt and pepper to taste
To Make the Stuffed Squash
- Preheat oven to 350. Lightly spray a 9×13 pan and set aside.
- Split the acorn squash in half and scoop out the seeds – set the seeds aside. Lightly spray the cut side of each acorn half with EVOO cooking spray. Place cut side down in the pan and bake for 40 minutes.Rinse the seeds in a mesh seive to remove squash from them. Spread them out on a paper towel to drain/dry.
- While the squash are cooking, in a medium saucepan over medium heat combine the butter, orange juice, and sugar. Cook until butter melts and sugar dissolves – about 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add in minced rosemary and chopped walnuts and cook for 8 minutes more, stirring constantly. Remove from heat.
- In a large bowl combine the butter mixture, rice, cranberries, and orange zest. You can add in salt and pepper however I found that with the tahini dressing it was not needed.
- Once the squash has finished cooking, fill each cavity with the rice stuffing and return to the 9×13 pan (stuffing side up, obviously) and bake for another 20 minutes.
- While the squash is baking – lightly toast the acorn seeds by cooking them in a small skillet that has been sprayed with a little cooking spray over medium heat. Cook for about 8 to 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and sprinkle lightly with salt.
- Once acorn squash is done baking, drizzle with tahini dressing and top with toasted seeds. Enjoy!
To Make the Dressing
- In a bowl or jar combine the tahini, lemon juice, maple syrup, garlic powder, and salt and pepper. Shake or stir until combined. Add in water to desired level of creaminess (I usually add about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of water).
- NOTE: You can make this squash up to 3 days in advance. Cook squash for the first 40 minutes per recipe, prepare stuffing, dressing, and toasted seeds. Fill squash with stuffing, cool completely, and cover and store in the fridge. Remove from fridge and let it sit at room temp for about 15 minutes before baking for the final 20 minutes and serving.NOTE: To make this recipe vegan simply sub in vegan butter.
But seriously – is there any ingredient in the world that is better than butter? No. No there is not.
Share below! Do you usually make a vegetarian main dish, a meat main dish, or both for Thanksgiving?
If you make this walnut cranberry stuffed acorn squash…
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