This quinoa stuffed acorn squash recipe is a delicious combination of sweet and savory. The sweetness that comes from the apricots gives the dish its unique flavor. Season with a few savory herbs and a drizzle of cashew cream, and you will please every palate - not just the vegans!
When it comes to winter squashes, butternut squash gets all the attention! Acorn squash, a variety available when the weather cools down, is another great option, and its shape makes them perfect for stuffing!
If you like this acorn squash recipe, you might also enjoy this vegetarian stuffed acorn squash made with a slightly different combination of ingredients. Other fall favorites are this butternut squash mac and cheese and butternut squash soup.
- 💚 Why You'll Love This Recipe
- 🛒 Ingredients
- ✅ How to Make Vegan Stuffed Acorn Squash with Quinoa
- 🍽️ How to Serve Acorn Squash
- ❄️ How To Store
- 🔪 Helpful Kitchen Tools and Gadgets
- 👩🏻🍳 Tips
- 🌎 Sustainability Suggestion for Buying Acorn Squash
- ➕ More Squash Recipes
- 📖 Recipe
- Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash
- 💬 Comments
💚 Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Great flavors!
- A simple recipe to follow and easy to make!
- Stuffed acorn squash quinoa is a great way to cook seasonally using fresh fall ingredients.
- A vegetarian or vegan dish the whole family will love.
The ingredient list for acorn squash stuffed with quinoa may look a bit long, but many of you may already have them on hand. Let's take a look at the highlights. Check the recipe card for the full list and quantities of each.
Cashews: You need raw, unsalted cashews. They will be used to make the vegan sauce for drizzling over the top. The closest substitute, if you can find them, is sunflower seeds though the flavor may be slightly different.
Acorn squash: Available beginning in September and through the cooler months in the US. Try to choose squash similar in size, so they cook in the same amount of time.
Olive oil spray: You can use store-bought spray or invest in a reusable oil spray bottle and refill it!
Herbs and aromatics: Garlic cloves and thyme and rosemary sprigs cook under the acorn squash halves infusing them with flavor.
Quinoa: Use white or tri-colored quinoa (that's what I used). The white cooks up softer, while the tri-colored has a bit of bite to it thanks to the red and black quinoa, which stays slightly crisp even when cooked.
Spices and herbs: The quinoa cooks with a cinnamon stick and bay leaves to infuse it with flavor. After cooking, fresh parsley and sage are mixed into the stuffing for more flavor.
Dried apricots: Add unique sweetness to the quinoa stuffing mixture.
Pecans: Pair perfectly with the apricots and give the quinoa a crunch. Walnuts make a great substitute.
Garbanzo beans: Optional, but they add more protein to the dish.
✅ How to Make Vegan Stuffed Acorn Squash with Quinoa
Once you've done your shopping and you're ready to get started you will want to preheat your oven and prep your baking sheet with parchment paper. Then the first step in the recipe will be to prep the acorn squash.
How do you cut and prepare acorn squash?
Like many other winter squashes, the hardest thing about preparing acorn squash is simply cutting it open.
Be sure to have a sharp knife to make cutting it easier. Hold it steady with a dish towel, and cut through it. Once it's open, scoop out the seeds, and you're ready to roast!
TOP TIP: If you find it too difficult to cut, it sometimes helps to cook it in the oven for about 10 minutes to soften up the squash a little so it's easier to cut.
Roast the Acorn Squash
After it's cut open, let's get it ready for cooking.
- Spray the inside of each acorn squash half with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Place two sprigs of thyme, one garlic clove, and one sprig of rosemary inside each acorn squash half.
- Carefully flip over to place the cut side down with the herbs and garlic inside.\
- Place in the oven and roast for 25 minutes.
Cook the Quinoa
- Rinse the quinoa. Add it to a pot and toast on medium heat for 3 - 4 minutes.
- Add water, a cinnamon stick, and a bay leaf to the quinoa. Reduce the heat, cover with a lid, and cook until water is absorbed. When it's ready, you can set it aside.
- Place the apricots and pecans in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
Stuff the Acorn Squash
- Combine the quinoa, apricot, pecan mixture, fresh parsley, and sage. Add salt and pepper to taste. If you're adding garbanzo beans, you can do so now.
- Take the cooked acorn squash out of the oven. Remove the garlic and herbs.
- Stuff each squash individually and place back in the oven for an additional 10-15 minutes until heated through.
- Prepare the cashew cream: Drain and rinse the cashews. Place them in a blender with one-quarter cup of water. Blend until smooth, adding more water if necessary. Season with salt and pepper to taste if desired.
- Plate the acorn squash stuffed with quinoa, drizzle with the cashew cream and serve.
🍽️ How to Serve Acorn Squash
Acorn squash stuffed with quinoa is virtually an entire meal in one dish! Here are some of my favorites if you are looking for some simple sides to add to your meal.
- Serve up a simple soup as a starter! I love this creamy vegetarian potato soup or this vibrant roasted red pepper soup.
- Add on a salad such as this vegan Caesar salad or this apple and fennel slaw.
❄️ How To Store
Leftovers: Store leftover stuffed squash in the fridge for up to five days. You can also store it in the freezer for up to three months. You can also store it separately if desired and then stuff it when ready to reheat.
Reheat: Return the stuffed squash to a lined baking pan and heat in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until heated through.
🔪 Helpful Kitchen Tools and Gadgets
You're definitely going to need a sharp, sturdy knife for cutting the acorn squash. Check what you need to know about buying a knife for more tips.
You will need a baking tray, saucepan, measuring cups, and spoons for the prep work.
- Use caution when cutting the acorn squash. It's difficult to cut, so ensure you take safety precautions to avoid accidents. Make sure the surface is clear and the cutting board doesn't slip. Use a dish towel to hold the squash in place and cut away from your hand.
- Don't skip the fresh herbs! It may seem like an extra expense at the store, but it adds so much flavor. Try to plan other recipes that week to use them up, or you can freeze them to preserve their flavor and use them in the future.
Yes, you can! It contains lots of nutrients, and the skin softens when cooked, making it completely edible.
If you're attempting to cut an acorn squash and having trouble, heating it helps soften it. You can do this in a microwave for a couple of minutes or in the oven for about 10 minutes.
🌎 Sustainability Suggestion for Buying Acorn Squash
Starting with organic, fresh, locally grown acorn squash is the first step to making this a super healthy meal.
The availability for acorn squash usually begins in early fall but can be purchased throughout the winter months in most markets. You may have difficulty finding it organic deep into the winter season, but it's still worth buying for its nutritional benefits.
Acorn squash is a healthy addition to your diet. It is rich in nutrients, such as fiber, vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium. Acorn squash may promote overall health and protect against chronic conditions like heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
➕ More Squash Recipes
If you made this recipe, please leave a star 🌟 rating on the recipe card right below! You can also drop a review in the comment section. Your feedback is appreciated! And don’t forget to tag @themindfulfork so we can see your creations.
Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash
- ½ cup cashews soaked overnight in 1 cup water
- 2 acorn squash halved
- olive oil spray
- 8 thyme sprigs
- 4 rosemary sprigs
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 cup dry quinoa
- 1 ¾ cup water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 bay leaves
- 10 dried apricots
- ¼ cup pecans
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley chopped
- ½ tablespoon sage chopped
- ½ - 1 cup of garbanzo beans
- Preheat oven to 375°
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spray each half with olive oil and season with salt & pepper.
- Place separated piles on baking sheet - 2 sprigs of thyme, 1 garlic clove, 1 sprig rosemary - place cut side down of acorn squash over each pile. Place in oven and roast for 25 minutes.
- While acorn squash is roasting, rinse quinoa & toast in a pot, on medium heat, for 3 - 4 minutes. Add 1 ¾ cup of water, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 bay leaf . Reduce heat, cover and cook until water is absorbed. Put aside.
- In a food processor, place apricots & pecans and pulse until finely chopped.
- Combine quinoa, apricot & pecan mix, fresh parsley & sage. Add salt & pepper to taste. Optional: mix in garbanzo beans.
- Take the cooked acorn squash out of the oven. Remove garlic & herbs. Stuff each squash individually and place back in the oven for an additional 10-15 minutes until heated through.
- Prepare the cashew cream - drain & rinse the cashews. Place in a blender with ¼ cup water. Blend until smooth, adding more water if necessary. Optional: Season with salt & pepper to taste.
- Plate the squash, drizzle cashew cream and serve.
- Use caution when cutting the acorn squash. It's difficult to cut so make sure you are taking safety precautions to avoid any accidents. Make sure the surface is clear and the cutting board doesn't slip. Use a dish towel to hold the squash in place and cut away from your hand.
- Don't skip the fresh herbs! It may seem like an extra expense at the store but it adds so much flavor. Try to plan other recipes that week to use them up or you can freeze them to preserve their flavor and use in the future.