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Sweet & Nutty Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

stuffed acorn squash
stuffed acorn squash...a simple, balanced meal

This stuffed acorn squash is perfect as a simple, balanced meal all on its own – or it can be a great addition to your Thanksgiving dinner as a side dish.

Acorn squash (Cucurbita pepo) is a wonderful fall veggie that is an excellent source of many essential nutrients. This fall/winter squash provides vitamin C, necessary for normal growth and development, collagen formation, wound healing, and aids the absorption of iron, among other things (1) (2). Acorn squash is also an excellent source of carotenoids like beta-carotene and lutein, beneficial pro-vitamin A compounds important for eye health (1).

Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) is a seed that when cooked is crunchy with a nutty flavor. Quinoa is a complete protein source and a good source of vitamins and minerals like folate (B9) important for tissue growth and DNA production, manganese, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, and zinc which plays a role in protein and DNA synthesis, growth and development, wound healing, and immune function (3) (4). This seed is also rich in antioxidants like quercetin and kaempferol that help prevent oxidative damage and protect against chronic disease (5).

Pecans (Carya illinoinensis) are tree nuts that have a rich buttery flavor and are a good source of fiber, copper involved in nerve cell function and the production of red blood cells, vitamin B1 (thiamine) which is necessary for converting carbohydrates into energy to help fuel the body, and zinc (6).

The recipe:

Acorn Squash Ingredients:

2 medium acorn squash, halved and seeded

4 tsp. avocado oil (or melted grass-fed butter)

½ tsp. cinnamon, ground

sea salt and black pepper to taste

Quinoa Ingredients:

½ cup quinoa, uncooked

1 ¼ cup water

2 sprigs fresh thyme leaves

¼ tsp. turmeric

¼ tsp. sea salt

1 tsp. avocado oil (or butter)

½ cup lemon juice

1/3 cup cranberries, dried

½ cup pecans, chopped


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Using your hands, rub 1 tsp. of avocado oil (butter) and sea salt onto each squash top half. Sprinkle cinnamon on the top of each half. Place flesh side down on the lined baking sheet and roast in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes, or until squash is tender. In a large saucepan add the quinoa, water, and thyme and cook over medium-high heat. Once boiling, reduce the heat (low) and cook covered for about 15 minutes. Remove thyme sprigs. Stir in avocado oil (butter), lemon juice, spices, and combine. Add the cranberries and pecans and stir to combine. Stuff the acorn squash, evenly, with the quinoa mixture, and bake for about 10 minutes. (Serves 4)


Here’s another stuffed-acorn squash recipe.

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