Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

November 8, 2022

If you are looking for a hearty and delicious holiday recipe that also happens to be gut-healthy friendly, then look no further, because this is it! This Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash is perfectly festive, rich in flavor, and is a delicious vegetarian-friendly option to serve your friends and family, this holiday season. Plus, it’s also gluten-free!

A tray of the quinoa stuffed acorn squash, laid out on a parchment lined baking sheet

Friends, it is officially November, which means two things are true: first, my debut cookbook, LOVE TO EAT, is officially out in the world! Can you even believe it?! It has been a labor of love, the past two years, bringing this book to life, and I couldn’t be more thrilled that it is finally here. If you haven’t picked up your copy yet, it is available now wherever books are sold, and includes over 75+ BRAND NEW recipes.

But the second thing that rings true for November, is that it’s officially time for ALL of the Thanksgiving recipes! I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love both creating (and eating!) Thanksgiving food. There’s something so comforting and nostalgic about the flavors of this time of year, and now that my book is finally out in the world, I feel like I can truly sink all into Thanksgiving and enjoy it to the fullest. Holidays, here I come!

And because I do the holidays Kalejunkie style, of course, this recipe is not only loaded with healthy, gluten-free, vegan-friendly ingredients, but it is also GUT HEALTHY as well. What makes it gut healthy, you may ask? Well, it is loaded with not 2, not 3, but 7 different gut-healthy ingredients that have been scientifically proven to have a beneficial impact on our gut health. Don’t believe me? Just ask my friends at Seed, and their handy Periodic Table of Microbiome-Friendly Foods. This periodic table shows the most beneficial ingredients for supporting our gut health. And luckily, some of my favorite ingredients were on the list.

A tray of the quinoa stuffed acorn squash, sitting on a counter alongside a bottle of the Seed Daily Synbiotic

Why Maintaining a Healthy Gut is So Important

For this post, I am so excited to be partnering with my friends at Seed, the maker of the amazing DS-01™ Daily Synbiotic, to bring you this gut-healthy holiday recipe. If you haven’t tried Seed yet, then let me be the first to tell you: it is an absolute game changer, and that’s because it’s both a 24-strain probiotic and plant-based prebiotic rolled into one. And, not to mention, the capsule is made with two layers, so that the inner probiotic capsule actually makes it to your colon (and eventually the small intestine) intact.

Most probiotics on the market die in your stomach, thanks to our stomach acids and such, rendering them ineffective. And, the Seed Daily Synbiotic contains 53.6 Billion AFU, which means it’s powerful AF. Like all things in life, you can’t take a supplement for a day and expect it to work a miracle. Be consistent and commit to supporting your gut health. Trust me – it’s worth it.

If you want to try Seed for yourself, use code KALEJUNKIE15 for 15% off your first month’s supply.

An image of the quinoa stuffed acorn squash, laid out on a baking sheet

But back to why gut health is important. Did you know that the gut is responsible for breaking down the food we eat, absorbing the nutrients from it, and using those nutrients to support our body’s many different functions? It’s true!

There are many different ways that we can work to maintain a healthy gut, from eating a diet rich in real, whole foods, to taking the right supplements. And when I say supplements, I really mean taking a quality probiotic. Because let’s be honest, probiotics = life (literally!) Your gut is full of good bacteria, and probiotics (as well as prebiotics) ensure that your gut is able to reproduce all of that good bacteria that it needs.

What You Need to Make This Gut-Healthy Holiday Recipe

  • Olive Oil: Olive oil is one of the best sources of healthy fats, which our gut needs! You could also use avocado oil here, but olive oil is the gut-healthier option.
  • Acorn Squash: Acorn squashes are not only in-season, but are wildly abundant this time of year! **
  • Shallot: Shallots may look small, but they are mighty! A relative of the onion, shallots are loaded with Vitamins A and C, are full of fiber, and also contain antioxidants to help your gut.
  • Garlic: Fresh garlic is king in this recipe, and adds the most delicious flavor.
  • Celery: Celery has a high water content which can help keep us hydrated. But in addition, it also contained both soluble and insoluble fiber, which helps to support our gut and digestive tract and keep us feeling “regular”.
  • Seasonings: In this recipe, we’ll be using a blend of dried thyme, rosemary, sage, and cinnamon. Yum!
  • Quinoa: Did you know that quinoa can help your gut produce more of the good bacteria that it needs? It’s true! Because of some of the different enzymes in quinoa, it can have an almost probiotic-like effect in your gut, helping to feed the good bacteria and even produce more!
  • Vegetable Broth: You can use store bought or homemade broth in this recipe.
  • Sea Salt & Black Pepper: A little sea salt and black pepper go a long way. Don’t skip this!
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: Apple Cider Vinegar is a fermented food, which contains the good bacteria that your gut needs to thrive.
  • Pepitas: Pepitas, aka pumpkin seeds, are a great source of fiber and can help promote good digestive health. Plus, they’re also high in Zinc, which is an enzyme that your digestive tract thrives off of!
  • Dried Cranberries: Dried cranberries add the perfect amount of sweetness to this dish, without making it overly sweet.
  • Fresh Rosemary: This is optional, but I highly recommend it. Not only does it make this recipe smell absolutely delicious, but it also makes for the perfect garnish!
A close-up image of the quinoa stuffed acorn squashes, laid out on a baking sheet

How to Make This Hearty Vegan & Gluten-Free Dish

To make this Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash, start by preheating your oven to 400 F and lining a baking sheet with parchment paper. Then, set aside.

Next, prepare your squash. Slice a small piece off the top and bottom of each squash so they can sit upright, then slice them in half width-wise, being sure not to cut through the stem. If you get stuck, refer to the video above!

Then, place the squash halves onto the baking sheet and brush the flesh side of each one with olive oil, and season generously with salt. Once they’re prepped, turn them upside down (so that the skin side is up) and roast them for 25 minutes or until they are fork tender.

While the squash is roasting, prepare the quinoa filling. In a large pot on the stove over medium heat, add the olive oil, and sauté the shallot, garlic, and celery until it’s softened. This should take about 4 minutes. 

Then, add in the dried thyme, rosemary, sage and cinnamon, and and continue to sauté for about a minute, until it’s fragrant. Once it is, add in the quinoa and stir until it’s fully incorporated, followed by the vegetable broth. Finally, add in the sea salt and black pepper, then cover and bring your quinoa mixture to a boil.

Once it’s boiling, turn the heat down to low, making sure to keep the pot covered, and continue to simmer for approximately 20 minutes.

When it’s done, use a fork to fluff the quinoa, then add in the apple cider vinegar, pepitas, and dried cranberries. Mix until well combined, then taste and adjust salt & pepper levels, as desired.

Finally, remove your squash from the oven and divide the quinoa stuffing among the 6 squash halves. Then, return the stuffed squash to the oven and broil for for 2-3 minutes to crisp up the top layer of quinoa.

Once your squash is done, remove it from the oven, serve, and enjoy! Garnish with chopped fresh rosemary if desired, and store any leftovers in an airtight container, in the fridge, for up to four days.

Ready to Try out Seed? Let’s do This Thing!

If you are interested in trying out Seed, I’ve linked it for you, and you can use code KALEJUNKIE15 at checkout to save 15% off your first month’s supply of Seed’s Daily Synbiotic. I can’t wait to hear how Seed is working for you, so if you decide to try it out, be sure to come back and leave a comment below!

**This post is sponsored by Seed. However, all information and opinions shared in this post are 100% my own. I share only products and services that are a part of my life and that I wholeheartedly love. 
** Photography by Gayle McLeod
A tray of the quinoa stuffed acorn squash, laid out on a parchment lined baking sheet
Dairy Free/gluten-free/Nut Free/Paleo/Refined Sugar Free/Vegan

Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

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Nicole Modic
SERVES 6 Servings
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If you are looking for a hearty and delicious holiday recipe that also happens to be gut-healthy friendly, then look no further, because this is it! This Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash is perfectly festive, rich in flavor, and is a delicious vegetarian-friendly option to serve your friends and family, this holiday season. Plus, it's also gluten-free!

Ingredients

For the Acorn Squash:

  • 3 Small / Medium Acorn Squash
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Pinch Sea Salt

For the Quinoa Stuffing

  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Large Shallot diced
  • 2 Cloves Garlic minced
  • 2 Stalks Celery finely diced
  • 1 Tablespoon Dried Thyme
  • 1 Tablespoon Dried Rosemary
  • 1 Teaspoon Dried Sage
  • 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 2 Cups Quinoa
  • 3 1/2 Cups Vegetable Broth
  • 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/2 Cup Pepitas
  • 1/3 Cup Dried Cranberries
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Rosemary chopped; this is optional, for garnishing

Instructions

  • Start by preheating your oven to 400 F and lining a baking sheet with parchment paper. Then, set aside.
  • Next, prepare your squash. Slice a small piece off the top and bottom of each squash so they can sit upright, then slice them in half width-wise, being sure not to cut through the stem. If you get stuck, refer to the video above!
  • Then, place the squash halves onto the baking sheet and brush the flesh side of each one with olive oil, and season generously with salt.
  • Once they’re prepped, turn them upside down (so that the skin side is up) and roast them for 25 minutes or until they are fork tender.
  • While the squash is roasting, prepare the quinoa filling. In a large pot on the stove over medium heat, add the olive oil, and sauté the shallot, garlic, and celery until it’s softened. This should take about 4 minutes. 
  • Then, add in the dried thyme, rosemary, sage and cinnamon, and and continue to sauté for about a minute, until it’s fragrant.
  • Once it is, add in the quinoa and stir until it’s fully incorporated, followed by the vegetable broth.
  • Finally, add in the sea salt and black pepper, then cover and bring your quinoa mixture to a boil.
  • Once it’s boiling, turn the heat down to low, making sure to keep the pot covered, and continue to simmer for approximately 20 minutes.
  • When it’s done, use a fork to fluff the quinoa, then add in the apple cider vinegar, pepitas, and dried cranberries.
  • Mix until well combined, then taste and adjust salt & pepper levels, as desired.
  • Finally, remove your squash from the oven and divide the quinoa stuffing among the 6 squash halves. 
  • Then, return the stuffed squash to the oven and broil for for 2-3 minutes to crisp up the top layer of quinoa.
  • Once your squash is done, remove it from the oven, serve, and enjoy!
  • Garnish with chopped fresh rosemary if desired, and store any leftovers in an airtight container, in the fridge, for up to four days.

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