Today I’m excited to share my quinoa stuffed acorn squash recipe. If you’re looking for a healthy, hearty fall meal…THIS IS IT! The stuffing is made out of quinoa, honey crisp apples, kale, celery, onion, dried cranberries and walnuts. Sprinkle crumbled goat cheese on top to create the perfect bite of creamy, crunchy and sweet. This is a great meal to make over the weekend and have for lunches during the week. It reheats nicely and it will keep you full until dinner. Additionally, the quinoa stuffing is great on its own as well if you’re not a fan of acorn squash. This recipe would make a great dish for Thanksgiving, especially for vegetarian or vegan family members/friends (don't add the cheese to make it vegan). If you're looking for other vegan dishes for Thanksgiving check out my pumpkin soup recipe.
When I was first testing this recipe, we had acorn squash for days. I love cooking and eating, but it can be hard when I’m testing recipes that make 4-6 servings and there are only two of us in this apartment! Thankfully my boyfriend eats a lot, so we don’t typically let food go to waste. In fact, Kyle claimed that this quinoa stuffed acorn squash gave him superpowers! He ate quinoa stuffed acorn squash for lunch one day and said he felt like he had more energy when he went running that evening. As much as I would love to say I can cook up superpowers, I think these “superpowers” came from the superfood quinoa and the nutrient rich acorn squash. Both of these foods are packed full of protein, fiber and essential vitamins and minerals that help properly fuel our bodies.
I know cooking with a whole squash can be intimidating, but it’s really not difficult, I promise. For this recipe, I love cutting the squash in half widthwise, so it creates a flower-like bowl. First, slice off the ends so it can easily stand on either end when it is baking. Next, carefully cut the squash in half. Using a spoon, scrape out the seeds and “guts” like you’re carving a pumpkin. Drizzle the inside of each half with olive oil, salt and black pepper. Use your hands to rub it all in and make sure the squash is evenly coated. Flip them on to a baking sheet cut side down, and just like that your squash is ready to go in the oven. You’ll know the squash is done baking when it can be easily pierced with a fork. And that’s all there is to it, no problem.
Let me know in the comments how it goes! Happy cooking!Print
Quinoa stuffed acorn squash is a deliciously satisfying meal with all the Fall flavors.
- 3 acorn squash, halved, stems and seeds removed
- 4 cups kale, chopped (about 6 leaves)
- 1 leek (white part sliced)
- 1 honeycrisp apple, chopped (about 2 cups)
- 2 celery stalks, sliced
- ½ yellow onion, diced
- 1 cup quinoa, uncooked and rinsed
- 2 cups vegetable broth or water
- 4 oz log of goat cheese (optional)
- ⅓ cup walnuts, chopped
- ⅓ cup 50% less sugar dried cranberries
- 2 tbs maple syrup
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 ½ tsp + 1 tbsp olive oil
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
- Drizzle the acorn squash with a little bit of olive oil (about ¼ tsp per squash half), salt and pepper. Use your hands to rub it in, then flip the squash over so it is cut side down on a baking sheet. Bake the acorn squash for 30-50 minutes, depending on the size of your squash. You should be able to easily pierce the squash with a fork when it is done baking. Remove the baking sheet from the oven but leave the oven on.
- Cook the quinoa according to the package directions. Replace the water with vegetable broth for enhanced flavor.
- While the quinoa is cooking, heat 1 tbs of olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium- high heat. Add the celery, yellow onion, leek, and apple. Sauté for about 5 minutes. Start to add the kale in handfuls, adding more as it begins to cook down. Stir in ¼ tsp salt and ¼ tsp of cinnamon. Let it sauté for 5-10 minutes, stirring every so often. Turn off the heat when the apple can be pierced by a fork, but still has a solid texture.
- Meanwhile, combine 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar and 2 tbsp of maple syrup in a small bow. Whisk together until smooth.
- In a large mixing bowl combine the cooked quinoa, sautéed apple and veggies, ⅓ cup dried cranberries, ⅓ cup chopped walnuts, and the maple-balsamic dressing. Gently toss together until the ingredients are combined. Taste the quinoa stuffing and add salt and black pepper if needed.
- At this point the acorn squash should be out of the oven. Flip over the squash so the cut side is facing up. Scoop about ½ cup of the quinoa mixture into the hollow of each squash. Add approximately 1 tbsp of crumbled goat cheese on top of each squash (optional). Put the squash back in the in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let them cool for a few minutes before digging in. Enjoy!
- Prepare your produce first! Try to wash, chop and measure out most of the ingredients before you start cooking, that way you aren’t scrambling to get it done in the mist of cooking.
- Try to buy squash that is the same size so it cooks evenly.
- Serving Size: ½ Acorn Sqush