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Stuffed Winter Squash + Quinoa, Cranberry & Pistachio

This is the time for winter squash and all their wonderful flavors. These stuffed squashes would make for a pretty presentation on any holiday table, or simply enjoy anytime during the season for a flavorful and filling meal.

This recipe can be dressed up fancy or kept simple, depending on your mood or occasion. Keep it to a few ingredients while adding more to add complexity to the dish. I’ve made this with just six ingredients (squash, quinoa, cranberries, pistachios, oil and salt) and it was great, adding a few other components give it more depth and flavor. This recipe is more of a template for you to create a quinoa stuffing to your liking. I encourage you to play around with the ingredients adjusting to your personal tastes.
I decided to do both the acorn and delicata squash with this because they both work so well here. You can use one or the other, or both for variation at the table. I love the delicata squash because the skin is edible. The acorn squash on the other hand may have a tougher, and possibly bitter, skin making it less likely that you’ll be able to eat it but it does make for a great bowl. So either way, they both are great and can cook together if doing both.
Quinoa is my favorite grain, well technically it’s a seed but can be prepared like a grain. It’s a complete protein, full of fiber and a good source of calcium, magnesium and iron making it a great alternative to grains. And it’s gluten free. It’s perfect for those on a plant based diet and those seeking nutritionally dense foods. Served warm or cool, quinoa tastes great and is such a versatile grain. Here I used a blend of pearl and tri-colored quinoa. I like blending the two so there is just a few specks of the darker quinoa.
Add in some festive colors from the pistachios and cranberries and this dish is as appealing looking as it is good, and good for you!
Stuffed Winter Squash + Quinoa, Cranberry & Pistachio


  • 2 large or 3 small acorn or delicata squash
  • maple syrup
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
  • 1 3/4  cup water
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup pistachios
  • 2 tablespoons finely minced shallot, optional
  • mineral salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
  • juice of 1 lemon

add complexity to the quinoa by adding one or more of the following to suit your taste:

  • pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley (if your a mint fan, try 1/4 cup fresh mint)
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • drizzle of olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Wash and dry squash. Slice each squash in half lengthwise, remove seeds. The seeds should come out easily by scraping the inside of the squash with a spoon. Lightly brush the inside of each squash with a little oil and/or maple syrup. sprinkle with a bit of mineral salt. Place on baking sheet cut side up. Bake in oven for 35 – 40 minutes, or until squash is tender and pierces easily with a fork.

While squash is cooking add 1 3/4 cup water and 1 cup quinoa to a medium size pot. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove lid and let set 15 minutes. Add pistachios, cranberries, shallots, salt, juice of lemon, and any other optional ingredients. Toss to combine.

Scoop quinoa into squash halves, place back in the oven for 10 minutes to warm if needed, and serve.


For the quinoa I used a blend of 1/2 cup white and 1/2 cup tri-color quinoa. Feel free to use all of one type or mix and match to your preference.

Seek out organic cranberries if possible. Unsweetened is best but can be hard to find. The ones I have here are from Trader Joe’s which are organic but sweetened.

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