Vegetarian Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe

This vegetarian stuffed acorn squash recipe is a delicious and hearty dish that is perfect for the fall season. It's packed with nutritious ingredients like quinoa, cranberries, and pepitas, making it a satisfying meal for both vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.

Vegetarian Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe

While most of the ingredients in this recipe are readily available, you may need to look a bit harder for acorn squash and pepitas. Acorn squash is a type of winter squash that's named for its acorn-like shape. You can usually find it in the produce section of your local supermarket, especially in the fall. Pepitas are pumpkin seeds that have been shelled. They're often located in the nuts and seeds aisle.

Ingredients for Vegetarian Stuffed Acorn Squash

Acorn squash: This is a winter squash with a sweet, nutty flavor. It can be baked, microwaved, sauteed, or steamed.

Olive oil: This is used to drizzle over the squash before baking. It adds a rich and earthy flavor.

Quinoa: A high-protein seed that is cooked and used like a grain. It adds a nutty flavor and crunchy texture.

Dried cranberries: These add a sweet and tart flavor that contrasts nicely with the other ingredients.

Pepitas: These are pumpkin seeds that have been shelled. They add a nice crunch to the dish.

Green onion: This adds a mild onion flavor.

Flat-leaf parsley: This herb adds a fresh and slightly bitter flavor.

Garlic: This adds a robust and aromatic flavor.

Lemon juice: This adds a tangy and refreshing flavor.

Parmesan cheese: This cheese adds a salty and savory flavor.

Goat cheese or feta: Both of these cheeses add a creamy texture and a tangy flavor.

One reader, Boycie Tobias says:

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This vegetarian stuffed acorn squash recipe is a game-changer! The combination of quinoa, cranberries, and cheese is simply divine. The squash is perfectly tender and the flavors are so satisfying. It's a delightful and hearty dish that's perfect for a cozy dinner. Highly recommend trying it out!

Boycie Tobias

Techniques for Preparing Vegetarian Stuffed Acorn Squash

How to prepare acorn squash: This involves slicing the acorn squash in half, removing the seeds and stringy bits, and drizzling with olive oil and salt before baking.

How to cook quinoa: This involves rinsing the quinoa, combining it with water in a saucepan, bringing it to a boil, then simmering until all the water is absorbed. After steaming, fluff the quinoa with a fork.

How to toast pepitas: Toast the pepitas in a skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until they turn golden on the edges.

How to assemble stuffed squash: After preparing the quinoa mixture, divide it evenly between the cooked squash halves with a large spoon before returning them to the oven to bake.

How to serve stuffed squash: Sprinkle the stuffed squash with chopped parsley and serve warm.

How To Make Vegetarian Stuffed Acorn Squash

Whip up a delectable and filling meal with this savory stuffed acorn squash! It’s vegan-friendly and makes the perfect dinner meal.

Preparation: 15 minutes
Cooking: 45 minutes
Total: 1 hour

Serves:

Ingredients

  • 2medium acorn squash
  • 2tbspextra-virgin olive oildivided
  • ½tspfine sea saltdivided
  • ½cupquinoarinsed
  • 1cupwater
  • ¼cupdried cranberries
  • ¼: 5px”>¼cupgreen onionchopped
  • ¼cupflat-leaf parsleychopped fresh
  • 1tbspflat-leaf parsleyfor garnish
  • 1garlic clovepressed or minced
  • 1tbsplemon juice
  • ¾cupparmesan cheesegrated
  • ½cupgoat cheese or feta

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

  2. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

  3. Use a sharp chef’s knife to slice through the acorn squash from the tip to the stem.

  4. With a large spoon, scoop out the seeds and stringy bits, then discard.

  5. Place the squash halves cut side up on the parchment-lined pan.

  6. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over the squash, and sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon of the salt.

  7. Rub the oil into the cut sides of the squash, then turn them over to face the cut sides against the pan.

  8. Bake until the squash flesh is easily pierced through by a fork, about 30 to 45 minutes. Leave the oven on.

  9. In a medium saucepan, combine the rinsed quinoa and water.

  10. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer.

  11. Simmer, uncovered, until all of the water is absorbed, for 12 to 18 minutes.

  12. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in the cranberries.

  13. Cover, and let the mixture steam for 5 minutes.

  14. Uncover and fluff the quinoa with a fork.

  15. In a medium skillet, toast the pepitas over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the pepitas are turning golden on the edges, for 4 to 5 minutes. Set aside.

  16. Pour the fluffed quinoa mixture into a medium mixing bowl.

  17. Add the toasted pepitas, chopped green onion, parsley, garlic, lemon juice, the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, and the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil.

  18. Stir until everything is evenly distributed. Taste and add additional salt, if necessary.

  19. Let cool for a few minutes before adding the parmesan cheese and goat cheese. Gently stir the mixture to combine.

  20. Turn the cooked squash halves with the cut sides facing up.

  21. Divide the mixture evenly between the squash halves with a large spoon.

  22. Return the squash to the oven and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until the cheesy quinoa is turning golden on top.

  23. Sprinkle the stuffed squash with the remaining 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, serve warm, and enjoy!

Nutrition

  • Calories: 2936.15kcal
  • Fat: 153.86g
  • Saturated Fat: 63.14g
  • Trans Fat: 0.05g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 46.52g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 32.53g
  • Carbohydrates: 265.21g
  • Fiber: 34.35g
  • Sugar: 84.45g
  • Protein: 151.22g
  • Cholesterol: 183.92mg
  • Sodium: 2965.04mg
  • Calcium: 2396.72mg
  • Potassium: 3487.48mg
  • Iron: 29.39mg
  • Vitamin A: 1173.31µg
  • Vitamin C: 127.64mg

Helpful Technique for Preparing the Acorn Squash

When toasting the pepitas, it's important to keep a close eye on them as they can burn quickly. Stir them frequently and as soon as they start to turn golden, remove them from the heat. This will ensure they are perfectly toasted, adding a delightful crunch and nutty flavor to your stuffed acorn squash.

Time-Saving Tips for Making This Recipe

Prep ahead: You can prepare the quinoa filling and toast the pepitas in advance to save time on the day of cooking.

Use a microwave: If you're short on time, you can partially cook the acorn squash in the microwave before baking to speed up the process.

Sharp knife: Use a sharp knife to easily slice through the acorn squash, making the prep work quicker and more efficient.

Multi-task: While the squash is baking, use that time to prepare the quinoa filling and gather the remaining ingredients to streamline the cooking process.

Efficient assembly: Have all your ingredients prepped and ready to go before assembling the stuffed squash to make the process quick and seamless.

Substitute Ingredients For Vegetarian Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe

  • acorn squash - Substitute with butternut squash: Butternut squash has a similar sweet and nutty flavor and a creamy texture when cooked, making it a great substitute for acorn squash in this recipe.

  • quinoa - Substitute with brown rice: Brown rice has a slightly nutty flavor and a chewy texture, similar to quinoa, making it a suitable substitute in this recipe.

  • dried cranberries - Substitute with raisins: Raisins provide a similar sweet and tart flavor to the dish and add a chewy texture, making them a good substitute for dried cranberries.

  • pepitas - Substitute with sunflower seeds: Sunflower seeds have a similar nutty flavor and crunchy texture, making them a suitable substitute for pepitas in this recipe.

  • green onion - Substitute with chives: Chives have a mild onion flavor and a similar green color, making them a good substitute for green onions in this recipe.

  • flat-leaf parsley - Substitute with cilantro: Cilantro has a fresh and bright flavor that can replace the herbaceous notes of flat-leaf parsley in this recipe.

  • garlic clove - Substitute with 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder: Garlic powder can be used as a substitute for fresh garlic in this recipe, providing a similar flavor without the need for mincing or chopping.

  • parmesan cheese - Substitute with nutritional yeast: Nutritional yeast has a cheesy, umami flavor that can mimic the taste of parmesan cheese, making it a suitable substitute for a vegetarian version of this recipe.

  • goat cheese or feta - Substitute with vegan feta cheese: Vegan feta cheese made from tofu or nuts can provide a similar tangy and creamy flavor to the dish, making it a suitable substitute for traditional goat cheese or feta in this vegetarian recipe.

Presenting Stuffed Acorn Squash

  1. Elevate the plating: Carefully arrange the stuffed acorn squash on a large, elegant platter, ensuring each half is positioned with precision and attention to detail.

  2. Garnish with fresh herbs: Sprinkle the stuffed acorn squash with freshly chopped parsley and a few whole cranberries to add a pop of color and a touch of freshness to the dish.

  3. Incorporate edible flowers: Introduce a few delicate, edible flowers such as nasturtiums or pansies to the platter for a visually stunning and sophisticated presentation.

  4. Use high-quality serving ware: Select exquisite serving dishes and utensils that complement the elegance of the dish, such as fine porcelain or artisanal pottery.

  5. Create a harmonious composition: Arrange the stuffed acorn squash alongside complementary side dishes, such as a vibrant salad or roasted vegetables, to create a visually appealing and balanced presentation.

Essential Tools for Making Stuffed Acorn Squash

  • Chef's knife: A versatile and essential tool for slicing, dicing, and chopping ingredients.

  • Large spoon: Used for scooping out the seeds and stringy bits from the acorn squash.

  • Medium saucepan: Ideal for cooking quinoa and other grains, and for making sauces and soups.

  • Skillet: Used for toasting the pepitas and for sautéing or frying ingredients.

  • Mixing bowl: Essential for combining and mixing ingredients for the quinoa stuffing.

  • Rimmed baking sheet: Used for roasting the acorn squash in the oven.

  • Parchment paper: Lined on the baking sheet to prevent sticking and for easy cleanup.

  • Fork: Used for piercing the squash to check for doneness and for fluffing the quinoa.

Storing and Freezing Leftover Stuffed Acorn Squash

  • Let the stuffed acorn squash cool completely before storing or freezing. This will help prevent condensation from forming and making the squash soggy.

  • To store in the refrigerator, place the cooled squash halves in an airtight container or wrap them tightly with plastic wrap. They will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days.

  • For longer storage, you can freeze the stuffed squash. Wrap each half tightly in plastic wrap, then place them in a freezer-safe container or resealable bag. Label the container with the date and contents.

  • Frozen acorn squash will keep for up to 3 months. When ready to eat, thaw the squash in the refrigerator overnight.

  • To reheat, place the thawed squash halves on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 350°F (175°C) oven for about 20-25 minutes, or until heated through. You can also microwave individual portions for 2-3 minutes, or until warm.

  • If you have leftover quinoa stuffing, store it separately in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. You can use it as a filling for other vegetables, or enjoy it as a side dish.

  • To maintain the best texture and flavor, avoid freezing the stuffed acorn squash multiple times. Try to consume it within the recommended storage time for optimal quality.

How To Reheat Leftover Stuffed Acorn Squash

  • To reheat leftover vegetarian stuffed acorn squash, preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the stuffed squash halves on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Cover the squash loosely with foil to prevent the filling from drying out. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the squash and filling are heated through.

  • Another option is to use the microwave. Place a single stuffed acorn squash half on a microwave-safe plate. Microwave on high power for 1-2 minutes, or until the squash and filling are heated to your liking. Be careful when removing the plate from the microwave, as it may be hot.

  • For a crispy top, after reheating the stuffed acorn squash in the oven or microwave, place the squash halves under the broiler for 1-2 minutes. Keep a close eye on them to prevent burning.

  • If you have leftover filling separate from the squash, reheat it in a skillet over medium heat. Stir occasionally until the filling is heated through, then spoon it back into the acorn squash halves before serving.

  • To maintain the best texture and flavor, consume leftover vegetarian stuffed acorn squash within 3-4 days of initial preparation. Store the leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Interesting Trivia About Acorn Squash

The vegetarian stuffed acorn squash recipe is a delicious and nutritious dish that combines the flavors of roasted acorn squash, quinoa, cranberries, pepitas, green onion, parsley, garlic, lemon juice, parmesan cheese, and goat cheese. This wholesome recipe offers a perfect balance of sweet, savory, and tangy flavors, making it a delightful addition to any vegetarian meal. The combination of ingredients provides a rich source of nutrients and a satisfying meal that can be enjoyed by both vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike. The dish is a great way to incorporate seasonal produce into your diet and is perfect for a cozy fall or winter meal.

Is Making Stuffed Acorn Squash at Home Cost-Effective?

The vegetarian stuffed acorn squash recipe is quite cost-effective for a household. The ingredients, including acorn squash, quinoa, and cranberries, are reasonably priced and can be found at most grocery stores. The dish is nutritious and filling, making it a great option for a family meal. The approximate cost for a household of 4 people is around $15-$20, making it an affordable and satisfying choice. Overall Verdict: 9.

Is This Vegetarian Dish Healthy?

This vegetarian stuffed acorn squash recipe is a nutritious and well-balanced meal. The acorn squash provides a good source of fiber, vitamins A and C, and potassium. Quinoa is a complete protein, offering all nine essential amino acids, along with fiber, iron, and magnesium. The addition of cranberries, pepitas, and vegetables adds more fiber, healthy fats, and micronutrients to the dish. The use of olive oil and limited amounts of cheese keeps the saturated fat content in check.

To make this recipe even healthier:

  • Reduce the amount of cheese used or opt for low-fat versions to decrease the saturated fat content
  • Increase the proportion of vegetables in the stuffing, such as adding diced bell peppers, mushrooms, or spinach for added fiber and nutrients
  • Use a combination of whole grain and regular quinoa to boost the fiber content further
  • Replace the dried cranberries with fresh or frozen berries to reduce the added sugar content
  • Experiment with different herbs and spices, like thyme, rosemary, or smoked paprika, to enhance the flavor without relying on excessive salt or fat

Editor's Opinion on This Vegetarian Acorn Squash Dish

The vegetarian stuffed acorn squash recipe is a delightful combination of flavors and textures. The roasted acorn squash provides a sweet and nutty base, while the quinoa, cranberries, and pepitas add a delightful crunch and earthy flavors. The blend of goat cheese and parmesan cheese creates a creamy and savory filling that perfectly complements the sweetness of the squash. The dish is well-balanced and visually appealing, making it a perfect addition to any fall or winter meal. It's a great way to showcase seasonal produce and impress your guests with a satisfying vegetarian dish.

Why trust this Vegetarian Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe:

This vegetarian stuffed acorn squash recipe offers a delightful blend of wholesome ingredients, creating a symphony of flavors and textures. The combination of quinoa, cranberries, pepitas, and savory cheeses promises a satisfying and nutritious meal. With a focus on natural, plant-based ingredients, this recipe caters to a wide range of dietary preferences, making it a versatile and inclusive choice. The step-by-step instructions ensure a seamless cooking experience, while the vibrant colors and aromatic scents will captivate the senses. Trust in the harmony of nature's bounty and the culinary expertise behind this recipe for a truly memorable dining experience.

Share your thoughts on this delicious Vegetarian Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe in the Recipe Sharing forum section. Let's discuss any variations or serving suggestions you may have!
FAQ:
How can I make this recipe vegan?
To make this recipe vegan, you can substitute the parmesan and goat cheese with dairy-free alternatives such as nutritional yeast and vegan cheese. You can also use a plant-based oil, such as coconut oil, in place of the olive oil.
Can I prepare the stuffed squash in advance?
Yes, you can prepare the stuffed squash in advance. After stuffing the squash, cover and refrigerate them until you're ready to bake. When you're ready to serve, simply bake them according to the recipe instructions.
Can I use a different type of squash for this recipe?
Yes, you can use a different type of squash if acorn squash is not available. Butternut squash or delicata squash would be great alternatives for this recipe.
Can I add other ingredients to the quinoa stuffing?
Absolutely! Feel free to customize the quinoa stuffing to your liking. You can add diced vegetables like bell peppers, zucchini, or spinach for extra flavor and nutrition.
How do I know when the squash is fully cooked?
You'll know the squash is fully cooked when the flesh is tender and easily pierced with a fork. The edges of the squash may also start to caramelize, indicating that it's ready to be stuffed and baked.

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