Stuffed Acorn Squash

I first made this stuffed acorn squash recipe for Thanksgiving, but its spiced quinoa filling is so good that it's become one of my go-to fall recipes.

Stuffed Acorn Squash

The year I first became vegetarian I truly missed the turkey part of turkey day. It seems like ages ago now, but back then I barely knew how to cook for myself, let alone embrace seasonal foods like squashes, Brussels sprouts, and sweet potatoes (you know, the kind without marshmallows).

Now, with hearty vegetarian main dishes like this stuffed acorn squash, I couldn’t miss the turkey less. When I started working on this recipe, I knew I wanted to make an unconventional stuffed squash. Obviously, you won’t find ground beef or a sausage and apple combination here, but I also veered off the traditional vegetarian stuffed acorn squash path. Instead of using wild rice, dried cranberries, and onions and celery in my filling, I went in a totally different direction: Tex-Mex!

Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe ingredients

Vegetarian Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe Ingredients

This stuffed acorn squash filling is DELICIOUS, hearty, and healthy. Here’s what you’ll need to make it:

  • Cooked quinoa and black beans make up its hearty base.
  • Avocado adds creaminess.
  • Cumin and coriander spice it up.
  • Feta gives it a tangy, salty punch of flavor.
  • Onion, green onions, and green chiles add heat and depth of flavor.
  • Pepitas add crunch.
  • Lime brightens it up.

While the squash roasts, sauté the onion and stir in the other ingredients. When the squash halves are tender and golden brown, remove them from the oven and load them up with the yummy filling! Enjoy!

Vegetarian Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe

Stuffed Acorn Squash Serving Suggestions

If you serve this stuffed acorn squash recipe at Thanksgiving, I’m sure you’ll have a spread of dishes like cornbread stuffing, cauliflower mashed potatoes, an autumn salad, and apple pie or crumble to go with it.

If you make it on its own, I recommend pairing it with a simple veggie side like roasted beets, lemon green beans, or roasted cauliflower. Alternatively, embrace its Mexican flavors and pair it with my Mexican street corn salad!

Depending on the size of your acorn squash, you may have some of the filling left over. My leftover suggestion: make post T-giving tacos!

Avocado & Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

If you love this stuffed acorn squash recipe…

Try my butternut squash soup, roasted spaghetti squash, delicata squash, squash curry, or squash stuffed shells next!

5.0 from 8 reviews

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This stuffed acorn squash with spiced quinoa, avocado, and black bean salad is a delicious vegetarian dinner or Thanksgiving main course! Vegan and gluten-free.
Recipe type: Main dish
Serves: 6-8
  • 3-4 small acorn squash, sliced in half
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1 (4 ounce) can of green chiles
  • 1½ cups cooked quinoa
  • 1 (14 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ cup chopped scallions
  • ¼ cup toasted pepitas
  • ¼ cup feta cheese (optional)
  • 2 avocados, diced
  • A few squeezes of lime
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Cut acorn squash in half and scoop out the insides. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast cut side up for for about 35-50 minutes or until your squash is tender in the middle and browned around the edges. (The timing will depend on your squash. If it’s taking too long to become tender, flip it upside down for a portion of the roasting time).
  3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and a few pinches of salt and pepper. Cook the onion until translucent, then add the garlic, cumin, and coriander and stir. Add the green chiles and stir again, then add the quinoa, black beans, scallions, pepitas, feta cheese, a squeeze of lime, and a bit more salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. Remove skillet from the heat, let it cool, then stir in the diced avocado. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  5. Scoop the filling into the acorn squashes halves. (Note: if you’re not scooping the filling into the squashes right away, scoop the mixture out of the pan and into a bowl and set aside.)
Make ahead tip: make the quinoa pilaf up to two days in advance and store it in the fridge. Wait to add the avocado until ready to stuff & serve.

Vegan option: skip the cheese.



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Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. That looks really tasty! I also love avocados. I’ll eat them any old way!

  2. Stuffed acorn squash is sooooo much fun. So much you can do with these
    tasty ‘bowls’. This is a prime example.

  3. Emily

    I wish I could eat avocados every day! But at $2 apiece most of the year, it’s way beyond our budget. In a perfect post-Thanksgiving world, though, I’d make wraps with leftovers and avocado to freshen up that turkey!

  4. I eat at least an entire avocado a day. Never seen it used to stuff an acorn squash, so I’ll have to give it a try.

  5. love love love this. I may just make this as a post thanksgiving dish. I adore avocado. I thought about making avocado chocolate mousse. I will definitely be making salad with roasted squash roasted red pepper pomegranate seeds and avocado. Yummmmmm!

  6. Tara from

    I’m obsessed with avocados, too – and don’t quite know what to do with myself when I don’t have one in the house. I also love acorn squash, and this looks delicious. I just recently discovered your blog and absolutely love it … Your pictures are stunning and make me want to make every single recipe!

  7. Alexandra from

    This recipe looks so delicious!! I have never thought to use avocado at Thanksgiving, but you inspired me, so I’m thinking of cilantro mashed potatoes with an avocado crema instead of gravy!

  8. Catherine Jackson

    I never thought about pairing avocado with acorn squash, but it looks delicious! I eat avocados all the time – they really are the perfect food! For Thanksgiving, I was planning on making a gorgeous massaged kale salad with roasted winter squash, pomegranate seeds, and diced avocado (of course)! Have a great holiday!

  9. Meghan

    I’ve stuffed acorn squashes every which way, but never once did I think of avocado.These flavors are so unique together!

    I think a big salad with avocado, pomegranates, arugula, bits of corn, etc. would be lovely at the Thanksgiving table as a lighter dish to foil the entrees.

  10. Avocado, the world’s most perfect food?? Um, yeah of course!! I share your love – there’s hardly a day I don’t have an avocado in the house or in a meal. That being said, we don’t really do a proper Thanksgiving living in Switzerland, but I’m making a roasted Brussels sprout and parsnip dish for a Thanksgiving-ish party this weekend and may add avocado to top along with a drizzle of lemon-dijon dressing.

  11. Lisa

    This looks really good! I’m trying to have at least 2 vegetarian meals a week, and it’s sometimes challenging because my husband needs substantial food, but can’t abide hot cheese or strong cheese (my go-to option to add protein to veggie food). This week we’ve done well, as we’ve had veg curry with rice and naan bread 2 nights in a row (2nd night tasted better, as ever!).

    We both love avocados and I think the black beans could persuade my husband that he’s getting a mexican style dinner, so this could work! I might slip in a tiny bit of feta, too…

    • jeanine

      I love them when I’m trying to cut back on cheese too – hope your husband likes it – with the squash, this is definitely a substantial meal.

  12. Jackie from

    Yum to anything with avocado! I do a southwestern style sweet potato salad with black bean, non gmo corn, avocado, red onion, chipotles, cumin and lime. Served warm or at room temp. Its delicious and nutritious.

    • jeanine

      yum! You’re pretty much describing my go-to fall salad 🙂

  13. Definitely my kind of meal! Beautiful. I make Mexican stuffed squash all the time in the winter. Lately I’ve been dreaming up a stuffed pumpkin for a huge dinner crowd.

  14. I never would have thought to add avocado to this recipe! What a unique twist. I included a link to this page in my Thanksgiving inspiration post because I think this would be a great addition to a Thanksgiving spread! Thanks for sharing.

  15. Tara

    I love this idea! I would make something with avocado and cranberries (my favorite food part of Thanksgiving!)

  16. What a sweet giveaway! I must win this. Actually, I was seriously thinking of an avocado side dish for Thanksgiving the other day. I make sure to avocados with each of my bi-weekly co-op organic produce baskets, but I have to get avocados from the grocery store in between deliveries; I can’t get enough of them!

    When I was in Miami over Labor Day, I went to Yardbird, a restaurant that is, in a word, amazing. We had a kale salad with thinly sliced green apples, cheddar cheese, cornbread croutons, moonshine raisins, and a cider vinegar. I love cubed avocado with olive oil and red wine vinegar so I think avocado would be great added to the kale salad. I’m going to try it!

    Ps: pick me, pick me

  17. Chelsea

    What a creative recipe! My idea would probably be making a kale salad with roasted butternut squash, avocados, and pepitas!

  18. Kristen

    The day after Thanksgiving I’d make turkey tostadas and top them with avocado…yum!

  19. Sue

    I’ll most likely be eating avocado and roasted garlic on bread as an appetizer!

  20. Laura from

    Oh man a Thanksgiving taco with all of this stuff sounds SO right. It’s true that avocados make plant-y eating so much more satiating and just awesome. xo

  21. Becca

    Yum! Planning on making these for dinner. Favorite avocado meal? Breakfast sandwich – to give you energy for the day. Toasted bagel/english muffin/day old loaf, fried egg over easy, bacon (it’s Thanksgiving right?!), generous scoop of salsa, and half an avocado sliced. Would also be good the day after but sub bacon for stuffing and salsa for cranberries.

  22. Regina from

    And here I am checking again this recipe I first saw at IG. Growing up I lived in a house with avocado trees in our backyard, we ate it a lot but never salty, the recipes were always sweet. Just recently I had the ‘courage’ to try it salty and I love it almost as I love it sweet. Knowing a new recipe, specially a healthy & original like this one is always a good thing.

  23. Lisa from

    I grew up on the border with a Mexican American family so I’m pretty sure there have been years where straight up guacamole showed up at the Thanksgiving table. It’s just so good! (Also, this looks like a delicious veggie main dish!)

  24. Jordan D.

    I love avocados. I have all my holiday side dishes planned, but I could definitely make an avocado chocolate mousse pie for dessert!

  25. Abby

    This looks delicious, what a great idea! I have never thought of using avocado at Thanksgiving but I think it would be fun to make a chocolate avocado mousse and use that as the filling for a chocolate pie. You’ve inspired me to bring avocado to our Thanksgiving dinner table!

  26. Nadia B

    I love LOVE avocado. Especially in a butternut, avocado caprese salad! So yummy!

  27. Ari

    I was thinking of maybe studying avocado halves as appetizers for Thanksgiving, filling them with a mixture of quinoa, dried cranberries, toasted pecans, sage, a sprinkle of feta, and a drizzle of either maple syrup or honey. Quick, easy, and healthy!

  28. I love a simple arugula salad with avocado and citrus this time of year. It’s a great counterbalance to all the other wonderful (but very rich) dishes on the Thanksgiving table!

  29. Stephanie from

    I made this tonight and it was fantastic! I love the ‘stuffing’ best and can see making this again on its own or for a burrito. Thanks!

    • Stephanie from

      BTW I would never have thought to add avocado to this and I really enjoyed the addition!

    • jeanine

      Hi Stephanie – I’m so glad you liked it! I ate my leftover filling on salads, in tacos, etc, all week 😉

  30. Wendy

    Wow. Made this on the weekend for my girlfriend and it was absolutely amazing! The combination of all the ingredients were so delicious and very much meant for each other. We loved every bite. In fact, we were ecstatic to eat it again for leftovers! Thank you for sharing this recipe!

  31. Neena

    Made this recipe last night and it really came out good. Instead of feta cheese as i didn’t have any I used hummus.

  32. Anna from

    Hi there,

    WE’re travelling the U.S. for a year from England and came across these lovely squash, with no idea what to do with them. Found your recipe via Pintrest and have now cooked it twice, once with rice (quinoa is hard to find here!) and just now with quinoa.

    Thank you for a lovely meal, it is delicious!


  33. Stefanie from

    I just made this and 10/10 I would make it again! Yummy! The only modifications were that I used sunflower seed kernels in place of pepitas, and I didn’t have coriander.

  34. Becca

    Just made this. No changes. The squash compliments the filling. It is delicious. I wonder if you can freeze the filling?

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Becca, I’m glad you loved it – I’m not sure the avocado would freeze and thaw well. Let me know if you give it a try?

  35. Jason

    Love squash, avocado, and quinoa. Need to try this.

  36. Lenore

    This was an unexpected blend of flavors. We enjoyed it a lot and will make it again! I wasn’t sure whether to serve this cold? Room temperature? Or hot? So we did room temperature. Delicious! Will make again. Thank you!

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Lenore – I serve it at room temp. I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  37. Alissa

    This has become one of my favorite squash recipes ❤❤❤

    • Jeanine Donofrio

      Hi Alissa, I’m so happy to hear that!

  38. Pauline lacy

    Loved this savory recipe. So many times there are added cranberries and maple syrup and that is not what I’m looking for…i made this exactly as presented ((execpt pinto for black beans)and I loved it!

  39. Venus

    I made this but added caldillo beef and cilantro. It came out AMAZING! Possibly my new favorite food!

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Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.