Stuffed Acorn Squash (Paleo)

Are you on the squash train this time of year? I so am! I have been loving all forms of squash lately and am currently trying to get as much of it into my diet as I can handle before it goes out of season again!

This recipe was inspired by traditional stuffing found in a Thanksgiving turkey, you know, the one with old bread crumbs, celery, sausage and other goodies? This is an UPGRADED version of that! No bread crumbs (or bread products!) to be found and I swapped out the sausage for ground beef for this to transition easily to main course dish.

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While these little guys might look labor intensive, they are super simple to make! Especially if you roast the squash ahead of time. You could also serve these as a side dish if you wanted or use ground pork sausage instead of ground beef. The choice is up to you!

Stuffed Acorn Squash

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(PALEO, GLUTEN-FREE, DAIRY-FREE, NUT-FREE OPTION)
SERVES 2-4
PREP TIME: 10 MINUTES            COOK TIME: 45 MINUTES

Ingredients:

2 acorn squash

2 slices bacon, chopped into pieces

1 lb. ground beef (or ground pork sausage)

½ of a sweet onion, diced

2 stalks celery, diced

1 apple, cored and diced (I love using a Honeycrisp or Granny Smith variety)

1 tsp. sea salt

1 tsp. dried thyme

1 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed

½ tsp. dried sage

½ tsp. cinnamon

¼ tsp. nutmeg

¼ c. pecan pieces, or chopped whole pecans (can also use walnuts)

¼ c. dried cranberries

Method:

  1. Turn on oven to 400 degrees. Cut the acorn squash in half vertically and place halves face down on a baking sheet (leave seeds in for now). Roast for ~40 minutes or until very soft.
  2. While the squash is cooking, heat up a skillet on medium-low heat for the bacon. Once hot, add the bacon pieces and cook 4-5 minutes or until crispy and golden brown. Remove the bacon and set aside.
  3. Drain off some of the bacon grease (or use it all!) to cook the ground beef and onions in. Add ground beef and onions and let cook ~5 minutes and break up in to crumbles.
  4. Add in the celery and apples and combines.
  5. Add spices and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until meat is cooked through and browned and apples are softened.
  6. Remove ground beef mixture from heat and set aside until the squash is done cooking.
  7. Once the squash is done, easily remove the seeds with a fork. Save for later use if you would like.
  8. Spoon the ground beef mixture into the squash bowls and top with bacon, pecans and dried cranberries! Dig in!

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