Roasted Acorn Squash with Thanksgiving Quinoa Pilaf

Having a plantbased Thanksgiving? This dish makes an excellent entrée for your vegetarian guests, or a lovely side dish for any Thanksgiving menu. The filling is made of quinoa seasoned with all the familiar Thanksgiving flavors you love, including nutmeg, which adds a sweet warmth.

Roasted Acorn Squash with Thanksgiving Quinoa Pilaf

Serves: 4


2 acorn squash

4 cups water 

2 cups dry quinoa 

1 bay leaf 

½ cup unsweetened dried cranberries 

1 tablespoon fresh sage leaves, minced 

1 tablespoon fresh flat Italian parsley, minced 

1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced 

2 celery stalks, thinly sliced (about ¾ cup) 

¼ large onion, minced (about ½ cup) 

½ cup pepitas (raw green pumpkin seeds) 

1½ tsp salt 

½ tsp ground nutmeg 

black pepper (a few grinds on a peppermill, or to taste) 

3 tablespoons olive oil 

For serving: cranberry sauce


Preheat oven to 375F.

Halve acorn squash from stem to tip. Scoop out seeds.

Place squash on sheet pan cut side up, drizzle and rub oil into cut side and sprinkle with salt & pepper to taste. Roast for 45-60 mins until flesh is soft enough to pierce with a fork and edges are caramelized.

While squash are roasting, boil water and quinoa with the bay leaf in a 3 quart pot until boiling, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until all water is absorbed, about 15 minutes.  Add cranberries, stir, and replace cover.  Remove pot from heat and allow to steam, covered, for five minutes. 

Meanwhile, prep all the other ingredients. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.  Add in prepared herbs and vegetables with salt, nutmeg and black pepper.  Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent. Add pepitas and cook for another minute, until their color changes from green to beige.   Turn off heat. 

Fluff cooked quinoa mixture with a fork, then add to the herb and seed mixture in the pan and stir to combine.   Adjust salt to taste.
Spoon quinoa into roasted acorn squash halves. Serve with cranberry sauce.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, so you’ll find many Thanksgiving recipes on this site! Enter “Thanksgiving” in the search box to find more ideas to fill your holiday table. I’ll be sharing more ideas this week, so check back soon! If you’re on Instagram, also check out my account @spiceboxtravels, where I’ve been sharing more Thanksgiving ideas!

One response

  1. Pingback: A Vegetable-Forward Thanksgiving ft. Vegan Butternut Squash Pasta Alfredo | spicebox travels

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