Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash

Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash

February 15, 2011


The day after Valentine’s Day. Also known as the day all Valentine’s Day candy goes on clearance. And stores start selling Easter candy (though I noticed they’ve already been selling it for weeks!). I’m trying to avoid CVS and all other Valentine’s Day candy-selling spots today. Wish me luck.

Trust me, I totally indulged yesterday during my Valentine’s Day dinner 🙂 I had the most amazing meal at one of my favorite spots in Brookline, The Fireplace. I always love it there, but for some reason, dinner last night was extra good. Chris and I started by indulging in a cheese plate (we can never help ourselves!) and it was the perfect way to start our meal. Then I ordered the braised beef short ribs for dinner. They were super tender and incredibly flavorful and I ate almost every bite (the cheesy cornmeal porridge, baby carrots, and garlicky broccoli were delicious, too). But I was still slightly jealous of Chris’s lobster bisque and lobster mac and cheese. He claims it was the best lobster mac and cheese he’s ever had. I confirm. And dessert? Apple cider doughnuts with 3 dipping sauces (apple cider, salted caramel, and chocolate). So yes, I ate a lot. Clearly, I woke up thinking about this meal, too… And I haven’t stopped.

Anyway, as much as I hate to admit it, tonight might call for something a bit lighter. I am absolutely obsessed with this recipe for quinoa-stuffed acorn squash (inspired by a combination of recipes I found, including ATX Gluten-Free… I don’t think I added any gluten to the recipe, so it’s still gluten-free!) and it’s perfect for eating a bit lighter without sacrificing flavor. I never think I’ll be satisfied with salad and vegetables for dinner, but quinoa does it to me every time! I could be happy eating it every night. Make this. And make any alterations or additions you want. I love this salad because anything goes.

Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash:

• 1 acorn squash
• 1 T butter
• 1 C quinoa
• 2 C chicken/veggie stock or broth (reduced sodium)
• 1 T extra virgin olive oil
• 1 small yellow onion, chopped finely
• 4 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 habanero peppers, chopped finely (remove seeds for less heat)
• 1/2 C mushrooms, chopped
• 2 C spinach, uncooked
• 1/2 feta, crumbled
• 1 T parsley, chopped
• 1 T fresh lemon juice

(Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees)


Start by slicing your acorn squash in half. You’ll need a sharp knife to do so. Trust me.

Once sliced (albeit perhaps unevenly), scoop out all the seeds.


Sprinkle with a little bit of salt and pepper and put 1/2 T butter in each squash half.

Place on a baking tray and roast at 375 degrees for about 45 minutes. Make sure squash is tender to the fork upon removal (otherwise, stick it back in the oven for a few more minutes).


In the meantime, start cooking your quinoa, according to directions. You can use water, but I find chicken stock/broth to be a bit more flavorful. I generally try to get low-sodium, so I can control levels of salt. And, of course, use vegetable broth if you want to keep this dish vegetarian-friendly.


While the quinoa is cooking and the squash is roasting, pour your extra virgin olive oil into a skillet over medium heat. Sauté mushrooms, onion, garlic, and habaneros until they’re slightly browned, about 7-10 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper to taste and squeeze lemon juice over.


Now, turn heat to low and add the cooked quinoa to the veggie mixture. Throw in 2 cups of spinach and stir to combine and wilt spinach a bit.


Add in feta cheese and parsley here, as well. Save a little of each for topping, if you want.


Your acorn squash should be looking beautiful by now.


Spoon quinoa mixture into acorn squash halves and top with a little extra feta. And parsley too, if you desire.


This is the kind of salad I could eat all day, every day. And it gets total bonus points for coming in an edible bowl. I loved taking a bite of the quinoa and then digging my fork into the squash. I swear, if you’re going to eat healthy this is the way to do it! I kind of want to add artichokes or sun-dried tomatoes to this next time. Or dried cranberries. The options are endless!


I was super full and satisfied when I was done with my squash. And I felt pretty good about myself, too.

It’s likely that you’ll have some leftover quinoa, too, which means you can have it for lunch the next day.


And that’s the kind of meal I need tonight. You?

Enjoy! And now I’m off to indulge in these:

reesesminis 2.jpg

What? I said I wouldn’t buy any more Valentine’s Day candy. I didn’t say I wouldn’t snack on what I already had 🙂

If you live in Boston or anywhere in New England, be sure to tune into Chronicle on Channel 5 at 7:30 p.m. tonight. Chels and I filmed a little piece for them at the Porter Square Exchange in Cambridge. Full disclosure: Depending on how they edited the piece, there could be awkward shots of us eating huge pieces of sushi… Who knew sushi wasn’t the best on-camera food?

Head here to see a little preview of tonight’s show!

Did you over-indulge in Valentine’s Day? And what candy deals have you found today??


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42 Responses to "Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash"

  1. Jessica says:

    I love stuffed acorn squash. Yummy! Looks extremely similar to my recipe, besides the peppers and spinach!

  2. Sues says:

    Jessica- I must have looked at at least 10 quinoa acorn squash recipes when I got my squash/quinoa craving (which happens regularly!) and yours was TOTALLY one that I looked at. I’m going to add a link to you, since you were part of my inspiration 🙂 Awesome recipe, and I love the idea of pine nuts!

  3. holy yum! your Valentine’s Dinner sounds fab, but you’ve got me drooling with this guy!

  4. Monique says:

    i havent had acorn squash in TWO LONG years!
    sometimes i love looking at the ingredients pic because we buy a lot of the same thigns (im a food dork LOL)

  5. Holy mother of Christmas, that sounds aaaaaamazing. I might have to get on this, stat.

  6. Erica says:

    Congrats on the news feature! That is super exciting. And your dinner sounds AMAZING! I would have been all over that lobster mac and cheese- yum yum! I love stuffed squash of all varieties. This looks fab. I am actually thinking of hitting up CVS to get some candy 🙂 I didn’t really indulge 😉

  7. Mmm…those look great! I also love making rice/bean stuffed bell peppers. So fun to have the dish/bowl edible!

  8. I got a box of some AMAZING truffles at Beacon Hill Chocolates and I definitely had way too many last night!

  9. Nicole says:

    Your Valentine’s Day meal sounds fantastic! The dipping sauces! We went out for gelato after dinner and shared 3 flavors-sea salt caramel, raspberry lavender and chocolate cocoa nib. It was sooo good.

    Love the healthy option meal! Sounds like a nice follow-up to overindulgence.

  10. Elizabeth says:

    Quinoa, feta and squash sound sooo good together. Did you take pics of your Fireplace meal? I MUST try those cider donuts you mentioned.

  11. Love the healthy contrast to V-day sugar madness. I did broccoli chips on my blog- hey, a girl’s gotta have her roughage.

  12. Victoria says:

    I’ve been to the Fireplace once for lunch and I remember enjoying it. Glad you guys had a great meal 🙂 I love quinoa and winter squash, so the idea of stuffing one in the other definitely has my attention, haha. Great looking recipe.

  13. Sharlene says:

    Your Valentine’s dinner sounds sooooo yummy! As does this quinoa. I can’t step away from squash for some reason.

  14. Sues says:

    Elizabeth- You know me, I always photography my awesome restaurant meals 🙂 But since it was Valentine’s Day, I was trying to refrain from pulling out the camera every course… I do kind of regret it now. The doughnuts were awesome!! Such a unique idea on their part!

  15. Really good content all the best! Keep Working! =)

  16. Juliana says:

    Wow, this stuffed acorn with quinoa looks delicious, perfect meal 🙂

  17. Hey TV celebrities! 🙂 Congratulations on the show, VERY exciting! We had a very low key Valentine’s Day due to a crazy weekend and a late work night on Sunday. It was nice, takeout, Big Love, and early to bed!

  18. Bridget says:

    Congrats on Chronicle! So cool!! Your dinner looks deliciously healthy and I’ve been looking for some good quinoa recipes 🙂

  19. Jessica says:

    Hey you amazing TV Celebs! Watching y’all today was awesome! And this sounds amazing! I can not wait to try it! 🙂

  20. This looks like a terrific “detox” meal to me! I have a major weakness on post-holiday candy sales so I need to stay out of CVS for a few days;-)

  21. Elizabeth says:

    I figured that was the case 😉 Guess I’ll just have to go get them for myself! By the way, after reading this post, I checked out the Fireplace’s dessert menu. Holy wow. I want everything on it.

  22. peachkins says:

    I have yet to experience cooking with Quinoa..this looks super fantastic!

  23. emily says:

    your squash looks delish! and i love quinoa so much, i’m sure i would love this recipe. 🙂

    i’m totally going to see if target has any more dark chocolate on clearance!

  24. yum, that look super delicious and filling too!! I really love those little miniature reese’s esp. the dark chocolate ones yum!

  25. I love doing stuffed squash because it’s such a filling, healthy entree. And, of course, I’m a huge fan of quinoa… always seems to leave me satisfied!

  26. Loved this recipe! I roasted the squash at 425 to soften it up a bit. Will become a Fall staple! Will share with veggie loving friends! Thank you!

  27. Kimberly says:

    I just made this recipe tonight for dinner, and boy was it delicious. Thanks so much for the great recipe and a terrific dinner!

  28. Melissa says:

    This recipe was amazing!!! I loved it.

  29. Natasha says:

    I too loved this recipe!!!

    Modifications: Ditch the habanero and replace it with 1 jalapeno pepper (that way you might have a chance in hell of getting your kids to eat it). Add 1/4 cup of pumpkin puree to the quinoa mixture (some creamy goodness without the calories). Add chopped garlic and onion powder to the acorn squash before roasting. Double the lemon juice.

  30. Julia says:

    Thanks to you, we had a fabulous Fall Meatless Monday meal last night! I also made a few modifications: doubled the lemon juice, doubled the mushrooms, reduced the quinoa to 3/4 cup, then added some dried cranberries (we had a random snack package of Craisins), and added about 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts. Yum!
    PS. My husband thanks you for the Habaneros- I left in the seeds. Wow!

  31. Christy says:

    This was delicious! Thank you!!!

  32. This looks great! We are trying it tomorrow. Yum, thanks for sharing!

  33. cj says:

    Just found your recipe while browsing for some new quinoa recipes, and have my squash stuffed and ready for dinner tonight. I don’t eat cheese, so i modified a bit, and it is delicious. I sauteed half of the onion and garlic and added it to the veg broth while cooking the quinoa to up the flavor there a bit. Then I cooked the other half with the mushrooms and added TJ soy chorizo. It sounds like you ate your cold or room temp as a salad? I’m planning to bake these before serving. Amazing! Thanks!

  34. Sarah says:

    Made this tonight and it was amazing. All of the flavors blended perfectly together! Thanks so much 🙂

  35. Jenn Rivers says:

    I found this recipe because I had gotten an acorn squash from my local CSA share and needed a way to use it up. I tried this last night and it was sooooooo good! I changed it slightly due to lack of a few ingredients. Instead of habanero peppers i used a jalapeno. I swapped mushrooms for chopped zucchini and i didnt add any parsley. It still came out amazing! I will be saving this one for the recipe book. 🙂

  36. Callie says:

    Made this tonight and it was definitely the most impressive looking thing I’ve made recently. Love the fall flavors! I omitted the feta and pepper, added some cumin and chile powder and it was really good and healthy! The parsley was a little strong (I may have added too much), but it was still awesome!

  37. Lex says:

    Just made this for dinner and really enjoyed it! I omitted the mushroom, habaneros, and fresh parsley (didn’t have any on hand), but added red bell pepper. Delicious and healthy 🙂

  38. Brantlee says:

    I made this tonight. I added ground turkey meat since i was making 3 acorn squash and only put the habanero pepper in my husbands. It was DELISH! Even the kids loved it!

  39. Raegan says:

    I am going to be trying this recipe tonight but don’t want the feta. Would mozzarella work just as well? Also using a homemade salsa instead of the habanero.

  40. Sues says:

    Raegan- Yes! I think mozzarella would be great. Let me know how it is 🙂

  41. Adina says:

    This was a great recipe. I made this for dinner and my boyfriend loved it. Finding recipes like this are making him eat more vegetables.

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