quinoa and cranberry stuffed acorn squash

Marlene Nakamoto
November 12, 2019

This holiday season, try some buttery acorn squash baked and filled with a savory quinoa filling flecked with sweetened dried cranberries. Enjoy this vegan dish as an entrée or as part of a larger spread. It’s festive in its own little way. 

Adapted from a Blue Zones Project recipe.


  • 2 acorn squash
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tsp. salt, divided
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 tsp. dried sage
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried apricots

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut squash in half lengthwise. Place cut-side down on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake until tender, 30 to 40 minutes. Transfer cut-side up to serving platter.

Meanwhile, rinse quinoa in a fine mesh sieve until water runs clear. Drain and transfer to a medium saucepan. Add water and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until water is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. 

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Sauté green onion and celery until tender, about 3 minutes. Add cranberries, sage, cooked quinoa, pumpkin seeds, orange juice, remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Stir constantly until mixture is heated through, about 2 minutes. 

Fill acorn squash halves with quinoa mixture. Garnish with dried apricots. Makes 4 servings. 

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