This recipe for Roasted Acorn Squash Stuffed with Quinoa Mushroom Pilaf is a great vegetarian and vegan option for the holiday season. During the holiday season when menus are full of turkeys, hams and roasts, it can feel challenging coming up with a vegetarian or vegan main course that doesn’t feel like an after thought. These beautiful stuffed acorn squashes are elegant and colorful, and will make any guest feel special. They also happen to be gluten-free.
When I entertain, I like everyone to feel included and to have plenty of food to eat. A number of years ago, we had house guests, one of whom was vegetarian. At the time, I was completely new to vegetarian cooking. Fortunately, I knew how to make some Chinese dishes using tofu, but it made me realize there was a whole world of cooking out there that I knew little about, that went way beyond tofu. You see, vegetarians hate it when they ask if there’s anything vegetarian on a menu and they are pointed to the roasted vegetables or a salad. Yes, vegetarians and vegans eat vegetables, but they need protein too.
So, I came up with this Roasted Acorn Squash Stuffed with Quinoa Mushroom Pilaf as a vegetarian or vegan main course. Quinoa is a complete protein, so this elegantly presented dish could easily take the place of turkey for any vegetarian or vegan guests. Of course, once your non-vegan friends see this beautiful dish, they will want some too.
Roasted Acorn Squash Stuffed with Quinoa Mushroom Pilaf
- 3 medium acorn squash halved lengthwise, seeds removed
- olive oil for brushing acorn squash
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil divided
- 1 onion finely chopped, divided
- 1 cup quinoa rinsed well and drained
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup water
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 1/2 cups mushrooms finely chopped
- 2 stalks celery finely chopped
- 4 leaves sage minced
- 1/2 cup toasted pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Brush tops and inside of squash cavity lightly with olive oil. Season lightly with salt.
Roast in oven until fork tender, about 45 minutes to an hour. Roasting time will depend on the size of your squash.
Remove from oven and set aside.
While acorn squash is roasting, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a saucepan. Add half the onion and cook until softened, about 2-3 minutes. Add the quinoa, broth, water and thyme, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and cook, covered, until liquid has been absorbed, about 15-20 minutes.
In a skillet, heat remaining tablespoon of oil, and add rest of onion, mushrooms, celery and sage. Saute until vegetables are soft and no more liquid from mushrooms remains.
Toss mushroom mixture with cooked quinoa, along with pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Stuff acorn squash halves with Quinoa Pilaf.
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