Harissa Honey Stuffed Acorn Squash

These stuffed acorn squash rings make the perfect autumn side dish, ideal for meal prep or as a show-stopping addition to your meal! They’re glazed with a spicy-sweet sauce made from honey and harissa and filled with a flavor-packed, spiced savory-sweet rice pilaf for a mouthwatering experience.

This version of stuffed acorn squash is unique in a delightful way, and there are several reasons for that. Firstly, I cut the acorn squash into rings, as sometimes half of an acorn squash can be too much and a bit challenging to eat. However, if you prefer the boat-style presentation, feel free to cut the squash in half instead of rings. Another aspect of this recipe that elevates it is the glaze used to flavor the acorn squash. I took the classic hot honey and enhanced it by incorporating a delicious, spicy Tunisian paste called harissa, mixing it with honey to strike the perfect balance between heat and sweetness, coupled with a delightful floral undertone. We also use more of this flavorful harissa honey in the rice pilaf, which brings the whole dish together.

The pilaf is a burst of flavors and textures, ranging from the harissa honey to the za’atar, smoked paprika, nutty pistachios, sweet roasted grapes, and a burst of juicy crunch from the pomegranates. This rice pilaf is so flavorful that it can be enjoyed on its own, making it a great meal prep option or a crowd-pleasing side dish.

Harissa Honey Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe Ingredients

For the Glazed Squash:

  • Acorn Squash: This is the most common squash for this kind of dish, known for its sweet and nutty flavor. However, you can also use delicate squash if preferred.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Always choose the highest quality olive oil.
  • Harissa: This Tunisian paste varies by brand but usually contains a blend of hot smoked chili peppers, garlic, olive oil, and spices like cumin, coriander, caraway, and mint.
  • Honey: You can use your favorite type of honey; I typically prefer orange blossom or wildflower, but any high-quality honey will work.
  • Za’atar: A favorite spice blend of mine, consisting of dried oregano, thyme, and/or marjoram, sumac, and toasted sesame seeds.
  • Smoked Paprika: For a rich, smoky kick to complement the harissa.
  • Sumac: Adds a slightly tart, berry-like flavor.
  • Salt: To enhance all the flavors.

For the Rice Pilaf:

  • Rice: I typically use long-grain white rice, but nearly any rice or grain will work, except arborio.
  • Vegetable Broth: Any type of broth or stock will do, as long as it adds more flavor than plain water.
  • Harissa, Za’atar, Smoked Paprika, Sumac, Salt: Since we’re already using these ingredients for the squash glaze, why not coat the rice in them as well and give it a little toast before adding the broth to enrich the flavors?
  • Honey: Added after the rice has cooked to impart a touch of floral sweetness.
  • Grapes: An optional yet delightful addition that pairs wonderfully with all the flavors, especially when roasted.
  • Pistachios: A signature touch in my dishes for that nutty, toasty crunch. Roasted pistachios are highly recommended, but you can use any nut or seed of your choice.
  • Pomegranate Arils: These provide a sweet, juicy burst of crunch.

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Harissa Honey Stuffed Acorn Squash


Units Scale

Squash Rings

  • 2 acorn squashes, cut into 11/2 inch rings
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons harissa paste
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 teaspoons za’atar
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon sumac
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Rice Pilaf

  • 1 cup rice
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons harissa paste
  • 2 teaspoons za’atar
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon sumac
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 cup roasted grapes
  • 1/4 cup pistachios, chopped
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate arils


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F and line a baking tray with foil 
  2. Next, clean the insides of the acorn rings, discarding the seeds
  3. Then in a wide shallow bowl combine all the ingredients for the glaze of the acorn squash, dipping each side of the ring in the glaze and placing it on the tray to roast until soft and caramelized, about 25-30 minutes making sure to flip the rings halfway through 
  4. While the squash is roasting combine it in a small pot combine the oil harissa paste, spices and salt then place over medium heat
  5. Once it’s simmering add the rice and toss until each grain is coated then toast for 2-3 minutes
  6. Next, add the broth, bring it to a boil then turn the heat down to low and cover it with a lid to simmer until all the liquid is absorbed
  7. Once the rice is ready, add to a bowl to fluff with the honey, grapes, pistachios, and pomegranates.
  8. Fill each of the acorn squash rings with rice to serve and enjoy! 

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