Autumn acorn squash bake

By Todd Marsee, MISG graphic designer and photographer

If there is an official autumn Michigan dish, this is it! 

This vegan- and vegetarian-friendly dish features several edible Michigan species, including cherries and wild rice. We had hoped to use acorn squash from our garden, but our neighborhood critters got to them first. That said, our small backyard squashes didn’t look like they were going to be large enough for a meal, but they were a perfect size for the squirrel! 

Regarding the filling, I was able to use traditionally harvested manoomin (wild rice) from the 2019 wild rice camp I described in a previous post. My family’s recent trip to the Frankfort area provided us with some dried cherries from the region, as well as apples for this dish.

Autumn acorn squash bake

Serves 4


2 large acorn squash

1/4 pound manoomin (wild rice)

1/2 cup Michigan dried cherries, chopped

1 apple, chopped

1/2 cup pecans (or walnuts), chopped

1 Tablespoon maple syrup 

Cinnamon to taste

Butter to taste

Chives or green onions, chopped (optional garnish)


  1. Cut two cleaned acorn squash in half, remove seeds. Place squash, cut side down, in a shallow baking dish. Pour 1/4-inch water into the dish, and poke some holes in the skin. Bake 400 for 45-50 min, until squash is soft.
  2. While squash is baking, prepare the manoomin (wild rice). Bring to boil, then turn to low. Cover and cook for about 10 minutes or until soft. Remove from heat and drain excess water if needed.
  3. Add chopped cherries, apple, and pecans to cooked wild rice. Stir in maple syrup.
  4. When squash is removed from the oven, flip squash over and add a dollop of butter, to taste, to inside of squash. Then spoon rice mixture into each acorn squash and sprinkle with cinnamon to taste.
  5. To add an optional savory kick, garnish with chopped chives or green onions.

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