Pimento olives. Jalapeño poppers. Turduckens. The hall of fame for foods stuffed with other foods is a pretty illustrious one. But if there’s one full-loaded dish that deserves its own display in this hypothetical gastronomic shrine, it’s stuffed squash. Whether they’re loaded with wholesome grains or dripping with cheese, a side dish at your fall feast or the main event, butternuts, kabochas, and their other gourd siblings are pros at nestling all sorts of cozy fillings inside their cores.
The world may not be ready for a real Stuffed Squash: The Exhibition! just yet, but maybe this list can be its virtual counterpart. Here are nine recipes to keep you stuffing and squashing all season long.
1. Roasted Acorn Squash with Wild Rice Stuffing
It’s a little bit sweet and a little bit savory: these acorn squash halves are dusted with brown sugar before being filled with a mix of wild rice, pecans, and cranberries. Get our Roasted Acorn Squash with Wild Rice Stuffing recipe.
2. Acorn Squash with Kale and Sausage
These turkey sausage and kale-stuffed halves are a complete meal-in-one, right down to their edible acorn squash holding vessel. Get the recipe here.
3. Quinoa-Stuffed Kabocha Squash
A scoopful of quinoa can turn a plain lunch into a power lunch (nutritionally speaking). Add kabocha squash, pomegranate, and rosemary and you’ve got a real mealtime coup. Get the recipe here.
4. Stuffed Pattypan and Gem Squash
The laws of proportion decree that the more miniature-sized the food, the more cuter it is than its regular-sized counterpart. It follows that itsy bitsy stuffed pattypan and gem squashes are extra adorable on the plate. Get the recipe here.
5. Brussels Sprouts and Swiss Chard Stuffed Butternut Squash
Butternut squash’s stuffing capacity is limited to the wee hole at its base, which means that you’ve really got to cram everything in. In this recipe, assertive ingredients like Brussels sprouts and almonds ensure that not an inch of space goes to waste. Get the recipe here.
6. Chipotle Black Bean Stuffed Delicata Squash
Delicatas’ long and tall shape makes them ideal for stuffing—halve them lengthwise and you’ve got two boats ready for veggies, grains, and whatever other fillings you bring their way. Here, they’re given an extra spicy kick with scoops of chipotle-seasoned black beans and rice. Get the recipe here.
7. Chili Cheese Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
No bowls? No problem! Squashes might just be far superior vessels for holding all of chili’s chunky deliciousness: not only are they edible and tasty, they might even leave you with a few less dishes to clean at the end of the day. Get the recipe here.
8. Turkey Bolognese Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
After filling these squashes with a hearty bolognese and an ample layer of cheese, “what happens next,” as Julia of The Roasted Root puts it, “is between you and your love boat.” Get the recipe here.
9. Carnival Squash Stuffed with Quinoa, Corn, and French Lentils
Carnival squashes have a sweet and buttery flavor that can readily back up the earthiness of some tender, simmered lentils. Add in kale and the bright flavors of bell pepper, corn, and feta cheese and you’ve got an incredibly savory and complex dish that’s also meat-free. Get the recipe here.
Header image: Roasted Acorn Squash with Wild Rice Stuffing from Chowhound
Miki Kawasaki is a New York City–based food writer and graduate of Boston University's program in Gastronomy. Few things excite her more than a well-crafted sandwich or expertly spiced curry. If you ever run into her at a dinner party, make sure to hit her up for a few pieces of oddball culinary trivia.