This fall harvest salad stuffed acorn squash is the perfect flavor combination for a hearty and nourishing fall or winter meal, and it makes for a festive side dish or starter for the holidays!

an acorn squash stuffed with baby springs, dried cranberries, goat cheese, pecans, and pepitas

This post is sponsored by Little Leaf Farms. Thanks for supporting the brands that make TFD possible! As always, opinions are my own!

Can you believe it’s already November and only two weeks until Thanksgiving?! Thanksgiving might look a little different for us this year but hopefully, we can still celebrate with some delicious food around the table.

I’m so excited to share today’s recipe with you. It’s super seasonal and totally festive for the holidays! This dish would look gorgeous as a starter on a holiday table.

Acorn squash makes for the perfect vehicle for a fall salad. Plus, the salad + squash combo is so much more satiating and satisfying than just a salad. I mean, we add squash to our salads, why not add the salad to the squash for a fun twist?!

The acorn squash needs about 50 minutes of roasting time in the oven but in the meantime, you can prepare your salad and dressing and have time leftover to spare!

If you’re looking for a delicious and festive salad, starter or side dish for Thanksgiving, add this one to your holiday menu!

Ingredients You’ll Need

dried cranberries, peptias, pecans, goat cheese, acorn squash, and farro laid out across counter apple cider vinegar, dijon mustard, honey, and olive oil separated in bowls next to shallot

Notes on Ingredients:

Acorn squash: Aim for medium squash for a side dish/starter and the baking time of 50-60 minutes at 375 degrees F should work well. If you have large squash, it just means more room for salad, yay! And would be more satiating for a meal. This means you might have to adjust the baking time to be longer, more like 60-75 minutes.

Little Leaf Farms Baby Spring Mix: This is my FAVORITE lettuce. It’s the crispiest, freshest tasting lettuce I’ve ever had. And it’s local to Massachusetts, where I live! You can find Little Leaf Farms in all New England states (MA, ME, NH, CT, RI, VT) and in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania! You can use the store locator on their website to find a store that carries Little Leaf Farms near you!

Farro: I usually buy quick-cooking farro that’s ready in about 10 minutes after water comes to a boil to save some time! Quick cooking farro usually means it’s pearled or semi-pearled, which means its had some or all of the bran removed, which strips some of the nutrients and fiber. If you want all the nutrition of farro, look for a whole farro variety, which will usually take about 40 minutes to cook.

Pecans: I use raw pecan halves and chop them myself but you could buy chopped pecans to save time and then I toasted them on the stovetop.

How to Make Stuffed Acorn Squash

Roasting acorn squash is so easy! All you need is a baking sheet, a little olive oil, salt and pepper. You’ll bake for about 50-60 minutes for medium-sized squash.

While the squash is roasting, you’ll prepare your salad and its dressing. The dressing only calls for a handful of ingredients and you can make it quickly in a mason jar by giving all the ingredients a good shake!

The salad is simple too. With crispy fresh greens as the base, you’ll add all the toppings: farro, cranberries, pecans, pepitas and goat cheese. You’ll add your dressing to taste and then toss to coat.

Let the squash cool slightly when it comes out of the oven before stuffing the squash with your salad. And voila! Dinner is served!

collage showing acorn squash seeds being removed and placed on baking sheet with bowl of spring mix ingredients

This recipe is bursting with flavor and textures! The hearty squash pairs nicely with the fresh, crisp lettuce. The nutty farro pairs perfectly with tart and sweet cranberries and rich and creamy goat cheese. The toasted pecans and pepitas offer a nice satisfying crunch and extra nutty flavor. It’s all of the best tastes of fall!

two servings of acorn squash stuffed with baby springs, dried cranberries, goat cheese, pecans, and pepitas

Acorn Squash FAQs

What’s the nutrition for this recipe?

Acorn squash is packed with nutrients like vitamins A and C, vitamin B6, magnesium and fiber. The salad is also packed with fiber, nourishing fats and protein.

How do you toast the pecans?

You can either toast the pecans in the oven or on the stovetop. For the oven, preheat to 350 degrees and toast pecans until fragrant, about 8-10 minutes. For the stovetop, heat pecans in a pan over medium heat until fragrant, about 4-5 minutes.

Can I use a different grain if I don’t have farro?

Yes! I like farro because it’s got a chewy, satisfying texture and nutty flavor, but you can use whatever grain you’d like! Other options include quinoa, brown rice, and barley.

Why Little Leaf Farms lettuce?

This is seriously my favorite lettuce. They make the crispest, freshest tasting greens I’ve ever had. Plus, I appreciate that they grow their greens hydroponically in a greenhouse in Massachusetts. This means that their entire growing process is completely sustainable. They use 100% captured rainwater to water their greens and they have solar panels in the ceiling of the greenhouse to provide sunlight. I had the pleasure of touring their greenhouse over the summer and it’s truly incredible – you can watch the virtual tour on my Instagram.

Is this recipe gluten-free?

Farro contains wheat so it’s not gluten-free as written but if you swap out the farro for a different grain like quinoa or brown rice, you can easily make it gluten-free!

Can I make this vegan?

For a vegan version, simply omit the goat cheese! If you want a source of fat and creamy texture, you could add a vegan crumbly cheese or avocado would be delish too!

Does baking time vary for the squash?

Yes, depending on the size of the squash it will vary. I found for medium squash 50-60 minutes at 375 degrees F works well but for large squash, you might want to increase the temperature to 400 degrees F or extend time to 60-75 minutes. The key is waiting until the squash is fork tender and edges have started to caramelize. 

an acorn squash stuffed with baby springs, dried cranberries, goat cheese, pecans, and pepitas

For more Thanksgiving recipe inspiration, check out my recipes below!

If you like this recipe, please be sure to give it a 5 star rating below. If you make it, share it on instagram and tag me @karalydonrd and I’ll re-share it with my followers! If you want to save this recipe for later, be sure to pin it on Pinterest!

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Fall Harvest Salad Stuffed Acorn Squash


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Description

This fall harvest salad stuffed acorn squash is the perfect flavor combination for a hearty and nourishing fall or winter meal, and it makes for a festive side dish or starter for the holidays!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 3 acorn squash, halved and seeds removed
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, plus more for brushing squash
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 container Little Leaf Farms Baby Spring Mix (4 ounces)
  • 1 cup cooked farro
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup toasted pecans
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Place acorn squash halves cut side up on a rimmed baking sheet or roasting pan. Brush with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Bake squash until tender and caramelized around the edges, about 50-60 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare the dressing. In a small bowl or mason jar, whisk together shallot, vinegar, dijon mustard and honey until combined. Slowly add olive oil while whisking until emulsified, or shake all ingredients in the mason jar until combined. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, add Little Leaf Farms Baby Spring Mix, farro, cranberries, pecans, pumpkin seeds, and goat cheese and toss to combine.
  6. Toss salad with desired amount of dressing and toss to coat.
  7. Generously fill acorn squash bowls with dressed salad.

Notes

  1. To toast pecans, bake in the oven at 350 degrees F until fragrant, about 7-10 minutes OR place nuts in a pan on the stovetop over medium heat and cook until fragrant, about 4-5 minutes.
  2. If you don’t want to dress the salad all at once, you could drizzle the dressing over top of each stuffed acorn squash before serving.
  3. To make vegan, omit goat cheese and substitute with vegan cheese alternative or avocado.
  4. To make gluten-free, swap farro with a gluten-free grain like quinoa or brown rice.
  5. If using large squash, you may need to increase the baking time to 60-75 minutes, or increase the temperature to 400 degrees F.
  • Category: Salad
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Holiday

Keywords: salad stuffed acorn squash, fall acorn squash recipe, fall harvest salad with squash, holiday stuffed acorn squash

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