Vegan Stuffed Acorn Squash is a beautiful plant-based addition to your Thanksgiving or holiday meal. Made with perfectly roasted squash and a flavourful herbed quinoa stuffing, your guests will love this dish!
Acorn squash is my favourite winter squash to use for stuffed squash recipes (like this reader favourite sausage-stuffed squash). When they are cut horizontally, acorn squash make gorgeous edible bowls with scalloped edges.
This Vegan Stuffed Acorn Squash is a fantastic option for anyone that has dietary restrictions, whether they are vegan, or need a dairy-free or gluten-free dish.
The flavourful herbed quinoa stuffing pairs nicely with the natural sweetness of the roasted acorn squash, and delivers on the traditional flavours you would expect from stuffing (hello, sage!). We love that the stuffing is made completely in one pot – fewer dishes to clean is a win at a holiday meal!
For the roasted squash
- Acorn squash – you want to find small/medium squash that are large enough to act as a bowl, but small enough that they can be overfilled with the stuffing for a beautiful presentation.
- Olive oil + maple syrup – the syrup enhances the natural sweetness of the squash
- Kosher salt
For the herbed quinoa stuffing
- Fresh herbs – sage, rosemary, thyme
- Quinoa – uncooked
- Broth – to cook the quinoa. You could also use water in a pinch, but the broth adds so much more depth of flavour.
- Garlic powder – we tried the recipe with minced fresh garlic, but didn’t love the texture of it after it simmered with the quinoa.
- Apple cider vinegar – to brighten the flavour
- Maple syrup – for a bit of sweetness that pairs perfectly with the herbs
- Dried cranberries – for colour, texture and tart flavour
- Walnuts – for crunch. You can sub dry roasted pepitas for a nut-free option, or use any other nut of your choice. Pecans or almonds would be nice!
How to make it
First, prep the squash. Slice a thin layer off each end of the squash so that they will sit flat as bowls (you may need to trim off the stem), then slice through the middle horizontally. Cutting this way will create bowls with beautiful scalloped edges. Scrape out the seeds, brush the inside with a mixture of olive oil and maple syrup, then season with kosher salt.
Place the squash on a large parchment-lined baking sheet, bowl side down. Roast for about 25 minutes at 400 °F or until fork tender.
Meanwhile, making the quinoa stuffing. In a large skillet with a lid, sauté the onion and celery in a small amount of olive oil, until softened. Add the fresh herbs and continue to sauté until fragrant, about a minute.
Add the uncooked quinoa and mix until well combined with the other ingredients, then pour in the broth. Stir in the garlic powder and kosher salt, then cover and bring to a boil. Once it’s boiling, turn the heat down to low. Simmer covered for 20 minutes, then remove the pan from the heat and let the quinoa steam, still covered, for 10 minutes.
Fluff the quinoa, then stir in the apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, dried cranberries and walnuts. Scoop the quinoa mixture into the squash halves, then return the squash to the oven to broil for 3-5 minutes.
Tips for Success
Be sure the squash halves will sit flat. Slice off the smallest piece possible off the top and bottom, so when they’re flipped over as bowls, they will sit flat on the plate. Use a sharp knife and a steady cutting surface, to be safe while slicing.
Use a grapefruit spoon or melon baller to scoop out the seeds. So much easier than using a regular spoon!
Pick squash that are about the same size. This will ensure they will be done roasting at the same time.
Use fresh herbs. I also tested this recipe with poultry seasoning (a mixture of dried sage, thyme, rosemary etc.) and it just didn’t have the same effect. Fresh is the way to go!
How to reheat
I find the easiest way to reheat this dish is in the microwave. Heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring the quinoa filling once partway.
You could also reheat in the oven at 350°F for about 20 minutes, or until heated through. I suggest covering the stuffed squash with foil so the quinoa doesn’t dry out.
How to make ahead
To make this dish ahead of time, you can roast the squash and cook the quinoa stuffing the day before, then assemble just before reheating. Follow the instructions in the recipe to roast the squash until fork tender, set aside to cool to room temperature, then store covered in the refrigerator. Do the same for the quinoa stuffing.
Just before serving, scoop the quinoa stuffing into the squash halves, place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover with foil, and heat in the oven at 350°F for 20 minutes or until completely heated through. Broil for the last 3-5 minutes, if desired.
More vegan holiday recipes
- Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad
- Green Bean Casserole
- Instant Pot Butternut Squash Soup
- Instant Pot Cranberry Sauce
- Roasted Green Beans and Potatoes
Vegan Stuffed Acorn Squash
For the squash
- 3 small/medium acorn squash
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon real maple syrup
- kosher salt
For the quinoa stuffing
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion, small dice
- 2 stalks celery, small dice
- ⅓ cup chopped fresh sage
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
- ¾ cup uncooked quinoa
- 1 ½ cups vegetable broth (or 1.5 teaspoons Vegetable Better Than Bouillon + 1.5 cups water)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon real maple syrup
- ⅓ cup dried cranberries
- ⅓ cup chopped walnuts (can sub dry roasted pepitas for a nut-free option)
- freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
- Preheat the oven to 400 °F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Slice a small piece off the top and bottom of each squash so they can sit upright, then slice them in half width-wise (not through the stem). This will result in a pretty scalloped edge. Scrape out the seeds.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil and maple syrup. Place the squash halves on the baking sheet and brush the flesh side with the oil/maple mixture, then season generously with kosher salt. Turn upside down (skin side up) and roast for 25 minutes or until the squash is fork tender.
- Meanwhile, make the quinoa stuffing. In a large non-stick skillet with a lid, heat the olive oil over medium heat, then sauté the celery and onion until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the fresh sage, rosemary and thyme and and continue to sauté for about a minute until fragrant.
- Add the uncooked quinoa and mix until well combined, then pour in the broth. Mix in the garlic powder and kosher salt. Cover and bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to low, keeping it covered, and continue to simmer for 20 minutes. At the end of the cooking time, remove the skillet from the heat and keep it covered for 10 minutes to steam.
- Fluff the quinoa with a fork or wooden spoon, then add the apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, dried cranberries and chopped walnuts. Mix until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Evenly divide quinoa stuffing among the 6 squash halves, then return the stuffed squash to the oven and broil for for 2-3 minutes to crisp up the top layer of quinoa. Serve immediately. Store leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator and eat within 4 days.
Hey, I’m Laura!
Creator of The Recipe Well
I love food and cooking, but hate doing the dishes. I use my nutrition degree to create easy, approachable recipes that will help you find your happy place in the kitchen.