This Stuffed Acorn Squash Might Be The Easiest Vegan Holiday Dish Ever

mbg Editorial Assistant By Jamie Schneider
mbg Editorial Assistant
Jamie Schneider is the Editorial Assistant at mindbodygreen with a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan. She's previously written for Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare.

Image by Kirsten Kaminski

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This roasted and stuffed acorn squash from Kirsten Kaminski's Vegan Holiday Cookbook is the ultimate holiday dish. Packed with flavorful and fragrant quinoa stuffing, this cozy dish is sure to impress with its sweet and hearty flavors. I personally love stuffing squash (and bell peppers, while we're on the topic) because it's a ridiculously easy way to create a meal that looks like restaurant-level quality. Your squash will end up looking decadent and colorful (just look at those fall hues!), and your family will never know that it only took 45 minutes to whip up.

Plus, that pomegranate seed topping adds a fresh element to the stuffing—just what this dish needs to make it a well-rounded, nutritious meal. Check out the recipe below, and you're sure to be the star of your next holiday-themed potluck.

Roasted Acorn Squash With Quinoa Stuffing

Yields 4 servings

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Ingredients:

  • 4 medium acorn squash 
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. (15 ml) pure maple syrup 
  • ½ cup (85 g) uncooked quinoa 
  • 1 cup (240 ml) vegetable broth 
  • 2 tbsp. (30 ml) olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, diced 
  • ½ medium red apple, diced 
  • ⅓ cup (40 g) pecans, finely chopped 
  • 1 tbsp. (15 ml) pure maple syrup 
  • 4 cremini or white button mushrooms, diced 
  • 1 tbsp. (15 ml) soy sauce
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. (3 g) fresh thyme leaves 
  • Pinch of salt 
  • ⅓ cup (65 g) fresh pomegranate seeds

Method:

  1. To prepare the acorn squash, preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and line a medium baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut off the top of each acorn squash as well as a thin slice from the bottom so it will stand on its own. Remove the seeds and some of the squash flesh to make a bowl, being careful not to scoop out too much on the bottom side. 
  2. To make the glaze, combine the oil and maple syrup in a small bowl, then brush each squash evenly with the glaze. Place the squash on the prepared baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes. 
  3. Meanwhile, make the stuffing. Cook the quinoa in the broth according to the quinoa package's instructions.
  4. In the meantime, heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, apple, pecans, and maple syrup and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until the apple is soft and the onion is golden brown.
  5. Add the mushrooms, soy sauce, cinnamon, thyme, and salt and cook for 5 to 10 minutes. Once the quinoa is done, add it to the pan and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, until the flavors have combined. 
  6. Remove the squash from the oven. Fill each squash with the quinoa stuffing, then return the squash to the oven and roast for 10 minutes. 
  7. Remove the squash from the oven, divide the pomegranate seeds among them, and serve warm. 

Quick Tip: When buying whole pomegranates, there's a very easy trick to take out the seeds without making a mess. Simply slice the pomegranate into 4 pieces, place them in a big bowl with water, and separate the seeds from the skin under water. The seeds will sink to the bottom while the skin will float on top! 

Reprinted with permission from Vegan Holiday Cooking by Kirsten Kaminski, Page Street Publishing Co., 2019.

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