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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!
Thanks for the great feedback, Sara! Pecans would be a great addition. 🙂
Hi Melissa, I’ve made ur stuffed cheesy butternut squash before (and many times again, always a hit!) and Love it. I am excited to try this one, is there a sauce u can recommend to go on this one?
I love this recipe. I was out of celery, so I added more apples and onions. I eat honey and didn’t have any maple syrup, so I added 2 Tbs honey to the stuffing. I also added about 1/3 cup walnuts. Thank you!
We love this recipe too, and I am glad you were able to try it and make it work with what you have. 🙂
A wonderful recipe and tastes wonderful. Makes a beautiful presentation. I did add fresh herbs.
I will try more of your recipes.
Thank you for your creativity.
Thank you so much Cara! Please do, I have a lot more recipes that I am sure you will love too. 🙂
Dorine Doyle King
I made this for our “Meatless Monday” meal and also recommended it to my TOPS weight loss group, all my Facebook friends and gave everyone the link to your website. I loved this meal and would/WILL make it again!
That is amazing Dorinne, thanks for doing that. Cheers! ❤️
Very tasty. I somatic pomegranate seeds for cranberry as that is what I had in hand. The recipe is as you say versatile. Thank you for sharing this delicious meal.
Thanks for the feedback, Rei! Cranberry is a great sub for pomegranate seeds for sure. 🙂
I added and subtracted ingredients to suit my family, and what I had on hand, and it turned out just perfect! Squash took a little longer to cook, but I expected that and allowed time. I cut a hole in one of the squash halves, and just double lined the outside with a folded piece of foil. Thank you for this wonderful recipe!!!
You are most welcome Marianne. That is what's great about this recipe, it can be modified easily but stilllook and taste amazing. 🙂
This is such an awesome and versatile recipe. Sometimes I tweak a recipe. For example, I’m not a big fan of celery or mushrooms so I add a little extra apple, cranberries and about 1/2 cup pecans to the recipe. This time I also prepared this with Kabocha Squash, which is similar enough to Acorn. I also see the filling used with Butternut Squash. Anyway … this recipe ROCKS, no matter which way you slice it!
I couldn't agree with you more Sharon. This is one of our favorites and I am glad you loved it as much as we did.
I love this recipe! I added carrots and it was so delicious! It reminds me of thanksgiving! I loved that I could taste every bit of seasoning! Thanks soooooo much! Perfect for October and November!
That is great, Natalie. 🙂 It is indeed a wonderful fall and holiday recipe.
Thanks a lot, Ann. 🙂
These were very tasty! The only thing I did different was to use craisins because my husband could not find fresh/frozen at our little local store. I might add some crumbled impossible sausage next time just to try it, but a very good recipe anyway! I love stuffing acorn squash and this one did not disappoint! Will make this a lot this fall/winter! 🙂
That is awesome Nicole! Thanks for trying this and hope you have a great day. 🙂
I made this recipe last Thanksgiving, and it was delicious! I will cook this time again 🙂
I love that you are making this a regular part of your Thanksgiving meal.:) Thanks, Marina.
Easier to make than I expected. Very nutritious, flavorful and filling,
Thanks, Beverly! They look fancy, so a lot of people think they are difficult to make. I am glad you found the steps easy to follow. 🙂
Wow, so much flavor! I have to admit I was a little leery of the cinnamon, but it is perfect. This will be on a regular rotation for sure.
Glad to hear this Diane. 🙂
I love the savory and sweet in this recipe. It really does capture all the flavors of Fall!
Thank you Lara! It is the perfect fall recipe indeed. 🙂
What can I use in place of the mushrooms? My Mom is allergic to them. Thank you!
Hi Anna, you can use vegan sausages instead. 🙂