Vegan Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe with Quinoa Pilaf

This gluten-free, vegan stuffed acorn squash recipe is packed with fall flavors and get’s rave reviews from my plant-based and meat-eaters alike! ! It’s filled with delicious pumpkin seed, spinach, and tart cherry quinoa pilaf. Serve it as a wholesome side dish, a meatless main course, or a festive accompaniment at your next holiday gathering.

vegetarian stuffed acorn squash with quinoa pilaf on a white platter

Tis’ the season for making your favorite acorn squash recipe even more nutritious AND delicious. Today, I’m sharing with you a fully loaded vegan and gluten-free version of my all-time favorite – stuffed and topped off with tart cherry & pumpkin seed quinoa pilaf!

What you need to make this vegan stuffed acorn squash recipe

  • Acorn Squashes
  • Quinoa. Or swap with brown rice or your favorite gluten-free whole grains.
  • Veggies. Yellow or red onion and baby spinach. You can also add sauteed bell peppers or tender mushrooms to up your veggie quota!
  • Nuts & Seeds. Pumpkin seeds and sliced almonds add a delicious nutty flavor but feel free to swap with any nuts and seeds. I think pine nuts, pistachios, or pecans would be mighty tasty too!
  • Dried Fruit. I love this vegan stuffed acorn squash with dried tart cherries, but dried cranberries would also be delicious.
  • Fresh Herbs. Oregano is my go-to herb in this vegan stuffed acorn squash. No oregano on hand? Add in some fresh or dried rosemary, sage, or thme instead.
  • Pantry Staples. A little olive oil (or a pat of vegan butter), salt, and black pepper. You can also swap the olive oil with vegetable broth for a lower fat option.
  • Optional Ingredients. Minced garlic, a splash of balsamic vinegar, and crushed red pepper. Vegetarians and omnivores may choose to add a little feta cheese or Parmesan cheese on top.

How do you cook stuffed acorn squash?

acorn squash halves on a blue kitchen towel

If this is your first time cooking acorn squash, It’s easier than you might think!

  1. Start by washing your acorn squash and cutting it in half vertically with a sharp knife.
  2. Next, scoop out the seeds, & place each acorn squash half on a baking sheet or sheet pan lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  3. Drizzle the acorn squash halves with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Then bake, with the flesh of the squash down, at 350 degrees F for ~30 minutes, or until fork-tender.
  4. While the acorn squash bakes, make the quinoa mixture. Cook the quinoa. Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat and saute the onion, along with the almonds. Combine cooked quinoa with the
  5. Pop the roasted acorn squash halves out of the oven and stuff them with the quinoa filling before serving.

Meal Prep & Serving Tips

  1. Meal prep the quinoa pilaf ahead of time and store it in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
  2. No time to roast acorn squash? Serve the quinoa pilaf on its own or toss in some lentils or chickpeas for a hearty plant-based complete meal.
  3. I love serving this colorful Vegan Stuffed Acorn Squash as a side or main dish at Thanksgiving Dinner. So festive and yummy!
squash halves with quinoa on a white platter.

Nutrition

Acorn squash, like other winter squash, is rich in carotenoid antioxidants. It’s also an excellent source of vitamin C, a good source of vitamins A & B, magnesium, and gut-friendly fiber. 

In addition, the quinoa pilaf packs a healthy nutritional punch with lots of wholesome goodness for your body, including anti-inflammatory oregano and heart-healthy nuts and seeds. Hands down, it’s one of my all-time favorite ways to eat more plants for delicious health!

(Learn more: Acorn Squash Nutrition Facts & Health)

vegetarian stuffed acorn squash with fresh oregano on a white platter

Acorn vegetarian stuffed squash filled with quinoa pilaf on a white dish.

Vegan Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe with Tart Cherry Quinoa Pilaf

This gluten-free, vegan stuffed acorn squash recipe is packed with fall flavors and get's rave reviews from my plant-based and meat-eaters alike! ! It's filled with delicious pumpkin seed, spinach, and tart cherry quinoa pilaf. Serve it as a wholesome side dish, a meatless main course, or a festive accompaniment at your next holiday gathering.
5 from 13 votes
Print Recipe Pin Recipe
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 2 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 acorn squash
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil, plus additional for drizzling on squash
  • salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup quinoa, dry, rinsed
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup sprouted pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup dried tart cherries, chopped
  • 2 cups baby spinach, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped

Instructions

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Meanwhile, cut acorn squash in half, vertically, and remove the seeds. Drizzle olive oil over the flesh of both pieces of squash, then sprinkle with salt and fresh ground pepper. Place squash, flesh side down on a foil lined sheet, and bake for 30 minutes.
  • While squash is baking, combine quinoa and water in a medium pan. Bring to a boil, then lower heat, and cook until water is absorbed, and quinoa is nice and fluffy.
  • While quinoa is cooking, heat olive oil in pan, then add onions and cook until translucent. Push onions to the side of the pan, and add almonds, stirring constantly for a couple of minutes to toast. Remove pan from heat, and set aside.
  • When quinoa is done cooking, pour it in to a medium bowl, then stir in onion/almond mixture, pumpkin seeds, cherries, spinach, and oregano. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • When squash is cooked, remove from oven and place each piece on a plate. Scoop ~ 3/4 cup of quinoa pilaf mixture in to each squash half and serve.

Notes

Preparation & Serving Tips

  • You can meal prep the pumpkin seed & tart cherry quinoa pilaf ahead of time. You should also have leftover quinoa pilaf~enjoy it the next day for lunch!
  • Don’t have baby spinach? Add any favorite finely chopped leafy greens.
  • Ditto for the “bling” (almonds, pumpkin seeds, tart cherries)~You can toss in any seeds, nuts, and dried fruit you have on hand.
  • I LOVE the fresh oregano with this vegetarian stuffed acorn squash, but feel free to experiment with any variety of fresh (or dried) herbs, and let me know it goes!
  • Serve as a main dish with some fruit on the side, or as a side dish. It would be perfect for a vegetarian/vegan entree at Thanksgiving!

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 618kcal | Carbohydrates: 78g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Sodium: 120mg | Potassium: 1630mg | Fiber: 14g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 4185IU | Vitamin C: 38.6mg | Calcium: 244mg | Iron: 8.5mg
EA Stewart, RD | Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Course Dinner, Lunch, Side Dish
Cuisine American, Gluten Free, Mediterranean, MIND Diet, Vegan
Keyword stuffed acorn squash recipes
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Have you ever made vegan stuffed acorn squash? What’s your favorite way to cook winter squash?  What are your favorite vegetarian or vegan holiday dishes???

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36 Comments

  1. Sunil Dogra says:

    Tastes very good. My family loved it. Will definitely make it again.

  2. Amanda Archibald says:

    This recipe looks delicious! Acorn squash is one of my favorite fall vegetables. A must try!

  3. This stuffed acorn squash looks so delicious and colorful! I can’t wait to get all the ingredients to make this!

    1. Thanks so much Stacey! Thanksgiving will be here before we know it 🙂 Cheers!

  4. omg, this is calling me! STUNNING photos and delish recipe. Congrats!!!

  5. This looks amazing! I love stuffed squash of any kind, I definitely need to give this recipe a try!

  6. Once again, blown away by your beautiful food photography, EA! You make everything look totally delicious. I just got an acorn squash in my CSA box, this looks like a great option. Love the tart cherries in there!

  7. Thanks for the beautiful recipe! I just highlighted it on my blog (www.mimisfitfoods.com) today with a very slight variation (based on what I had on hand). We loved it! I will be making more of your recipes FOR SURE!

    1. Hi Mimi! So glad you stopped by, and thanks so much for highlighting my recipe on your blog! I love when people get creative in the kitchen, and come up with their own adaptations of other recipes. Your version lookds delicious!

  8. I love how elegant stuffed squash looks – and this recipe with pumpkin seeds + cherries is so perfect for this time of year!

  9. I love all the ingredients in this delish dish. I’m really enjoying quinoa more and more now and may try your recipe here. The photos look marvelous! Glad you guys had a great time at the pumpkin patch. Thanks for sharing the recipe and the blog-visit. Your kind support on the networks is much appreciated, EA !

  10. This looks delicious!!
    I vaguely remember going to a pumpkin patch when I was little. It’s such a fun activity to do with the kids!
    Hope you had a good and happy Halloween!!!

  11. wow, this looks just wonderful + so healthy! and how fun that you took the kiddos to a real pumpkin patch – my husband + i went to one last year + had a blast!

  12. This looks totally fantastic. I love all the ingredients and it looks so simple for a midweek meal too, with enough for leftovers. I have never used acorn squash but often do uchiki kuri, which is quite similar I believe. And I don’t stuff them but usually cut them and use them in other things. But this looks a great idea, and I have some fab properly tart sour cherries that would be perfect, or even some dried barberries.

  13. this looks wonderful and love country drives like this your such a cool mum

    1. Thanks Rebecca! I pretend to do it for my kids, but I really love going too 🙂

  14. Last time we went was last year, I remember well because I had thee worst allergies that day and the pumpkin patch just exhilarated it, I was miserable!! ha! Fav way for acorn squash? Honestly the only way I have ever had it is baked. like you said, little salt, little pepper. I have never had it stuffed and it always looks so beautiful and that goes double for you yours! Not only is the presentation the best representation of fall, I absolutely love the list of ingredients, the cherries really sets it apart! Well done!!!

    1. Thanks so much Teri! Funny you mention your allergies at the pumpkin patch…I’m thinking hay allergies? Big Tex always sneezes when he feeds our guinea pigs hay, but didn’t seem to have any problems at the pumpkin patch…Hmmm…a ply to get out of feeding the piggies perhaps??

  15. I’m doing quinoa-stuffed acorn squash for Thanksgiving! I love the flavors in yours, especially the dried cherries. I so wish I was having this for dinner tonight! 🙂

  16. I love stuffed acorn squash!! In fact, I will be making recipe at work soon that is stuffed with lean mea, beans, and cheese. I can’t wait to demo it and let customers try it! I don’t think a lot of people have ever even tried acorn squash, which is a sin in my opinion 🙂 Yours looks so pretty!!

    I haven’t been to a pumpkin patch in YEARS. I think that’s something we will do when we have kids, and I’m really looking forward to it.

    1. Thank you! Your stuffed squash sound delicious too GIna! I think the stuffing possibilities are endless…Yes, pumpkin patch with the kids is a fun tradition!

  17. Oh, yay! Hope you make this Terra! I do know how much you love quinoa 🙂 Hugs back!

  18. Love this refreshing and healthy recipe..and like that picture of tons of squashes..

    1. Thanks Sanjeeta! I thought the squashes were pretty cool, too, all piled up. Hope you’re doing well!!

  19. Mmmmm….this recipe looks amazing. I am such a pumpkin seed Queen so will have to try this recipe very soon.
    My Aunt lived on a farm and sold pumpkins and Indian corn….and we visited quite a bit. I love walking around a pumpkin patch–Pumpkins make me smile 🙂

    1. Thanks Kate! How fun to visit your Aunt’s pumpkin farm 🙂 Hope you try the recipe soon. It is delicious!