Stuffed Acorn Squash is a Fall season classic! It’s super quick to make in the air fryer, and the quinoa stuffing is easy, filling, and delightful. This dish is easy to make and combines healthy and tasty autumn ingredients like quinoa and kale, which will impress your guests during the holiday season and beyond.
This was inspired by our Lebanese stuffed zucchini recipe and our stuffed mushrooms recipe, which uses rice for the stuffing. These beauties can be eaten as a main dish or a side, as they are well-balanced thanks to the quinoas' high protein content.
- acorn squash
- vegetable stock
- red onion
- garlic cloves
- fresh sage
- toasted squash or pumpkin seeds
- Salt and pepper to taste
See the recipe card for quantities.
Making this air fryer acorn squash takes as little as 30 minutes.
Cut the whole squash in halves with a sharp knife.
Bake acorn squash faces up for 15 minutes.
Air fry acorn squash halves face down in the air fryer basket until fork tender (about another 5-10 minutes).
Cook the quinoa in vegetable broth for 12-15 minutes.
Pan-fry the chopped red onions in a skillet with cooking spray.
Add the chopped sage.
Stir in the chopped kale.
Mix with the cooked quinoa.
Stuff the already tender squash with the quinoa stuffing.
Bake stuffed squash for the final 5 minutes.
The air fryer acorn squash recipe is best served warm.
Hint: This recipe easily scales up or down. It uses half an acorn squash per serving. Then simply double or triple in stuffing ingredients to make the amount of filling you need.
- Acorn Squash – squashes are in season during autumn and are great paired with savory flavors like sage and garlic. While this recipe is for acorn squash, you could also make it with butternut squash or even the often overseen buttercup squash. They all have a similar nutty flavor. Adjust the air fryer timings to ensure the squash is cooked the whole way through.
- Sage – and autumnal herb that’s great for the holidays. It’s best to use fresh sage. A little goes a long way. An alternative could be fresh thyme or rosemary, but sage is our favorite.
- Kale – another classic autumnal vegetable. Earthy and green, it’s super healthy and takes the quinoa stuffing to the next level. You can replace it with other collard greens.
- Quinoa – this superfood is a healthy grain that is nutty and brings more to the meal than ordinary brown rice! That said, you could use brown or wild rice, millet, couscous, barley, or bulgur wheat instead of quinoa, but quinoa is better for this recipe. Adjust cooking time according to packaging direction if using any of these alternatives.
- Pomegranate seeds - use dried cranberries instead for garnishing. You can also add a sweet note with a drizzle of maple syrup.
Note: Remember that burghul wheat and couscous are not gluten-free friendly alternatives such as rice, millet, and quinoa.
Air fryers can be expensive but making acorn squash in the grill or oven is also possible.
Just use a baking dish with lined with parchment paper and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and bake on medium heat (see how on this recipe using roasted butternut squash).
- Spicy - add chili pepper flakes while cooking the stuffing mixture to imbue heat into the dish.
- Lebanese - add ¼ teaspoon of Lebanese 7-spice mix to add a Middle Eastern touch.
🥢 How to serve
You can also add a dollop of this creamy vegan sauce that pairs well with literally everything!
I also like adding a little olive oil on top of any dish that comes with quinoa. To make this acorn squash healthy, we avoided the use of oil; entirely up to you.
If you plan to serve this vegan stuffed acorn squash as the main dish, you can start with a delicious creamy carrot and ginger soup for a fantastic feast!
We air-fried the squash for this recipe, although you can also make this great recipe in the oven. See how, then just make the stuffing with a skillet and a small saucepan to cook the quinoa.
- Fridge – store separately in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Don’t stuff the squash; keep the leftover stuffing and the cooked acorn squash in a separate container.
- Freezer – this recipe is not meant to be frozen. The acorn squash will lose structural texture after freezing and then reheating. It’s best to eat this meal fresh. Frozen squash can be cooked and turned into mash, soups, or added to stews, but eating whole wouldn’t be practical.
Read on: a comprehensive guide to cooking with pumpkin»
Yes, eating this winter squash skin is perfectly fine. Just make sure to clean the squash before cutting it. You don’t want mud remnants on the skin once it is cooked!
Roast in the oven or air fryer, chop it up, and then add it to a squash soup or stew! Best to bake or air fry first, though.
Another excellent way to consume it is to have it as grilled acorn squash.
Picking the perfect acorn squash can be a daunting task. But, with some simple tips and tricks, you'll quickly become an expert!
First of all, when selecting your acorn squash be sure to look for one that is heavy for its size. A heavier squash indicates good water content and a sweet taste. Avoid any with soft spots or blemishes; this means that the fruit has been exposed to bacteria and could potentially go bad earlier than expected. Selecting acorn squashes that are deep green in color also indicate better ripeness as they have had more time on the vine to absorb flavor from the sun.
Also when choosing your acorn squash make sure it is symmetrical in shape and free of any cuts or large gashes which could lead to spoilage later on down the line.
You should also keep an eye out for hard ridges along its sides as these will become softer if left at room temperature for around 10 days before being cooked - making them easier to cut into slices! Finally, grab two at once! That way you can compare how firm they are by gently squeezing them both together (don’t worry about bruising them because this won’t affect their taste).
📚 More healthy and delicious recipes
Try out our chickpea and avocado salad made with wholesome ingredients.
⭐ If you try this acorn squash vegan recipe, let us know! 💬 Leave a comment, rate it, and don't forget to tag us @ourplantbasedworld on Instagram. Cheers!
Vegan Stuffed Acorn Squash (Air fryer Recipe)
- 1 acorn squash ~600-700 g / 21-25 oz – halved and seeds/stringy flesh scooped out
- 2 ½ oz quinoa
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- ½ red onion ~ ⅓ cup – finely chopped
- 3 cloves garlic cloves minced
- 1 tablespoon sage fresh, finely chopped
- 1 cup kale fresh, stalks removed, and leaves finely sliced
- 1 tablespoon toasted squash or pumpkin seeds
- salt and black pepper to taste
- Air fry. Put the squash halves in the air fryer face down at 320 °F) for 15 minutes.
- Cook quinoa. While the squash is cooking, put ¾ cup (180 ml) of vegetable broth to boil and add the quinoa. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 12-15 minutes until the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is tender and fluffy.
- Pan fry. Pour one tablespoon of water or non-stick cooking spray into a skillet and bring to medium heat. Gently fry the red onion until softened.
- Sautée. Add the minced garlic and sage and fry for a minute. Then add shredded kale to wilt down for another minute—season with a bit of salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Make the stuffing. Once the quinoa is ready, stir in the kale mix until well combined.
- Turn the squash. After the squash has had 15 minutes, flip them over and air fry for another 5-10 minutes until perfectly tender.
- Fill the acorn squash halves with the quinoa mixture and put them back in the air fryer for the final 5 minutes.
- Garnish. Top with toasted squash or pumpkin seeds (pepitas), vegan parmesan cheese, and pomegranate seeds or cranberries optionally.
- Make the quinoa stuffing mixture as per the instructions above.
- Prepare the acorn squash as above, then roast on a lined baking sheet with parchment paper at 400 °F (200 °F) with the face down for about 20 minutes.
- Then flip the acorn squash halves over and roast for another 10 minutes.
- After the squashes are almost entirely baked, fill each half with the stuffing.
- Finally, bake for extra 5 minutes for the stuffing to settle and the top with your favorite toppings.
🌡️ Food safety
- Cook to a minimum temperature of 165 °F (74 °C)
- Do not use the same utensils on cooked food, that previously touched raw meat
- Wash hands after touching raw meat
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Use oils with a high smoking point to avoid harmful compounds
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice. See our full Nutritional Disclosure here.
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