SEEMA Cooks: Vegan Stuffed Acorn Squash

It is the very beginning of summer in north Texas, and it is squash planting season! Granted, the results of our labors of love and toil won’t show up until later in the Fall. Gardening taught me a virtue which I didn’t possess for many decades: Patience. It has also taught me valuable lessons on how to handle disappointment and how to hope for a better and brighter growing season. If only we really listened to animals and Nature, we would be SO much better off. Do you agree?

As I write about this, I wonder how recipes are “born.” This is how it probably unfolds…

There is a kitchen “accident” – or a creative cook decides to try something new. And voila! A delicious dish comes to life.

Someone sees this recipe in a cookbook or on some other media or eats the dish at the original creator’s home. The viewers/guests modify the recipe to suit their tastes. Then others come along and modify it for their tastes. A reader, reading this recipe, will make it his or her own changes. All in all, we have several delicious variations through kitchen experiments. I find this concept so cool!

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Acorn squash (image courtesy of Healthy-Indian.com)

Vegan Stuffed Acorn Squash

This stuffed acorn squash recipe is a regular in my house. I first had it a few years ago when our dear friends Donna and Scott invited us over to their home. Donna served this squash with kale, white quinoa, cranberries, and chickpeas. It was totally delicious!

I’ve modified the recipe to include red bell peppers, tri-colored quinoa (cooked in vegetable broth, which takes the taste up by several notches!), chickpeas, onions, garlic, ginger, jalapenos (an Indian gal must show her true colors, right?!) with a touch of fresh home-grown parsley.

It feels like this recipe has several steps. And it does. But it is SO easy to make because of how versatile roasted squashes are. You can roast the acorn squash one day and make the filling on another day. Put them all together when you are getting ready to eat your meal. The stuffed acorn squash can be quick baked to warm it up. Once baked the acorn squash will keep in the refrigerator for about 5 days. This lends for a great plan-ahead meal.

You can roast the acorn squash and use it in a variety of ways – to add to your sandwiches, over pasta, into a salad, or to roll it into a taco. You can even add it into your soup for that deliciously sweet flavor. But do try eating it with stuffing. You’ll love it. I guarantee it.

 

Acorn Squash Stuffing Ideas

Most of the time, I use leftovers from my refrigerator to stuff the acorn squash. Here are some other recipes that you can use the “stuff” the baked acorn squash:

Why is this Healthy?

If all the varieties of squashes had a competition on who’s the healthiest, acorn squash will be declared as the winner. It offers more folate, calcium, magnesium and potassium than butternut, hubbard and spaghetti squash. The nutrients in the stuffing offer generous amounts of protein (in the form of quinoa and chickpeas) and the addition of veggies, garlic, onion and ginger make this dish rich in antioxidants, which can help to protect against arthritis, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and certain cancers.

​Vegan Stuffed Acorn Squash

This vegan stuffed acorn squash dish not only looks colorful but is delicious and nutritious. It can be eaten as a full meal or as a side. Wow your family and friends.

Course: Appetizer, main course, side dish

Cuisine: American, international

Special diet: Gluten-free, no added sugar, nut-free, vegan, vegetarian

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes

Total time: 55 minutes

Serves: 2

Calories: 297 kcal

​INGREDIENTS

​Roasted Acorn Squash

  • 1 acorn squash
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper, freshly ground

​Filling

  • 1/4 cup quinoa – makes for 3 tbsps of cooked quinoa. I use a mix of black, red and white quinoa
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth or water
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp ginger, freshly grated
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno – or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt – or to taste
  • 1 cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup red bell peppers, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chickpeas, cooked, drained. I have use canned, too
  • 2 tsp parsley, fresh, finely chopped

​METHOD

​Roasted acorn squash

  1. Cut acorn squash lengthwise (from stem to tip) using a strong knife. Discard the seeds in the compost or roast them. You can leave the stem or remove.

  2. Set the acorn squash cut side up. Add olive oil into the hollow inside (that looks like a cup). Using a silicone brush or your fingers, distribute the oil all over the cut surfaces.

  3. Sprinkle salt and pepper all over the cut edges and the hollow insides.

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  4. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes. Place the acorn squash in a baking tray (no parchment paper needed; save the planet!) and bake at 450 degrees for 40 minutes. Remove and test by inserting a fork into the flesh, especially around the edges to make sure every part is roasted. Otherwise, bake for an additional 10 minutes.
  5. Remove the baked acorn squash and set aside. You can serve this immediately, or cool and refrigerate for up to 5 days.

​Stuffing

  1. ​While the acorn squash is baking, wash quinoa. Add vegetable broth (or water) and cook until done. Fluff with a fork.

  2. ​While the quinoa is cooking, heat oil in a pan. Add ginger, garlic and jalapeno and sauté until they brown lightly.

  3. ​Add onions and sauté for 2-3 minutes.

  4. Add finely chopped red bell peppers and salt and stir fry for 2 minutes.

  5. Wash and drain canned chickpeas. You can also soak the dry chickpeas for 8-12 hours and cook them. Get all your stuffing portions prepped: cooked and fluffed quinoa, chickpeas and prepped veggies. In a bowl, mix cooked quinoa, stir fried vegetables and chickpeas. Mix well and taste for salt.

​Assembling

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  1. Add stuffing into “cups” of the baked acorn squash. Sprinkle finely chopped parsley and serve.

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  2. To eat, use a serrated spoon so you can get the flesh of the acorn squash along with the stuffing. Yum!

Notes

*Use organic ingredients wherever possible.

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