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Plunging fall/winter temperatures make me want to stay inside and bundle up with a warm homemade supper by the fire. It’s comfort food season and soups, strews and pot pies are top of mind. Comfort food can be, well, heavy, and it can be easy to pack on those extra winter pounds if you’re not careful.

I took on the challenge to make a winter “comfort food” that is warm and delicious minus the guilt … Bring on Turkey Meatloaf Stuffed Acorn Squash.

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I don’t ever remember eating meatloaf growing up. I guess my mom didn’t like it. It wasn’t until I was married that Jacobs requested it and I began making them. I’ve still only made a handful of meatloaves but when I was trying to think of something I could stuff a squash with to make it a main dish; turkey meatloaf seemed like the perfect idea.

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Acorn squash makes a perfect vessel for the meatloaf. It keeps the moisture in and makes for great individual servings. It is light and healthy but filling and the squash has an amazing buttery texture.

This is a simple and healthy weeknight meal that feels really special.

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Turkey Meatloaf Stuffed Acorn Squash
2 small acorn squash, halved and seeded
Olive Oil
Kosher Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 large Onion (finely diced)
4 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
1/2 pound Ground Turkey
1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 tablespoon Tomato Puree
1 Egg (beaten)
1/2 cup Panko
1/4 cup Flat Leaf Parsley Leaves (finely chopped)
1/4 cup Freshly Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (plus more)


Preheat oven to 375°F. Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and place on a foil lined baking sheet flesh side up. Score the squash every 1”, then go back and score every 1” the other way, creating 1” crosshatch marks. Drizzle with olive oil then season with salt and pepper. Place in the oven and cook for 30 minutes, until light golden brown and mostly cooked through. Remove from the oven and set aside. Turn the oven down to 350°F.

While the Squash is cooking, prepare the Meatloaf. Preheat a pan over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, add a drizzle of Olive Oil along with the Onion, Thyme and a pinch of Salt. Cook, stirring occasionally until the Onions soften, about 5 minutes. Remove the Thyme Sprigs from the pan, remove the pan from the heat and let cool.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the Turkey, Worcestershire, Tomato Puree, Egg, Panko, Parsley and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Add a good amount of Freshly Ground Black Pepper and Salt. Pour in the cooled Onion Mixture and gently mix everything together until thoroughly combined.

Scoop the Meatloaf mix into the Squash where the seeds were removed. Grate more Parmigiano-Reggiano over the top of the entire Squash. Repeat with the remaining Squash. Place in the oven for 40 minutes, until is golden-brown on top and the Meatloaf and Squash are cooked through. Remove from the oven and let sit for a minute or two before serving.
Recipe adapted from The Chew

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