These Vegetarian Stuffed Acorn Squash are filled with cooked apples, dried cranberries, spinach, quinoa and drizzled with a creamy tahini garlic dressing. Colorful, festive, and easy to prepare, enjoy this delicious stuffed acorn squash recipe for the holidays or as a light and healthy dinner.
Preheat oven and prepare baking sheet - Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
Cut the acorn squash into rings - Using a sharp, sturdy chef's knife, very carefully cut your acorn squash in half crosswise. Use a spoon to scoop the seeds and stringy bits from the squash. Discard. Cut each squash half into 2-3 slices, approximately 1/2 to 1-inch thick (you should end up with 4-6 squash rings per acorn squash).
Season to bake - Transfer squash rings to prepared baking sheets in a single layer. Mix the olive oil with the minced garlic and brush over the squash rings. Season with salt, pepper, and ground cinnamon.
Roast - Transfer baking sheets to the oven and bake until tender, approximately 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and drizzle with maple syrup. Set aside.
For the Tahini Dressing (optional)
Whisk together all ingredients for the tahini dressing in a small mixing bowl. If the dressing starts to thicken, simply add additional water until desired consistency is reached. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste.
For the Quinoa and Apple Stuffing
Cook the onion - Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until the onion is soft and translucent. Stir in the minced garlic, fresh sage, crushed red pepper (if using), and salt and pepper. Sauté for 1 minute before adding the remaining tablespoon of butter. Mix well to combine.
Add the apples and spinach - Add the apples and spinach to the onions (you may need to add the spinach in batches, waiting for it to wilt before adding the next batch). Stir well to combine. Continue to cook the apples, stirring often, until they turn soft - approximately 4-5 minutes.
Add the quinoa and Parmesan - Once the apples have started to soften, add the cooked quinoa and mix well to combine. Remove skillet from heat and stir in the parmesan cheese. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste.
Once the acorn squash rings, tahini dressing, and quinoa stuffing are all ready, it's time to stuff them. Simply scoop 2-3 spoonfuls of the quinoa mixture into each acorn squash ring and top with pomegranate arils. Drizzle with tahini dressing before serving, or allow quests to drizzle their own. Enjoy!
Feel free to add some protein. Top picks would include some ground turkey or ground sausage. You can also include your favorite plant-based meat alternatives such as ground soy or tempeh.
Alternatives to quinoa? Brown rice would be my top (gluten-free) choice. However, I really love freekeh and bulgur, as well.
Add in other veggies! You can really go wild with the veggies in this recipe. Add some celery, carrots, kale, and all your other favorites.
Prepare the quinoa stuffing ahead of time? Yes, you can. You can actually prepare everything ahead of time as it all reheats really well, however, I find that roasted acorn squash looks most presentable when enjoyed the day it is roasted. Therefore, if you plan to serve this for friends and family, you may want to wait and roast the acorn squash approximately 30-45 minutes before serving.