Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash with Zesty Chorizo

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stuffed acorn squash recipe

What’s Up, Hungry People!

I’ve been on a mission to eat healthier lately, although baking indulgent treats like a giant ho-ho cake doesn’t exactly help… But fear not, I’ve got a fantastic recipe for stuffed acorn squash that more than makes up for it! And guess what? I even ventured into the world of quinoa for the very first time!

acorn squash recipe

A Fusion of Autumn and Christmas Flavors!

At first, I wasn’t sure how this recipe would turn out because it’s a unique dish with an incredible medley of flavors. Imagine autumn and Christmas colliding and bursting into a fusion of robust joy – that’s basically what happens with this dish. It’s bright and vibrant with ginger and apple cider, but it’s beautifully balanced by the squash and quinoa. Just when you think it couldn’t get any better, the spicy chorizo comes in and adds a kick of heat. It’s like a roller coaster ride of fall flavors.

ingredients for stuffed acorn squash

Here’s What You Need

  • Quinoa: Adds a nutritious and protein-rich element to the stuffing.
  • Spicy chorizo: Brings a flavorful and slightly spicy kick to the dish.
  • Ginger: Infuses a warm and aromatic note to enhance the overall flavor.
  • White onion: Provides a savory and aromatic base for the stuffing.
  • Apple: Adds a touch of natural sweetness and a pleasant texture.
  • Garlic: Enhances the savory flavor profile of the dish.
  • Apple cider vinegar: Balances the flavors and adds a tangy note.
  • Paprika: Contributes a smoky and slightly sweet flavor to the filling.
  • Cumin: Offers earthy and warm undertones to the dish.
  • Cinnamon: Provides a subtle hint of warmth and sweetness.
  • Red pepper flakes: Adds a touch of heat and spiciness to the stuffing.
  • Rosemary: Infuses an aromatic and herbal note to enhance the flavors.
  • Parmesan cheese: Offers a rich, savory, and slightly nutty taste. It melts and adds a delightful cheesy layer to the dish.

Let’s Cook!

Begin by preheating your oven to 400°F. Cut the acorn squash in half and remove the seeds from the center. Place the squash halves on a baking sheet and roast them in the oven until they become fork-tender.

squash with seeds removed

Once the squash is roasted, let it cool for a few minutes before scraping out some of the flesh, leaving about a 1/4-inch border all around. Yes, you read that right – we’re going to stuff the squash with more squash! Trust me, it’s going to be amazing.

roasted squash

The Flavorful Medley

While the squash is roasting, let’s get the other ingredients ready. In a skillet, quickly brown and crumble the chorizo. Once the chorizo is cooked, remove it from the pan and set it aside.

In the same pan, melt a tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat. Add the ginger, apples, onions, and garlic, and sauté until the apples and onions start to brown. This will release wonderful aromas that will make your kitchen smell incredible! To amp up the flavors even more, pour in the apple cider vinegar. Trust me, it’s a game-changer.

sauting squash filling

While the apple and onion mixture is sautéing, prepare the quinoa according to the instructions on the box. Cook it to perfection so that it’s fluffy and ready to absorb all the delicious flavors we’re about to combine.

squash filling

Bringing It All Together

Now it’s time to bring all the components together. In the pan with the apple and onion mixture, combine the cooked chorizo, cumin, cinnamon, red pepper flakes, rosemary, and paprika. Stir everything together to create a flavorful blend.

Remember that squash you scraped out earlier? Well, it’s time to put it to good use. Add it to the pan and use a spoon to break up any large pieces. This will add extra texture and depth to the stuffing.

squash filling with quinoa

Next, stir a tablespoon of butter into the cooked quinoa. This will add richness and bring everything together. Now, add the quinoa to the pan and give it a good stir.

stuffed squash

The Finishing Touches

It’s time for the final step! Spoon the quinoa mixture into the hollowed-out cavities of the acorn squash halves.

Here’s a fun twist: I like to start by adding a tablespoon or so of Parmesan cheese into the bottom of each squash half. As I fill each half with the quinoa mixture, the cheese gets layered throughout. It adds a deliciously cheesy surprise in every bite!

easy stuffed squash recipe

Lastly, if you’re a cheese lover like me, sprinkle some Parmesan on top of the stuffed squash. Bake everything for another 5-10 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and beautifully enveloped the dish, holding all the flavors together.

Tips for Making Stuffed Squash At Home

  • Roasting the squash: Make sure to roast the acorn squash until it is fork-tender. This ensures a soft and tender texture in the final dish.
  • Choosing quinoa: Feel free to use your favorite kind of quinoa, whether it’s white, red, or tri-color. They all work well in this recipe.
  • Spice level adjustment: Adjust the amount of red pepper flakes according to your spice preference. If you prefer a milder dish, reduce the amount or omit it altogether.
  • Cheese variations: Experiment with different cheeses for topping, such as cheddar or Gruyère, to add your own twist to the dish.
  • Garnish options: Sprinkle some fresh chopped herbs like parsley or cilantro over the stuffed squash before serving to add a pop of freshness and color.
  • Make it vegetarian: For a vegetarian version, you can substitute the spicy chorizo with a meatless alternative like plant-based sausage or tofu crumbles.
  • Make it ahead: You can prepare the filling in advance and store it in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, stuff the squash and bake as directed.
  • Serving suggestions: Serve the Quinoa & Chorizo Stuffed Squash as a main dish accompanied by a side salad or roasted vegetables for a complete meal.
  • Troubleshooting tip: If the squash halves aren’t stable on the baking sheet, you can slice a thin portion from the bottom to create a flat surface for stability.
  • Leftover ideas: Any leftover stuffed squash can be refrigerated and enjoyed as a delicious next-day lunch or dinner.
stuffed squash at home

A Harmony of Flavors

And voila! The Quinoa & Chorizo Stuffed Squash is ready to be devoured! This dish truly embodies the best of both worlds when it comes to flavor. It dances between sweet and savory, spicy and mellow, offering a delightful range of delicious holiday tastes. The best part? It’s actually kind of healthy! Well, at least that’s what I’m telling myself.

So go ahead, give this recipe a try! I promise you won’t be disappointed. It’s a unique and satisfying dish that will impress your taste buds and leave you wanting more. Enjoy!

Don’t forget to let me know in the comments below if you tried this recipe and what you thought of it. And if you have any questions, feel free to reach out on Instagram. Happy cooking, Hungry People!


Quinoa & Chorizo Stuffed Squash

The Starving Chef
A delightful fusion of flavors, with tender roasted squash filled with a savory blend of quinoa, spicy chorizo, ginger, and aromatic spices, topped with melted Parmesan cheese.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Dinner, Fall
Cuisine Fall Foods
Servings 2



  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Split the acorn squash down the center and remove the seeds. Place the squash halves cut side up on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes or until fork-tender.
  • While the squash is roasting, cook the quinoa according to the instructions on the box. Set aside.
  • In a skillet, quickly brown and crumble the spicy chorizo. Once cooked, remove it from the skillet and set aside.
  • In the same skillet, heat one tablespoon of butter and add the chopped apples, onions, minced garlic, and minced ginger. Sauté until the mixture begins to brown. Add the teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and stir well.
  • Return the cooked chorizo to the skillet along with the paprika, cumin, cinnamon, red pepper flakes, and the sprig of rosemary. Toss in the cooked quinoa and stir to combine with the other ingredients.
  • Remove the roasted squash from the oven and scrape away some of the squash flesh from the sides, leaving about 1/4 inch thick walls remaining. Stir the scraped squash flesh into the quinoa filling, breaking up any large pieces.
  • Alternating between layers of cheese and quinoa filling, stuff each squash half until it's overflowing. Top with additional grated Parmesan cheese.
  • Bake the stuffed squash for 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted and is nicely browned on top.
  • Cool for 10-15 minutes to fully set the filling. Serve the quinoa & chorizo stuffed squash right away and enjoy!
Keyword chorizo, quinoa, squash
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