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.
If you like this vegetarian/vegan main course, you might also like:
Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers with Millet and Black Beans
I know my family is doing absolutely nothing to prepare for my new vegetarian-ness so if I want to be able to eat something, I have to make it myself! I would be SO incredibly happy to gobble this down on T-Day!
Joanne – I know you will make something absolutely fabulous for Thanksgiving,and I bet your your family will so impressed they’ll want some and wonder what this vegetarian-ness is all about. Happy Thanksgiving!
Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. says
these are fabulous. Putting this on my Facebook fan page today
Thanks Alison, and thanks for sharing this! Happy Thanksgiving!
juniakk @ mis pensamientos says
i love the quinoa pilaf with acorn squash! my favorite ingredients in one dish. 🙂 i seriously eat quinoa EVERY DAY. 🙂
Junia – you are a quinoa girl!
Those are GORGEOUS! And I know they would taste just as good as they look.
Thanks Sommer! Cooking the quinoa in broth definitely bumps up the flavor in the stuffing, and I just loved the color of the acorn squash I found at the market.
Cookin' Canuck says
Even though I’m not vegetarian, I think I would be begging for one of these pretty stuffed squash. I’m bookmarking this for a future meatless meal.
Thanks Dara – this is a nice meatless entree – I think next time I might even add some chestnuts or lentils.
Squash Blossom Babies says
That looks wonderful! A perfect treat for Thanksgiving!
Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) says
Red quinoa isn’t all that easy to find in my part of the world, so last time I saw it in a gourmet shop, I bought a good supply. The color seems to perk up every dish it’s in, even though you could substitute regular quinoa with no change in the flavor.
I know red and black quinoa don’t taste any different than white, but I’m the same as you, the color is so much more vibrant. I’ve seen it at Trader Joe’s if you have one where you live.
This looks delicious! I didn’t know there was even such a thing as red quinoa!
Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen says
What an elegant side, dish so pretty!
Kim - Cook It Allergy Free says
Oh my are those squash beautiful. I, too, always have a couple meat free options for some of our guests. And I also always make one of my stuffings sans the sausage. I hope you and your family have a wonderful gluten-free and dairy-free Thanksgiving! 😉
Laura @ GFPantry says
Beautiful pictures! This recipe looks amazing!
Vegetarian or not, I just love the ingredients in this dish – and the red quinoa looks so pretty inside the squash… Happy Thanksgiving Jeanette. May your family have a blessed time together.
France @ Beyond The Peel says
What a beautiful dish. Heck we’d eat this any day of the week. We definitely wouldn’t wait for a special holiday for this dish to make it to our table. The best part is that is simple enough for the everyday but elegant enough for guests..
Jeanette, this is such a wonderful way to prepare quinoa. Love the acorn squash bowls 🙂
Thanks Marla, acorn squash are so pretty, i love to use them as bowls for this quinoa pilaf or for soup.
Petra Maria Scheid says
looks delicous – i m vegetarien mostly
so ty for inspiration