- Food: Stuffed Acorn Squash
- Writer: Nicolas Wilson
- Content-Type: Food Blog
Isn’t this stuffed acorn squash lovely? This recipe makes me very happy, and I’m looking forward to sharing it with you.
A great Christmas main meal is roasted acorn squash halves served with herbed quinoa. If you’re serving vegetarians or gluten-free people, this is the best option.
This recipe is also simple enough to prepare on a lazy weeknight. Let’s prepare some stuffed squash! Pour yourself a glass of wine and get started!
There are a few stages to this dish, but none of them are difficult. While the squash is baking, prepare the quinoa combination. After that, pack the squash and bake until the quinoa is brown and crispy on top.
In this dish, the filling is the star. It has cranberry-studded quinoa as well as two types of cheese, one creamy and the other melty.
The fresh flavor of chopped parsley and green onion is tempting, while toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds) add a delicious crunch.
Stuffed Acorn Squash: A Step-by-Step Guide
I handle my acorn squash the same way I treat spaghetti squash: lightly rubbed with olive oil and cooked cut-side down to caramelize the edges. Acorn squash cooks even faster, taking only 35 minutes to bake.
Then, using a modified version of my stuffed sweet potatoes from Love Real Food, I stuffed the squash (page 144). To give the dried cranberries a chance to plump up, I mixed them into the boiling quinoa this time.
I also stuffed the squash with some Parmesan for structure and taste and cooked it again after stuffing it.
The herbed quinoa mixture gets brown in the oven and produces a crisp, almost panko-like texture on top, which I love. It’s delicious and pairs well with the soft squash underneath.
Chickpeas are an optional ingredient.
I left the chickpeas out of the original stuffing recipe on purpose. You should have exactly enough filling to stuff four medium squash halves if you follow the recipe exactly as indicated.
If you’re using a particularly large acorn squash or want to boost the protein value of this dish, add one can of washed and drained chickpeas to the quinoa mixture as directed in the recipe instructions.
This recipe may easily be made dairy-free or vegan; see the recipe notes for ideas!
Suggestions for serving
This stuffed squash would go perfectly with my favorite green salad. It includes fresh apple, which goes well with acorn squash, as well as toasted pepitas, dried cranberries, and goat cheese, among other things.
You’ll use up one normal four-ounce package of goat cheese if you cook both recipes at the same time.
Stuffed Acorn Squash
|15-minute prep time
Time to prepare: 45 minutes
1-hour total time
This recipe for stuffed acorn squash with vegetables is both gorgeous and delicious! In the oven, the cheesy quinoa stuffing produces an appealing crispy top. It’s perfect for a festive feast or a casual weeknight at home. This recipe makes four stuffed squash halves.
- 2 medium acorn squash
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt, divided
- ½ cup quinoa, rinsed
- 1 cup water
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ cup raw pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)
- ¼ cup chopped green onion
- ¼ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus 1 tablespoon for garnish
- 1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ cup crumbled goat cheese or feta
- Preheat the oven to 400°F and prepare a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper to make cleanup easier.
- To prepare the squash, slice it lengthwise from the tip to the stem with a sharp chef’s knife. I find it simplest to pierce the squash along a depression line in the center, then cut through the tip, and finish by slicing through the top piece immediately adjacent to the stem. Scoop out the seeds and stringy parts inside with a big spoon and toss them out.
- Place the cut-side-up squash halves on the parchment-lined pan. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over the squash, then season with 14 tsp salt. Turn the squash over so the cut sides are against the pan and rub the oil into the cut sides. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the squash flesh is readily penetrated with a fork. Turn on the oven.
- Cook the quinoa in the meantime: Combine the rinsed quinoa and water in a medium saucepan. Over medium-high heat, bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat as needed to maintain a gentle simmer. Simmer, uncovered, for 12 to 18 minutes, or until all of the water has been absorbed. Stir and add the cranberries after removing the pot from the heat. Cover and set aside for 5 minutes to allow the mixture to steam. Cover the quinoa and fluff it with a fork.
- Toast the pepitas in a medium skillet over medium heat, tossing constantly, until golden on the edges and producing little popping noises, about 4 to 5 minutes. Remove from the equation.
- Fill a medium mixing bowl halfway with the fluffed quinoa mixture. Toss in the toasted pepitas, green onion, parsley, garlic, lemon juice, the remaining 14 teaspoon salt, and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Stir until all of the ingredients are dispersed evenly. Taste and season with more salt if necessary.
- Allow for some cooling time if the sauce is too hot before adding the Parmesan and goat cheese. To blend the ingredients, gently swirl them together.
- Turn the cooked squash halves over to expose the sliced sides. With a large spoon, divide the mixture evenly between the squash halves. Return the squash to the oven for 15 to 18 minutes, or until the cheesy quinoa is golden brown on top.
- Serve the stuffed squash warm, garnished with the remaining 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley.
ADD MORE PROTEIN: Toss 1 can rinse and drain chickpeas (or 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas) into the quinoa mixture to boost the protein content. Some of the combinations may be left over; it makes a delicious quinoa salad on its own.
TO MAKE IT DAIRY-FREE/VEGAN: Remove both types of cheese from the recipe. To make the stuffing mixture more filling, add chickpeas (see above). Finish with a dollop of vegan sour cream and a sprinkle of vegan Parmesan cheese on top of the cooked squash.