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Appetizers/ Holiday Recipes/ Recipes/ Sides/ Vegetarian Recipes

Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash Rings

Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash Rings

Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash RingsThis Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash Rings recipe makes a great vegetarian main dish for Thanksgiving. The rings are stuffed with apples, cheddar, and quinoa

Thanksgiving might be next week, but here on Oh My Veggies, it starts today! I’m collaborating again with Rikki Snyder, whom you may remember from my Butternut Squash Flatbread post. Rikki is a professional photographer and her work never fails to amaze me. So like the last collaboration we did, I developed the recipes and Rikki did the photos.

(Sidenote: when I told my husband this was like the food blog equivalent of Transformers, where the different parts go together and create something bigger and better, he corrected me with a sigh: “No, that’s Voltron. Voltron. Not Transformers.” And then he shook his head in disappointment.)

Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash RingsSquash at Thanksgiving

Stuffed squash often makes an appearance at vegetarian Thanksgiving meals, but usually it’s in the form of squash halves, stuffed with delicious things like quinoa or rice or other grains and veggies. I decided to do rings instead. Why rings?

Well, first of all, there is so much food available on Thanksgiving. And a whole squash half (whole half! That’s like jumbo shrimp, right?!) is a lot of food on top of all the sides and other yummy things you definitely don’t want to miss out on. It’s also a bit unwieldy to eat. Rings are a little more manageable, don’t you think? Easier to eat and they don’t take up nearly as much room on your plate.

Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash Rings
And second, while these squash rings make a wonderful main dish for vegetarians, they also make a great side dish for the meat eaters. No one is going to add a ginormous squash half to his or her plate on top of turkey and all the sides, but a squash ring is a different story. Everyone has room for a squash ring!

Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash RingsAbout This Recipe

So yeah, I’m pretty jazzed about these stuffed acorn squash rings. They’re stuffed with quinoa, apples, dried cranberries, walnuts, onions, and sage, which is a lot, but it works, I promise. Because there’s no bottom to the rings, I added a little egg and cheddar to the quinoa mixture to help bind the filling so it doesn’t fall out when transferring from the baking sheet to serving platter.

Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash Rings
I originally developed this recipe for delicata squash; if you’re able to find large ones, 2 or 3 of those could be used in place of acorn squash. (Because I couldn’t consistently find large delicata squash, I decided to use acorn squash instead.) And any relative of acorn squash would work as well, like the sweet dumpling or yellow acorn.

Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash Rings Recipe

Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash Rings

Roasted acorn squash rings stuffed with quinoa, apples, walnuts, cheese, sage, and onions.
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 6 -8 servings


  • olive oil mister or cooking spray
  • 1/2 cup quinoa rinsed thoroughly
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 apple cored and diced
  • 1/2 cup sharp aged, or smoked cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tbsp chopped sage
  • 2 tbsp chopped walnuts
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • 1 egg whisked
  • 3 small acorn or sweet dumpling squash cut into 1/2-inch slices (remove seeds & guts)
  • 1 tbsp butter melted
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup


  • Preheat oven to 375Β°F. Spray two rimmed baking sheets with cooking spray or oil and place squash rings on sheets.
  • Cook quinoa in broth according to package directions. Cool slightly.
  • Heat olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add onion. Cook about 10 minutes, or until onion is just beginning to brown. Add apple and cook about 5 minutes more, until apple is softened. Allow to cool slightly.
  • Combine quinoa, apple, and onion mixture with cheese, cranberries, sage, and walnuts in a large bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in egg.
  • In a small bowl, combine butter and maple syrup. Brush tops and insides of squash rings with butter mixture; season with salt and pepper.
  • Stuff quinoa filling into the center of each squash ring, pressing down to fit as much stuffing as possible without overflowing. Spray centers of squash rings with oil or cooking spray. Bake 30–40 minutes, or until tops are golden brown and squash is tender.
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  • Reply
    November 25, 2013 at 11:49 pm

    How thick should the squash slices be? I was going to try half an inch.

    • Reply
      November 26, 2013 at 9:16 pm

      It’s in the recipe–they should be 1/2-inch thick. πŸ™‚

      • Reply
        karen baer
        October 19, 2015 at 9:50 pm

        I used my electric knife. Really helped! Also — was wondering — my stuffing was a little dry…did I put too much cheese or….?

        • Reply
          October 20, 2015 at 8:13 pm

          Hmm, if it was dry, it could either be that it was in the oven too long or that your oven is a little bit hotter than mine. Otherwise, I’m not sure what could cause that!

  • Reply
    November 26, 2013 at 9:56 pm

    I can’t wait to make these on Thanksgiving! This is my first year as a vegetarian, so I’m so not grieving the loss of eating turkey – I’m looking forward to these instead! Thanks for the recipe.

    • Reply
      November 28, 2013 at 12:59 pm

      I hope you like them–Happy Thanksgiving! πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    November 27, 2013 at 11:06 am

    Does the filling not fall through the ring when serving? Or does it harden enough to stay in place?

    • Reply
      November 28, 2013 at 12:53 pm

      The egg and cheese help the filling stick together. You do still need to be careful when transferring them to your plate, though!

  • Reply
    Nicole Darcy
    November 29, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    Oh gosh, thank you, thank you, thank you! I made these yesterday as our vegetarian main course instead of a Tofurkey roast and I am so glad I did. I will admit I was a bit nervous — sage, apple, cheese, squash, cranberry? It turned out perfect and was such a way to keep it “real” on Thanksgiving. I will be making it every year instead of any type of mock meat. Thank you!

    • Reply
      December 1, 2013 at 9:12 pm

      I’m so, so glad to hear that! We used to have Tofurkey every Thanksgiving too, but I find it’s much more satisfying to make something that’s delicious in its own right rather than something trying to imitate turkey. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    March 22, 2014 at 12:17 am

    SO YUMMY. Whenever I visit my mother’s house, I survey the ingredients in her kitchen that are in need of being eaten (my mother doesn’t cook but always has great intentions to when buying food at a grocery store…). A “quinoa and acorn squash recipe” search led me to your recipe and I am so happy it did! This was a huge hit tonight for both our veggie friends and meat lovers. Not only are they cute, they are incredible delicious and satisfying. We will be enjoying these squash rings again very soon. Thank you!

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      March 23, 2014 at 9:28 pm

      Thank you for your comment–I’m so glad to hear they were a hit! πŸ™‚

      • Reply
        August 13, 2014 at 3:52 pm

        Is there a special way to cut fresh squash? I tried to cut an acorn squash in rings recently and was surprised that I didn’t accidentally cut my hand off lol. It was like cutting through a rock! Any suggestions? I would love to attempt your recipe, but cutting an acorn squash again has me intimidated lol.

        • Reply
          Kiersten Frase
          August 17, 2014 at 8:24 pm

          I know! With acorn squash, it can help to cut a little sliver down one side so the squash will stay put on the cutting board. It doesn’t look quite as pretty, but if you’re just making them for yourself or family, it doesn’t really matter. πŸ™‚ Using a very sharp chef’s knife is a must. Other than that, yes, it’s always going to be kind of a pain.

        • Reply
          January 25, 2015 at 11:08 pm

          I found that sticking the whole squash in the microwave for a minute helps to soften it up a bit without actually cooking before cutting it.

        • Reply
          karen baer
          October 19, 2015 at 9:49 pm

          I used my electric knife. Really helped!

  • Reply
    September 7, 2014 at 6:49 pm

    Great recipe! I love the idea of slices instead of half squash. I received many requests to make again.

  • Reply
    September 15, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    I almost never leave comments on the blogs I browse (I’m a lurker, I suppose), but OMG THESE WERE AWESOME!!
    I just started practicing a few recipes I would like to make for Thanksgiving and Christmas, and this one is perfect! I only had giant acorn squashes though, so next time I’ll double the quinoa mixture to balance it out. I can’t wait to have my family over and demonstrate how tasty vegetarian meals can be πŸ˜€
    I’m so glad I found your blog, I’m really impressed by how lovely it is. I’ll definitely try more of your recipes! Thank you!

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      September 18, 2014 at 1:55 pm

      Thank you for your comment! I’m glad I’m not the only one who does trial runs of recipes before holidays and get-togethers. πŸ˜‰ I always get nervous things won’t turn out on the big day, so I feel compelled to test things first!

  • Reply
    Kat Jett
    October 19, 2014 at 9:59 am

    Happy Sunday,

    We cant use cheese ( like for the binding agent ) any other options? can we use a gluten free bread, and add spices, liked smoked Paprika?

    Seems like a silly question, however my husband has been dx with a lot of food allergies and intolerance to several foods this past week, and looking for alternative food options.

    • Reply
      Tembre J
      October 26, 2014 at 6:00 pm

      Hey Kat-

      I made these tonight as a trial run for our plants-giving this year. I always use flax seed to substitute egg (1 tbs flax seed + 3 tbs water, let sit for about 5 minutes to thicken) and it really helped bind the ingredients. As a plant-based eater I don’t use dairy either, so instead of the cheese, I added a small amount of nutritional yeast. I’m sure it’s a slightly different flavor, but delicious all the same!

      Good luck!

      • Reply
        November 19, 2014 at 9:34 am

        Thank, Tembre J!

        I was just thinking about how I could substitute the egg and cheese too!!

      • Reply
        Meredith Wilson
        November 26, 2014 at 12:30 pm

        I too was wondering about the egg and cheese replacement!! Does the flax seed need to be ground?

  • Reply
    November 19, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    Wow! I’m a new vegetarian, and this was my first time trying quinoa. These were so good!!! I like the stuffing taste with the hint of sweetness. Thanks for such a great recipe.

  • Reply
    November 21, 2014 at 11:04 am

    Due to my work schedule I’m a little pressed for time this year.
    Can I make the stuffing a week ahead of Thanksgiving and freeze? We have several vegetarians (affectionately known as “grazers”) in our family and I know they will enjoy this recipe. Thanks and enjoy the holiday!

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      November 26, 2014 at 2:43 pm

      Sorry for the delay in replying – I’ve had all day morning sickness for the past few months and haven’t been able to keep up with comments. The filling can be made in advance, but I’d make it minus the egg and fold it in just before you’re ready to bake the rings.

  • Reply
    November 22, 2014 at 8:15 am


    Acorn squash does not really exist in Germany. Any suggestions what kind of squash I could use instead? Thanks a lot!

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      November 26, 2014 at 2:39 pm

      Any squash that can be sliced into rounds will work.

      • Reply
        November 27, 2014 at 2:50 am

        Thank you for your answer. With a little help from all my friends, I luckily got probably Munich’s one and only acorn squash. Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Reply
    November 22, 2014 at 8:42 pm

    What would make good sides with the squash rings?

  • Reply
    November 23, 2014 at 10:31 am

    hi I was wondering about the make ahead factor too. I’m the lone veggie in our house and I’m afraid the oven will be occupied with all sorts of other dishes.

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      November 26, 2014 at 2:34 pm

      You can either make the filling in advance, minus the egg, or make the entire rings in advance and bake them, then reheat later.

  • Reply
    November 24, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    Is there something other than sage that would go well with this recipe?

  • Reply
    December 2, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    Thank you for making my daughter’s Thanksgiving delicious. πŸ™‚ I made these stuffed squash rings as a veggie/gluten free main dish and as a side dish for the carnivores. Everyone loved it. This recipe will become a Thanksgiving tradition at our house!

  • Reply
    January 19, 2016 at 11:58 pm

    Thank you so much for this delicious recipe!! My husband and I recently joined a crop share, and in this month’s selection, two acorn squash were included. I’ve never cooked this type of squash before, so I was excited to try this recipe. My husband and I were thrilled with how the dish turned out, a great vegetarian main dish! I love the crunchy bits of quinoa and cheese.

    Our squash didn’t quite make full rings at the ends, so I carved out rings with a knife and diced the extra squash flesh to mix into the stuffing, and that worked out really well.

    I’d like to try making this again using the suggestion that one of the previous poster’s suggestion of substituting the egg and cheese with flaxseeds and nutritional yeast. Did anyone else try this?

    I can’t wait to bring this dish as our contribution for our next Thanksgiving! This recipe is definitely a keeper!

  • Reply
    November 20, 2018 at 8:40 pm

    What type of apple do you recommend?

  • Reply
    March 14, 2020 at 7:20 pm

    Hello. I am new to your site and found very interesting recipes. Do you think this would work well with spaghetti squash rings?

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