Looking for a show stopping vegetarian main dish? You've come to the right place. These roasted acorn squash rings are stuffed with quinoa, apples, walnuts, cheese, sage, and onions for a delicious and hearty entrée. Yum!
Recipe by me. Images by Rikki Snyder.
When you're looking for a super hearty vegetarian main dish, look no further than stuffed veggies! Somehow stuffing your favorite vegetables full of delicious fillings like lentils, quinoa, or rice elevates them from a simple side dish to a hearty main meal!
And this stuffed acorn squash is no exception. These simple acorn squash rings are roasted and stuffed with the delicious flavors of apples, cheddar, and protein-packed quinoa.
This one makes a perfect meatless main dish for the holidays - both Thanksgiving or Christmas!
And if you are here looking for holiday recipe ideas, be sure to check out my new Vegan Thanksgiving Cookbook too!
Why Stuffed Acorn Squash Rings for 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 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.
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! 🙂
Tips & Tricks
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.
You can mix things up if you want to experiment by using your own favorite combination of dried fruits, nuts, and herbs. I've done a spring version before with pistachios and Italian seasoning that was pretty delicious too!
You could also swap out the quinoa for something like rice or couscous and the recipe would work just fine - just adjust the cook times accordingly.
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. And any similar winter squash would work as well, like the sweet dumpling or yellow acorn.
If you want to make a vegan version of these stuffed acorn squash rings, you can substitute dairy-free cheese shreds for the cheddar and use a flax egg in place of the egg. You could also just omit the egg entirely - and be extra careful when transferring the squash rings to a plate!
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.
If you love these stuffed acorn squash rings, be sure to check out these other delicious recipes:
- The Vegan Thanksgiving Cookbook (new!)
- 12+ Vegetarian Stuffed Squash Recipes
- Rosemary Panko Acorn Squash
- Acorn Squash and Caramelized Onion Dip
- Stuffed Acorn Squash with Mushrooms and Chickpeas
- olive oil mister or cooking spray
- ½ cup quinoa rinsed thoroughly
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion diced
- 1 apple cored and diced
- ½ cup sharp aged, or smoked cheddar cheese, shredded
- ¼ 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 ½-inch slices (remove seeds & guts)
- 1 tbsp butter melted
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 375°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.