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This Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash is an all-in-one meal that's bursting with fall flavors. The savory goodness comes from sautéed onions, celery, mushrooms, and warm spices. Then it's balanced out with subtly sweet and tart flavors from apples and cranberries. The quinoa gives it a nice texture and lots of added protein. It's heavenly!
Acorn squash is my favorite autumn vegetable! They’re so beautiful on the outside and have a subtly sweet, nutty flavor on the inside. I cook with them all season long. My favorite is this Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash.
It really is a complete meal, but sometimes I'll serve it with Vegan Cauliflower Soup and a side salad. I also make it for Thanksgiving as the main dish along with my Meatless Loaf. Then my guests can decide which they prefer or even go for both.
This meal may look intimidating, but it's surprisingly easy to make and fun, too. Here is how it's done...
How do you cut an acorn squash?
First, you have to cut them using a very sturdy and sharp Chef's Knife. Put the squash on its side and cut a thin slice off the bottom to create a flat edge, so the squash can stand up. Be careful not to cut too much or it will leave a hole in the bottom.
You may not need to cut the top of the squash, but if it has a protruding stem, you'll need to cut it off. If the stem is very short, see if the squash will lay somewhat flat before cutting.
Now cut each squash horizontally in half. Scoop out the membranes and seeds inside and discard them or you can save the seeds for roasting if desired. They are delicious!
How do you roast acorn squash?
It's really easy once the squash is prepped. Just preheat your oven to 425°F (218 °C). Place the squash on a rimmed baking sheet cut-side up.
Brush the inside and top with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. *Optional: lightly brush with maple syrup to add a subtle sweetness. It's good!
Now roast for about 35-45 minutes or until the squash is fork-tender. Rotate pan midway through for even cooking.
How to make the filling for Stuffed Acorn Squash
Cook the quinoa in low-sodium vegetable broth for extra savory flavor (not pictured). Remove from heat and set aside while you sauté everything else.
Sauté the onion, celery, and apple in a large pan until softened for about 5-6 minutes.
Add the mushrooms, cranberries, garlic, sage, thyme, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Sauté about 7-9 minutes or until mushrooms and cranberries are tender. If food starts to stick to the pan, you can splash a little vegetable broth or white wine to deglaze.
Remove from heat and add the cooked quinoa. Combine well and taste for seasoning, add more if needed. When the squash is fully roasted, fill with the stuffing mixture using a large spoon. (optional: drizzle/spritz top of stuffing with oil for a crispier top). Place in the oven and bake 10-15 minutes, until the quinoa is lightly browned & crispy.
Can it be made ahead?
Absolutely, they are perfect for make-ahead meals. Make them as instructed, but skip the last step of putting them back in the oven (fully stuffed). Instead, stuff them and place them in a sealed container in the fridge (let them cool down first).
To reheat, cover them in foil and pop in the oven until thoroughly heated. Remove foil for the last 10-15 minutes to crisp up the top.
You can freeze them for about 2-3 months too. Just make sure they are sealed well to avoid freezer burn.
So, are you ready to enjoy this fall-fabulous meal? Let's do this!
More Vegan Thanksgiving recipes to try
- Vegan Sourdough Bread Stuffing
- Vegan Green Bean Casserole
- Mashed Potatoes and Savory Mushroom Gravy
- Vegan Pumpkin Pie
- Vegan Apple Crisp
I’d love to hear from you
If you make this recipe, let me know what you think by ★ star rating it and leaving a comment below. It would really make my day. You can also follow me on Instagram and share your creation with me. Just tag me @veganhuggs and hashtag #veganhuggs so I don’t miss it.
Stuffed Acorn Squash
- ¾ cup dry quinoa
- 1 ½ cups vegetable broth , low sodium
- 3 acorn squash (medium-sized)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil + more for brushing acorn flesh
- 1 small onion , finely diced
- 1 stalk celery , finely diced
- 1 large apple , diced
- 8 ounces cremini mushrooms , diced
- ½ cup cranberries (fresh or frozen)
- 3 cloves garlic , minced
- 1 teaspoon sage
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon Himalayan salt (or preferred salt), more to taste
- Fresh cracked pepper , to taste
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup *Optional
- Large Pan
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F
- Cut a thin slice off the bottom of each squash to create a flat edge, so the squash can stand up (don't cut too much or it will leave a hole). Cut stems off the tops if they protrude. Now cut each squash horizontally in half. Scoop out the membranes and seeds inside of the squash & discard. (*photos are in post above)
- Place the squash on a rimmed baking sheet, cut-side up. Brush the inside with olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper. (*Optional: lightly brush with maple syrup to add a subtle sweetness) Roast the squash for about 35-45 minutes, or until tender (test with a fork).
- Add the quinoa and broth to a medium pot. Bring to a boil and then turn heat down to maintain a low simmer. Cover with lid and cook until liquid is gone and quinoa is fluffy. This usually takes about 15-20 minutes to cook. Remove from heat and fluff with fork. Set aside.
- In a large pan, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Sauté the onion, celery, apples until softened. About 5-6 minutes
- Add the mushrooms, cranberries, garlic, sage, thyme, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Sauté about 7-9 minutes, or until mushrooms and cranberries are tender (if food sticks to the pan, you can splash a little vegetable broth or white wine to deglaze).
- Remove from heat and add the cooked quinoa. Combine well and taste for seasoning, add more as needed.
- When the squash is ready, fill with the stuffing mixture. (*optional: drizzle/spritz top of stuffing with oil for a crispier top). Place in oven and bake 10-15 minutes, until the quinoa is lightly browned & crispy.
- This recipe is very versatile, so feel free to add your favorite ingredients. I make this with vegan sausage too. I leave out ½ of the mushrooms from the recipe and I crumble up 1 sausage link and add it after the onions, celery, and apples have cooked. I add a touch more oil and lightly brown them. I recommend Field Roast - Smoked Apple Sage flavor. So good!
Made this and it was amazing!!!
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Hi Nicole! Thanks so much, we are so happy you loved it!
These were absolutely incredible! I’m not a big fan of mushrooms, so used to links of the field roast vegan sausage that you recommended which was perfect. Are used dried cranberries and that came out great.The flavors came together incredibly and my husband and I devoured them. I’m looking forward to making these for a special holiday meal, or when we have friends over.
And absolutely incredible recipe!
Hi Andrea, I'm so glad you liked them. It's one of my favorite recipes. Thank you for giving it a try!
Loved this! Played around a smidge with your recipe... Used an acorn squash, delicata, and butternut, then roasted one half each with olive oil, and one half with maple syrup added. I'm allergic to sage, so I subbed with rosemary (but used a little less because it's so strong, and upped the thyme)... Did a mix of dried cranberries and a raisin medley.... Used the Lightlife Gimme Lean Sausage (about 1/3 of the package), and a bit less of the mushrooms... then topped with some toasted pepitas and walnuts, and a simple arugula, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper salad.
My boyfriend made these weird sounds while eating this because he was eating it too ravenously! This was such a great recipe for so many reasons: the way it is set up allows the perfect amount of time to prep each item as you are going along, no need to have everything ready beforehand, it's easy to play around with the base recipe based on what I had on hand/preferences, and it's super simple! The hardest thing was just cutting the darn squash.
Hi Jade, this is such a nice compliment! Thank you! I really appreciate you sharing your feedback and modifications, too. Your version sounds delicious! I hate cutting the squash too. Lol! 🙂
Looks delicious! Is there anything I can substitute the cranberries with. They are not available right now.
You can use dried cranberries as well. Can you find them near you?
Love it very flavourful and easy to make. Question..Would there be anything wrong with
making the "stuffing" part ahead?
Hi Sandra, Thank you! I'm so glad you liked it. Yes, you can make the stuffing ahead of time and chill for 2-3 days in the fridge. 🙂
This looks so delish! Do you think any of it could be made a few days ahead of time?
Yes, you can make them up until the last baking step. So, you would roast them, make the filling and stuff them, then let cool and refrigerate. To heat, cover with foil and cook at 400F for 20-30 minutes or until heated throughout. Uncover the last 10 minutes to brown the top a little. Hope this helps 🙂
Amazing my boyfriend and I both loved them!
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Hi Christie! So happy to hear you both love the recipe, thanks for giving it a try 🙂
Made this for the main dish for Thanksgiving. Not only was it visually festive but very delicious. Thank you!!! Left out the mushrooms but added Smoked Apple Sage sausage and substituted dried cranberries for fresh. Will make again and again.
Hi Nancy, this is such a nice compliment! Thank you for making it and sharing your feedback 🙂
Do you peel the apple?
Hi there, I usually do, but you don't have to. I'll put that in the notes. Thank you 🙂
Thank you! Looks delish. Do you have a favorite kind of apple that you use?
Making tmrw for TDay!
You're most welcome! I usually use a macintosh or pink lady. Thank you for making this for the big day. Have a happy Thanksgiving! 🙂
This was delicious Thanksgiving meal. I followed the recipe only changing the squash (used a new variety) and use kamut instead of quinoa. It was delicious.
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Hi Diane! We're so happy those substitutions worked out and that you loved the recipe! Thanks so much for sharing 🙂
OMG so good! I added double cranberries for more tar! Love this and will make it again and again!!!! Wish I could leave my pic for you.
Hi Pat, I'm so glad you liked it! You can share pics with me on Instagram or Facebook. I'd love to see! Thank you for giving it a try 🙂
Anxious to try this! I’m using Noom ( ads on this page too!) and did try one other stuffed acorn squash, but this one looks so good- thanks for posting calories! can dried cranberries be used? ( already have some) I’m thinking maybe add them to the mixture late in the process?
Hi Deb, yes, you can use dried cranberries and add them at the end of cooking to warm up. Thanks for stopping by 🙂
I tried this recently with dried cranberries and it worked out really well! I had too much quinoa to fill my squash but it didn't matter because I just used the extra quinoa as a side for another meal. Thanks for the recipe!
You're most welcome! I'm glad you liked it with the dried cranberries. Thank you for making the recipe 🙂
This recipe is delicious! I followed the recipe exactly and added the Field Roast sausage. I will be making this again. This was my first time cooking with acorn squash and I'm excited to try more recipes using this ingredient!
Hi Aimee, I'm so glad you liked it. Thank you for giving it a try 🙂
Hi Melissa! I want to make this for my vegan/vegetarian in-laws for Thanksgiving this year. They are a little picky and one of them doesn't like mushrooms. Do you think walnuts would be a good substitute?
Hi Rachael, The walnuts could work, but could overpower the dish. Maybe use a smaller amount for a bite? You can also replace the mushrooms with other veggies, or you can use tofu, soy curls, chickpeas, or store-bought meat crumbles or crumbled sausage. Would any of those work for your family? I hope this helps. I'm sure your family will love it! Let me know how it goes. 🙂
Delicious! Filling, easy and fun to make. It reminds me of home cooking a on a beautiful Fall day!
I'm so glad you liked it! Thank you for giving it a try! 🙂
Wow, finally a recipe that tastes great and wasn’t super labor intensive! I never leave reviews, I’m just so impressed. Recipes I try never turn out well and end up taking hours and by then I don’t even want to eat it anymore. This is great!
Hi Emma, I'm so glad it worked out for you! Thank you for giving it a try! It's one of my favorite meals 🙂
I plan to make this for a family late holiday meal for the veggies in the fam... I feel silly asking this question but no one has commented yet which makes me think I should know this, but don’t. Is the skin edible?
Hi Mardy, not a silly question at all. Yes, the skin is edible. I don't prefer it, but you may like it. It's worth a try! Have a Happy New Year! 🙂