Quinoa and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash

Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: acorn squash, apple, quinoa
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 313kcal
The sweet savory filling in this acorn squash, makes every bite satisfying.  A great fall side dish!
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  • 2 small acorn squash (about 1 pound each)
  • 6 teaspoons olive oil divided
  • 1 teaspoon whole coriander seed
  • 1 teaspoon whole fennel seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup quinoa cooked according to package directions.
  • 2 medium apple peeled and finely diced
  • 1/2 cup finely diced pancetta
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese grated


  • extra olive oil for drizzling before baking stuffed squash


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Using a sharp chefs knife, carefully cut the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and discard. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or foil. Place on a roasting pan and coat the inside of each with a teaspoon of olive oil.
  • In a mortar and pestle (or spice grinder) grind together the coriander and fennel seed. Mix in the kosher salt and brown sugar, stir to combine. Sprinkle the spice blend over the cut side of the squash and place cut side down on the roasting pan. Bake for 20 minutes or until the squash is just tender.
  • While the acorn squash bakes, heat remaining 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a small skillet over medium high heat. Add pancetta and cook until browned, stirring occasionally. Using a slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to a folded paper towel to drain. Reserve fat in the pan and add the diced apples to the pan and cook over medium high heat until apples are slightly softened, about 2-3 minutes.
  • In a medium bowl combine cooked quinoa, pancetta, thyme and parsley, apples and parmesan cheese. Toss to combine. Fill acorn squash with quinoa stuffing (it's okay if some falls to the baking sheet - the crispy bits are the best part). If stuffing seems dry, drizzle a little extra olive oil over the squash boats. Heat in oven for 10-12 minutes, until cooked through. Serve.


You can ask the deli department to cut a quarter inch slice of pancetta for you. I usually get 4- quarter inch slices and use them like bacon to add to salads, roasted vegetables etc. I always have some on hand.
You can change this dish up if you wanted it to be vegetarian, by eliminating the pancetta.  Make it vegan by also skipping the parmesan cheese.  Since those two ingredients add a salty element, consider adding in some chopped olives or capers -- and golden raisins for a sweet hit.


Calories: 313kcal | Carbohydrates: 53g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 5mg | Sodium: 414mg | Potassium: 976mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 1105IU | Vitamin C: 32mg | Calcium: 177mg | Iron: 3mg