Ground Beef Stuffed Acorn Squash is a Southwestern-style recipe that features black beans, corn, mild green chiles, and green onions. Ground beef is super flavorful thanks to all spices (chili powder, cumin, garlic, smoked paprika). The acorn squash is roasted in the oven, stuffed, and then topped with melty cheddar and pepper jack cheese. This family-favorite dinner is high in protein and gluten-free!
If you enjoy Southwestern-style recipes, you will be impressed with this delicious ground beef stuffed acorn squash! Tex-Mex flavored beef together with black beans, corn, chiles, green onions, and pepper jack cheese makes such a great flavor combo with Fall/Winter squash! The presentation is so beautiful - it's like Autumn on the plate: colorful, vibrant, and festive! If you want more stuffed squash weeknight dinner inspiration, don't miss this tasty sausage stuffed acorn squash and really popular stuffed butternut squash with bacon and spinach.
Ground beef stuffed acorn squash - Autumn comfort food
This is an incredibly easy recipe that will for sure be a crowd-pleaser! The stuffing is filling and cheesy and pairs well with the sweet flavor of the acorn squash. This gluten-free recipe is a perfect addition to the holiday menu and is also great for an easy weeknight meal.
- The acorn squash is first roasted in the oven for about 30 minutes.
- In the meantime, you will prepare the delicious filling made with ground beef, Southwestern spices, black beans, corn, mild green chiles, and green onions!
- After the acorn squash is done roasting, stuff it with the Southwestern-style ground beef filling, top it with shredded pepper jack and cheddar cheese and reheat it in the oven (or under the broiler) briefly. That's it!
- It's a simple recipe that a whole family will love! Easy enough to make it on a busy weeknight, yet the presentation is so appealing that you can serve it when you have company over. You can serve it as a side dish or as a meal in itself!
Ground beef stuffed acorn squash is a great side dish to make for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and even New Year's Eve! It will surely please almost every taste because this dish blends both savory and sweet flavors in a perfect combination!
- Acorn squash is the star of the show! It's a winter squash with a beautiful yellow-orange color that has a sweet and nutty flavor. Fun fact: Did you know that botanically speaking, acorn squash is considered a fruit (not a vegetable)?!
- Ground beef. Use the leanest kind as you will be draining all excess fat and liquid anyway after cooking.
- Black beans. I used low-sodium black beans that I rinsed and drained really well.
- Corn. I used canned sweet corn kernels that I drained really well.
- Canned green chiles. I used the mild variety. If you like your food spicier, use medium or hot.
- Green onions. Chopped green onions are milder than regular onions, and work great as garnish!
- Pepper jack cheese and cheddar cheese. It's always best to shred or grate the cheese yourself!
How to make ground beef stuffed acorn squash
1) Prepare the acorn squash. You will need 2 medium-sized squashes. First, carefully slice each acorn squash in half. Drizzle the cut sides and the insides of the squash with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
2) Roast the squash cut sides down in the preheated oven at 400 F for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and turn the squash cut sides up.
3) Make the filling. While the acorn squash is in the oven, cook the ground beef in a large skillet until cooked through. Drain any fat or liquids. Add spices, black beans, corn, green chiles, and green onions. Season the mixture.
4) Stuff the squash. Divide the ground beef mixture among the 4 roasted acorn squash halves until the mixture is leveled.
5) Top with shredded pepper jack and cheddar cheese and bake. Return to the oven and roast for about 15 or 20 minutes at 400 F until the cheese melts.
- To use cooking time efficiently, make the ground beef filling while you roast the acorn squash in the oven.
- Broil the stuffed acorn squash briefly (for about 5 minutes) in the oven until the cheese mixture turns golden here and there. Watch the squash carefully - it can burn easily.
Substitutions and variations
- Winter squash. This is a great recipe to use all kinds of winter squash. Use this Southwestern-style ground beef stuffing to stuff butternut squash or spaghetti squash.
- Ground beef can be replaced with ground turkey or ground chicken. Or, use a plant-based alternative to make this recipe meatless.
- Cheese. This recipe uses Pepper Jack and Cheddar cheeses that go really well with Southwestern flavors. However, you can use a variety of other cheeses instead. You can use shredded Mozzarella (part-skim, low-moisture), Gruyere cheese, Asiago, Provolone, or Fontina cheese.
- Beans. I used canned black beans that I rinsed and drained really well. You can also use canned garbanzo beans, cannellini beans, or pinto beans.
Storage and reheating tips
- Fridge. Refrigerate the leftover ground beef stuffed acorn squash in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
- Reheat in the oven. Reheat it in the preheated oven at 350 F for about 30 minutes.
- Reheat in the microwave oven. You can also microwave the leftovers. For the best and fastest results, you can take the ground beef filling out of the squash and reheat this mixture and the squash separately. Then stuff this mixture back into the acorn squash.
Can you make it ahead?
Of course! Follow these tips:
- You can assemble the whole dish (including the cheese on top) in an oven-safe large pan, cover it with the lid (or foil), refrigerate it, and bake it within 3 days. Because all the ingredients are already cooked, this dish is perfect for meal prep!
- Another option is to roast the acorn squash up to 3 days in advance and then proceed with the rest of the recipe when you're ready.
What to serve with it
Simple, colorful, vibrant, and delicious Fall-themed salads are a perfect combination with stuffed acorn squash. Here are my favorites:
- Arugula Salad with Apples, Cranberries, Pecans, and Balsamic Dressing
- Cranberry Spinach Salad with Cashews and Goat Cheese and Lemon-Honey Poppy Seed Dressing
- Autumn Salad with Arugula, roasted Butternut Squash, dried Figs, toasted sliced Almonds, and Pomegranate Seeds.
- Simple Spinach Salad with Pine Nuts, Parmesan Cheese
- Arugula Salad with Pears, Apples, and Cashews
Other stuffed acorn squash recipes you might like
- Stuffed Acorn Squash with Sausage, Spinach, Pecans, and Cranberries
- Acorn Squash Stuffed with Apples
- Creamy Spinach and Parmesan Stuffed Acorn Squash
Ground Beef Stuffed Acorn Squash (Southwestern-style)
- 2 acorn squash medium
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- black pepper freshly ground
Ground beef filling
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 16 oz ground beef
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt or more
- 15 oz black beans canned, rinsed and drained
- 15 oz corn kernels canned, drained
- 4 oz mild green chiles canned, diced
- 6 green onions chopped
- ¼ cup pepper jack cheese shredded
- ¼ cup cheddar cheese shredded
Roast acorn squash
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Prepare the acorn squash. Cut off the top and the bottom of each acorn squash to create a flat base. Keep fingers away from the knife to avoid injury. And, make sure not to cut too deep into the base of the squash. Slice each squash in half. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and fleshy strands tangled with the seeds.
- Place acorn squash cut sides up on a baking sheet. Drizzle the cut sides of acorn squashes with olive oil and rub the oil into the squash. Season generously with salt and pepper. Turn the squash over, and place it cut sides down on a baking sheet.
- Roast in the preheated oven at 400 F for 30 minutes on the middle rack.
Make Southwestern ground beef filling
- While you roast the acorn squash, make the Southwestern ground beef filling.
- In a large, high-sided skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium heat. Add ground beef and cook until completely cooked through. Drain any fat and liquid.
- Add all the spices to the drained and cooked ground beef and mix to combine - chili powder, cumin, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and salt.
- Add drained and rinsed black beans, corn, diced mild green chiles, and half of the chopped green onions to the same skillet and mix very well to combine over medium heat.
- Taste and season with more spices and more salt, if needed.
How to stuff acorn squash
- By this time, you have roasted the acorn squash for 30 minutes. Remove it from the oven and turn the cooked squash halves cut sides up.
- Divide the ground beef filling among the 4 halves and stuff the squash until the mixture is leveled or a bit higher.
- Top the ground beef stuffed acorn squash with shredded pepper jack and cheddar cheese.
- Roast the stuffed acorn squash in the preheated oven at 400 F for 15 more minutes on a medium rack until the cheese mixture melts.
- When serving, top with the remaining half of the green onions.
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed. It should not be used as a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.