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This Stuffed Acorn Squash makes a beautiful and filling vegetarian main course. It would be an excellent dinner for a holiday feast, like Thanksgiving, or really anytime you can get your hands on this winter squash. It’s SO EASY and delicious!

stuffed acorn squash makes a great vegetarian dinner

Benefits of Acorn Squash

Acorn squash is loaded with antioxidants, like beta-carotene, which may help lower the risk of heart disease and cancer, and it’s also a good source of vitamin C.

This winter squash also packs plenty of fiber (nearly 40% of the daily recommendation) and is bursting with essential minerals, like magnesium and potassium, which are thought to promote healthy bones and blood pressure.

Why You’ll Love It

This nutrient-rich squash roasts to tender perfection while you prepare the quinoa stuffing on the stove, so it’s a relatively hands-off part of the meal, but it makes for an impressive presentation. I love the contrast of textures and flavors when you put it all together with the stuffing!

how to roast acorn squash in the oven

Speaking of the stuffing, this easy quinoa stuffing has all the traditional “stuffing flavor” you love, without using bread. It’s perfect for those who need a gluten-free side dish for Thanksgiving or Christmas, and as an added bonus it’s loaded with plant-based protein.

healthy quinoa stuffing recipe

I love using quinoa in recipes because it’s a gluten-free pseudo grain that contains all the essential amino acids your body needs. (No matter where you get your protein from, whether it’s meat, beans, or quinoa, your body has to break down that protein into amino acids so it can build the type of protein it can actually utilize.)

Quinoa is quick-cooking, ready in just about 15 minutes, so it’s also faster to prepare than my popular Wild Rice & Mushroom Stuffing.

I hope you’ll enjoy this comforting vegan dinner on a cold night. I think it would be a great make-ahead meal if you want to reheat it later, or you could even enjoy it chilled as a packed lunch.

quinoa stuffing in roasted acorn squash for a vegan dinner

stuffed acorn squash makes a great vegetarian dinner

Stuffed Acorn Squash (Vegetarian!)

4.75 from 4 votes
This Stuffed Squash recipe makes a great vegan or vegetarian dinner. It's stuffed with a protein-packed quinoa stuffing, which can be made in advance for an easier holiday meal.
prep10 mins cook45 mins total55 mins


  • 3 acorn squash
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion , chopped
  • 3 stalks celery , chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic , minced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh sage , minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 8 ounces mushrooms , sliced
  • 1 cup quinoa , rinsed
  • 2 cups water
  • black pepper , to taste
  • 3/4 cup pecans , chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (juice sweetened)


  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Slice the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Arrange the squash on a large baking sheet cut-side-up, and sprinkle each have generously with salt and pepper. Bake the squash until tender and easily pierced with a fork, about 45 minutes. 
  • While the squash is cooking, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and sauté the onion and celery until it starts to soften, about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic, sage, and thyme, and sauté one more minute, just until fragrant. 
  • Add in the mushrooms, quinoa, and water, and bring the water to a boil. Once boiling, cover the pan with a lid and lower the heat, allowing the quinoa to cook until tender, and the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. 
  • Remove the stuffing from the heat and stir in the chopped pecans and dried cranberries, if using. When the squash is tender, fill each half with a heaping scoop of stuffing and serve warm. Season with black pepper, if desired. 
  • If you have any leftovers, I prefer to store them separately for easier reheating later. To reheat, warm the squash in the oven for 15 minutes at 350ºF, and while that is heating stir the quinoa in a skillet over medium heat until heated through. 



Calories: 352kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 418mg | Potassium: 1174mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 995IU | Vitamin C: 29mg | Calcium: 131mg | Iron: 3.9mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Stuffed Acorn Squash with Vegan Quinoa Stuffing

Recipe Notes:

  • This dish is properly combined as a STARCH dish if you leave out the cranberries and pecans, but I like to add them in when serving company as I think those additions add a really amazing taste and texture. (And obviously, leave off the pecans if you need a nut-free recipe!)
  • This recipe is easily adaptable, so feel free to swap out the veggies or seasonings in the stuffing, and then just adjust the taste as you go.
  • Need a grain-free alternative? Try using cauliflower rice instead of quinoa. (You won’t need as much water in this case.)
  • For a lighter alternative, you could also fill portobello mushroom shells instead of a winter squash. (I’d use this Baked Portobello Mushroom recipe to prepare the mushroom shells.)

As always, if you make any modifications to this recipe, please leave a comment below letting us know what worked for you. We can all benefit from your experience!

Reader Feedback: Do you have a favorite vegan or vegetarian dinner that you like to serve at a holiday like Thanksgiving? Feel free to share links to your favorites in the comments below!


Megan Gilmore leaning on her white countertop.

Megan Gilmore

Hi, I’m Megan. A former fast food junkie turned best-selling cookbook author. I create healthy recipes made with simple ingredients to make your life easier.

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  1. Once again, perfection! Our guests loved this dish! I did add vegan sausage and paired this with the cranberry relish. SOOO good.

  2. I made this as a meatless Monday entree back in November. My husband just asked for it again. He said, Hey what about that Acorn quinoa dish! We will have a salad with it and will be set.

  3. Oh boy, another awesome recipe from Megan. I made this for my dinner last night. I roasted the acorn squash the night before, so on the day of I just made the filling which was super easy and yummy!…… thank you for such a great recipe. Next I’ll make the kabocha recipe!

  4. I can’t eat mushrooms (or cauliflower) due to a manitol intolerance. What would you substitute the mushrooms for?

  5. I am the only GF person in my family, and as a vegetarian, I knew my Thanksgiving meal at my family’s was going to be rather sparse, so I decided to make myself an entree to bring. This was definitely the least sad Thanksgiving I have had in a decade. I gave it four stars since the acorn squash tasted like acorn squash, which I always forget I find uninspiring. The filling, however, was quite tasty. Good flavor and texture. I had a lot left over since no one in my family would try ITV and I froze the stuffing and really hope it thaws well when I am back on nuts. I also scooped out the rest of the acorn squash, sautéed It with some shallots and dumped in a box of Trader Joe’s carrot ginger soup, topped it with some toasted nut oil (maybe walnut?) and some fried sage, and it was pretty darn delicious. And, although I would make it again, next year I really want to try the parsnip stuffing on this site.

    1. I like to cut the roasted acorn squash into cubes and stir it into the completed quinoa mixture. I live alone so I use 1 squash rather than 3 and eat all week. You can eat it cold with lettuce or warm it and eat as is.

  6. I’d like to make the quinoa stuffing for the stuffed Acorn Squash in my InstaPot. Any suggestions on how long to cook it?

    1. Quinoa cooks for 1 minute in the Instant Pot, with a 1:1 ratio of dry quinoa to water. Let the pressure naturally release for 15 minutes before removing the lid.

  7. I’m wanting to include more vegetarian meals for my family, but I also want to make sure there is enough protein. Do you have the nutritional facts somewhere?


  8. Hello,
    I really love the look of this. Do you have any suggestions as to what else to have with it? I assume a salad, but not sure of what kind would go along with this.
    It’s to serve guests, so something else on the plate would be nice.

    Thanks for any advice.