In the spirit of Thanksgiving and the holidays, I’m showing you how to make a beautiful meat-free centerpiece.
That also happens to be super-simple to make.
In fact, I grabbed the recipe at the end of this post from a meal plan I designed for a client’s launch week.
If she can do it during the busiest time in an entrepreneur’s life, I promise that so can you. 😉
Stuffed acorn squash intimidates people. But trust me, winter squashes seem more complicated than they really are.
And they should definitely be a part of your holiday menu if you want to impress a guest or simply treat yourself to a beautiful meal. One that you don’t have to be chained to the kitchen to prepare!
Health Benefits of Acorn Squash
- Rich in vitamins A & C plus multiple B-family vitamins (including pantothenic acid, known for treating chronic stress and anxiety)
- Range of minerals including iron & calcium plus potassium & mood-boosting magnesium
- Good source of dietary fiber = you feel full while it regulates your blood sugar
- Whole food that’s low in calories (116 calories in half a squash)
- Plus, don’t forget their delicious sweet, nutty flavor!
Making a Stuffed Acorn Squash Easy
Let’s get started! I’ll share tips for tackling all the “hard” parts with ease and a simple plant-powered recipe.
How to Cut an Acorn Squash
This also seems harder than it is! But it’s worth prepping before cooking because it will save you tons of time.
- First, on a stable surface, get your knife into one of the grooves running vertically along the side. You may need to use the point.
- Then wedge it in and use a rocking motion to work the knife all the way through the squash.
- Once you have two halves, use a large spoon to remove all the seeds and hollow it out.
How to Cook an Acorn Squash
Hint: if I’m cooking for one, I love using my toaster oven for simplicity’s sake.
- Preheat the oven to 400 F.
- Fill a baking dish about 1/2″ deep with water and place the squash halves face down in the dish.
- Bake for 30 minutes then check to see if it’s done (you’ll know if your fork easily pierces it in a few places).
What to Stuff Your Squash With
If you’ve used the time-saving advance prep habit I shared in this article, you’ll have some beans and grains pre-cooked in the fridge. If you don’t have any, popping open and rinsing a can of beans works well.
- While the squash is cooking, simply sauté or steam 2 cups broccoli or green beans.
- Then toss with 1 cup each of your grains and beans (or an entire cans worth of beans).
- Toss in some extra flavor with your favorite dressing or sauce (I love using a little Tamari and smoked paprika.)
- When your squash is done cooking, hollow out some of the flesh to make more room for the filling. You can mix this extra flesh into the filling or store as leftovers.
- Then fill each squash half with 1/3-1/2 of the filling.
Voila – a beautiful meal which took a lot less effort than you’d think! Might even impress some people. 😉
If you want to get festive (say for Thanksgiving), simply cook your favorite stuffing and add to the squash for a complete centerpiece. Especially beautiful if it includes vibrant cranberries!
QUINOA-STUFFED ACORN SQUASH
(vegan, gluten-free, soy-free)
- 1 acorn squash, sliced in half with seeds removed
- 1 c. broccoli
- 1 c. cooked grain (red quinoa)
- 1 c. cooked beans (chickpeas)
- smoked paprika, salt, and pepper to taste
- 2 servings your favorite sauce
- 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Fill baking dish with 1/4” deep of water and place squash halves into dish cut side down.
- Cook 30 minutes or until fork easily pierces.
- While it cooks, steam broccoli.
- Toss hot broccoli with red quinoa, chickpeas, and spices.
- Flip the halves up and split the quinoa mix between the two then top with sauce and seeds.
Makes 2 servings.
I’m doing something I’ve never done before.
I’m giving away the full recipe page at right (straight out of one of my personalized Plant-Powered Meal Plans!) as a thank you for being in my community.
CLICK HERE to download the gorgeous printable version of this recipe. (It’s free!)
(Psst: if you’re already one of my lovely email subscribers, check your inbox for this special gift. 🙂 )
Now it’s your turn.
What’s your favorite plant-powered holiday meal?
Warmth and joy,
I help busy women make healthy living part of their business plan.
As an Architect turned Plant Scientist turned Healthy Living Strategist, I offer straightforward guidance for using a powerful & nourishing plant-based diet to fuel hustle and creativity.
WANT TO JOIN ME? (YOU’LL LOVE IT.)
Sign up here to join my lovely community and get actionable & strategic insight every week. (It’s free!)