This Cranberry, Ginger, Quinoa Stuffed Squash brings out the best flavors of fall. Beautiful, and subtly sweet, acorn squash are glazed in maple and roasted to perfection, then stuffed with a sweet and savory blend of cranberries, fresh ginger, quinoa and hearty fall veggies. This stuffed squash has the most satisfying balance of flavors and textures. Plus, it’s make ahead friendly, and packed with healthy ingredients for a nutritious weekday lunch option.
There are so many ways to have fun with squash, and so many flavors to play with in the fall. I love using squash in its many forms as a healthy vessel for all kinds of lunch ideas. Whether acorn, butternut, delicata, or spaghetti, when roasted to tenderness in the oven, squash have the best earthy flavor that takes on, while also kind of cutting through, pretty much anything that you pair it with.
This Cranberry, Ginger, Quinoa Stuffed Squash definitely falls as the top of my seasonal lunch rotation. I love, love, love the tartness of fresh cranberries. When amplified with the sharp and aromatic flavor of ginger, it makes the perfect foil for the mild flavors of the acorn squash that it goes inside. That, along with a savory blend of herbs, plus mushrooms and brussels sprouts round out the hearty quinoa mixture, packed with vitamins, fiber, protein and other nutrients. To add a little bit of needed crunch, toasted pine nuts are added before the squash bake and get crispy on top. Fresh feta adds a creamy touch at the end.
I mean seriously, it’s so good. And it’s the perfect little serving size. It’s sweet, savory, bright and colorful, and satisfying while still being light. The recipe steps are super simple and can easily be made ahead of time and reheated during the week. Keep scrolling for the details, including how to easily prep the squash.
First, make the acorn squash shine…
Start by prepping the squash. Acorn squash, like most other fall/winter squash, have very tough outer layers. It’ll take a little muscle to cut through the squash, but a sharp knife should do the trick. First, cut the stems off the squash. Then cut them in half horizontally. Use a spoon to scrape out the seeds and stringy bits from the center. Then lay the squash out on a foil-lined baking sheet.
Then brush the flesh of the squash with a mixture of olive oil and maple syrup. Sprinkle with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Roast the squash at 450F for 30-35 minutes until tender.
After you put your squash in the oven, prep your quinoa according to package instructions. When it’s done, fluff it with a fork.
Cranberry, ginger, quinoa stuffing…
While your squash is roasting, prep your cranberry, ginger quinoa stuffing. Start by heating up some olive oil in skillet, and then adding half and onion, a few cloves of minced garlic, and a few teaspoons of freshly minced or grated ginger. Once the aromatics are soft and fragrant, add a splash of white wine (or chicken broth) and let it bubble away for a minute or two.
Next, throw in some shaved brussels sprouts, fresh chopped mushrooms (I used cremini), and a handful of fresh or frozen cranberries. Give it a good toss, along with some freshly chopped rosemary and thyme leaves. I also like to add a little dash of cinnamon for a warm hint of spice. Let that cook up for a few more minutes, then remove from the heat and toss with the Cooke quinoa and some toasted pine nuts.
PRO TIP: You can find already toasted pine nuts and some grocery stores, but if you don’t happen to have any, it’s easy to DIY. Just add some raw pine nuts to a small pan over medium heat for about 5 minutes until they get warm and toasty and start to smell fragrant. Shake the pan a few times while they are toasting to prevent burning.
Spoon the quinoa mixture into the cavities of the squash. Fill them up as much as you can without having the mixture spill on the pan. Put the stuffed squash back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes until the tops get crispy and start to brown.
Serve the stuffed squash with fresh crumbled goat cheese sprinkled over the top.
Make this stuffed squash ahead of time…
Once your squash are out of the oven, let them cool completely. Then wrap in foil, or place in an air-tight container and keep in the fridge. Don’t sprinkle the feta yet.
When ready to eat, either microwave or bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes until heated through. Top with feta and enjoy. (These squash will stay good in the fridge for up to a week).
Let me know if you give this Cranberry, Ginger, Quinoa Stuffed Squash a try! I love to hear from you in the comments, or tag me on instagram @eat.think.live and let me see your creation! Plus, you can check out the rest of my recipes HERE.
Cranberry, Ginger, Quinoa Stuffed Squash
- 3 Acorn Squash
- 2-3 Tbsp Olive Oil Divided
- 3 Tbsp Maple Syrup Divided
- Salt & Pepper
- 1/2 Cup Quinoa
- 1/2 Yellow Onion Diced
- 2 Cloves Garlic Minced
- 1 Tbsp Fresh Ginger Minced or Grated
- 2-3 Tbsp White Wine
- 1 Cup Shredded Brussels Sprouts
- 1 Cup Mushrooms Chopped
- 1 Cup Fresh or Frozen Cranberries
- 1 Tsp Fresh Thyme Chopped
- 1 Tsp Fresh Rosemary Chopped
- 1/2 Tsp Cinnamon
- 1/4 Cup Toasted Pine Nuts*
- 1/4 Cup Crumbled Feta Cheese
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a sheet pan with foil.
- Cut off acorn squash stems, then cut squash in half horizontally. Use a spoon to scoop out the seeds and string. Lay squash on sheet pan with cavities facing upward.
- Brush the squash with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil 1 tablespoon of maple syrup. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, cook quinoa according to package instructions. Fluff with a fork when cooked.
- Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to a skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic and ginger, and cook for 2-3 minutes until soft and fragrant. Add a splash of white wine and the remaining tablespoon of maple syrup to the pan and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
- Add Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, cranberries, fresh thyme and rosemary to the skillet. Lower heat to medium and cook for 5-7 minutes until the veggies soften. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Remove skillet from heat. Add quinoa and toasted pine nuts and toss to combine the mixture.
- Spoon quinoa mixture into the squash halves, stuffing in as much of the quinoa mix as you can fit. It can be piled up a little, but you don’t want it falling off the squash.
- Bake stuffed squash for 10-15 minutes until the tops start to brown.
- Serve with crumbled feta on top.*