Nourishing Vegetarian Stuffed Acorn Squash
This Vegetarian Stuffed Acorn Squash recipe is cozy, nourishing, and packed with plants. From the delicious roasted squash to the hearty bulgur wheat, fibre-rich chickpeas, baby spinach, crunchy walnuts, and dried cranberries for a touch of sweetness. It all comes together in less than an hour, and the result is a healthy plant-based dinner or holiday side dish.
Have you ever stuffed a squash? If not, you’ve gotta try this!
In my opinion, squash is such an underrated vegetable. Not only is it absolutely delicious when cooked, it’s also really nutritious! And it’s one of the few vegetables that’s actually in season throughout the fall and winter where I live in Canada.
Various winter squashes make great side dishes throughout the fall and winter seasons – especially during the holidays. But this savoury acorn squash recipe also makes a healthy dinner option to cozy up with when its cold out.
Here, our acorn squash is stuffed with a hearty plant mixture of cooked bulgur wheat, chickpeas, chopped baby spinach, walnuts, dried cranberries, a simple dressing, and two types of cheese. Yum!
What is Acorn Squash?
Acorn squash is also called pepper squash or Des Moines squash. Its a winter squash with a green and yellow-orange exterior and a sweet yellow-orange flesh inside.
Acorn squash belongs to the Cucurbitaceaeor gourd family, which also includes pumpkin, butternut squash, and zucchini.
You can steam it, boil it, roast it, mash it…and the list goes on. You can also serve it with sweet savoury flavours. Serve acorn squash dinner recipes or serve it as a side dish!
Ingredients for this Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe:
To make this vegetarian stuffed squash recipe, you’ll need:
- acorn squash, small to medium sized
- olive oil
- bulgur wheat
- chickpeas, canned or cooked
- baby spinach
- walnuts, we’ll chop these up
- dried cranberries
- parmesan cheese
- feta cheese
- fresh parsley, for garnish
For the simple dressing, you’ll need:
- olive oil
- balsamic vinegar
- maple syrup
- lemon juice
- garlic, minced
Nutrition Benefits of This Recipe:
As a Registered Dietitian, I love this stuffed acorn squash recipe because its packed with nutritious plant-based ingredients!
Of course the acorn squash, which is a good source of dietary fibre, vitamin C, magnesium, vitamin B6, iron, and more. There’s also spinach, which is rich in vitamin K, iron, folate, and fibre. The walnuts are a good source of healthy fats, including omega-3s, and the bulgur wheat is a whole grain source of fibre!
In addition to containing various nutritious ingredients, this Vegetarian Stuffed Acorn Squash recipe also makes a well-balanced meal. It contains all the components needed to build a balanced meal, including a source of carbohydrates (preferable fibre-rich ones), protein, and fruit/vegetables.
How to Make Vegetarian Stuffed Acorn Squash:
We’ll start by cutting each squash in half, removing the seeds and insides, then roasting the squash halves on a baking sheet in the oven.
How to Cook Roasted Acorn Squash in the Oven:
How to Make the Vegetarian Filling:
While the acorn squash roasts, we’ll make the filling. Do this by cooking the bulgur wheat if not already, draining and rinsing your chickpeas, and then combining the filling ingredients together.
Once the filling mixture is scooped into the roasted squash halves, well place them back into the oven for another 10-15 minutes to warm everything up. Once the top is golden, remove from the oven and serve!
Meal Prep and Storage Tips:
If you have leftovers, you can store them covered in the fridge for up to 4 days. I do not recommend freezing this dish once prepared.
If you want to make this recipe ahead of time, you can prepare the filling as well as the roasted squash halves and store them covered in the fridge. Then when you’re ready to serve, stuff the squash halves with filling and bake for 10-15 minutes at 400F.
What to Serve with Stuffed Acorn Squash:
You can serve the stuffed squash on its own as a main dish. Or, you can serve it as a side dish with a protein like chicken or turkey. I have mixed in some shredded chicken for extra protein before and it was delicious and satisfying!
Stuffed Acorn Squash also makes a great holiday side dish for events like Thanksgiving or the Christmas holidays.
Make it Vegan:
This recipe is already vegetarian. If you want to make this acorn squash recipe vegan, just omit the cheeses or use a vegan cheese variety instead. To make it gluten-free, swap the bulgur wheat for a gluten-free option like quinoa or brown rice.
Connect with Hannah Magee, RD!
I hope you love this recipe as much as I do. If you try it, let me know what you think by leaving a rating and a review in the comments below.
Oh, and be sure to take a photo and tag me at @hannahmagee_rd so I can re-share on my stories!
Nourishing Vegetarian Stuffed Acorn Squash
For the Filling:
- 1 1/2 cups cooked bulgur wheat
- 1 1/2 cups chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 cups baby spinach, chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- 1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled
For the Simple Dressing:
- 1/2 cup parsley, finely chopped, optional
- freshly grated parmesan cheese, optional
- Preheat oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cut each squash in half. Using a spoon, scoop out the seeds and loose insides.
- Brunch the orange-yellow side of each squash half with olive oil and sprinkle with salt.
- Then place cut side down on the parchment paper and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes.
- While the squash cooks, combine all filling ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
- Whisk together the dressing ingredients and pour over the filling. Toss to coat.
- When the squash is done, use a large spoon to scoop the filling mixture into the centre of each squash half.
- Bake for another 10-15 minutes until the top of the filling in each squash half becomes golden.
- Add fresh parsley and grated parmesan for garnish, then serve.