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.
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?
If this is your first time cooking acorn squash, It’s easier than you might think!
- Start by washing your acorn squash and cutting it in half vertically with a sharp knife.
- Next, scoop out the seeds, & place each acorn squash half on a baking sheet or sheet pan lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
- 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.
- 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
- Pop the roasted acorn squash halves out of the oven and stuff them with the quinoa filling before serving.
Meal Prep & Serving Tips
- Meal prep the quinoa pilaf ahead of time and store it in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
- 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.
- I love serving this colorful Vegan Stuffed Acorn Squash as a side or main dish at Thanksgiving Dinner. So festive and yummy!
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)
Vegan Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe with Tart Cherry Quinoa Pilaf
- 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
- 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.
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!
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???
- Vegan Leek and Potato Soup
- Beet Apple Walnut Salad
- Easy Skillet Buckwheat Banana Bread
- Quick and Easy Vegan Tortilla Soup
- Genius Trader Joe’s Cauliflower Gnocchi with Crisy Kale and Pine Nuts
- Nourishing Vegan Split Pea Soup
- Mini Gluten Free Vegan Pecan Pie Tarts
- Easy No Bake Pear Tarts
- Easy Chocolate Spiced Pumpkin Truffles
- Chia Oatmeal Maple Peanut Butter Pumpkin Power Bowl
- Easy Pumpkin Hummus Veggie Wraps
- Sweet Potato Cookies with Peanut Butter
- Orange Ginger Pear Sauce
- Cinnamon Raisin Pecan Oatmeal Cookie Dough Bite