These Cheesy Mexican Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash take 30 minutes to make. They have 19 grams of protein and make a great vegetarian main course!

Stuffed Acorn Squash from the side on a plate with a forkfull removed.

Though we often think of squash in the fall, acorn squash is a great storing crop and can be enjoyed through the entire winter season. Today I was inspired by a trip to Mexico to stuff them with Mexican seasoned quinoa for a vegetarian entree. 

Ingredients For Mexican Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

Acorn squash:

Look for firm unblemished acorn squash. If yours have dirt on them (which is common if you purchased yours at a Farmers’ Market, Farm Stand or got it in a CSA share) make sure to rinse them off and let them dry before storing them at room temperature.

You’ll need two squash for this recipe. Each serving is a half squash, stuffed.

Uncooked quinoa:

It occurs to me that you could use another grain, but I love the fact that quinoa is high in protein, so you end up getting 19 grams per serving!

Check your package and see if it says “rinsed” on it. If so, you do not need to rinse it, but if it doesn’t put it in a fine mesh sieve and rinse it with cool water for a minute before cooking it. That will rinse off the bitter and soapy tasting saponin on the quinoa. 

Scallions:

An easy way of giving this recipe an allium flavor without being overbearing is to use scallions. Look for scallions with greens free from signs of wilt. 

Cilantro:

The cilantro adds fresh flavor to the quinoa stuffing. Before chopping it, wash it and spin it dry so that it is free from any grit.

Sharp cheddar cheese:

I like to use the sharpest available cheese so that I can get away with using a little less. While Monterey Jack or Colby Jack would be appropriate in this recipe, I prefer the stronger tangy flavor of cheddar. If you have a cheese you prefer, use that.

For best melting, grate your own. Buying pre-grated cheese is convenient, but it doesn’t melt as beautifully. 

Mexican spice blend and salt: 

Look for Mexican Seasoning blends in the spice section. If yours has salt listed in the ingredients you can add salt to the recipe to taste. If you can’t find Mexican blend, use 2 teaspoons chili powder and 1 teaspoon cumin. 

Salsa:

This gives the quinoa a bit of moisture and more flavor. Whichever kind you have on hand will work well. 

Greek yogurt:

 Adding Greek yogurt makes it creamy and gives the filling a yummy gooey texture. 

Stuffed acorn squash from overhead on a table with beer and cilantro

How To Make Stuffed Acorn Squash

These Mexican Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash are  super cheesy and super flavorful.

  1. I used a similar technique to the Stuffed Mexican Peppers I made last month. I steamed the acorn squash in the microwave, just like the spaghetti squash technique I told you about.
  2. I made a quinoa filling by cooking the quinoa the way one would normally (with 2 to 1 parts water for 15 minutes.) Then while it was still hot added in all the yummy ingredients (scallions, cilantro, spices, yogurt and cheese.) It all melts together and becomes cheesy and gooey!!
  3. Then I filled the cooked squash halves with the quinoa mixture.
  4. Last I added on more cheese on top and microwaved them for a few more minutes to melt it.
  5. All told they only took 30 minutes to make. And half of that time was just letting the squash and quinoa cook. How easy!

Can I make This in the Oven Instead of the Microwave?

Yes you can. It will take about 1 hour to do so.

  1. To cook the squash set it in an oven safe baking dish and pour the water over it as directed. Bake uncovered and cut-side down until the squash is tender when you press them with your finger. Flip them over to make sure they are tender with a fork. This will take 45 minutes to an hour depending on the squash you have.
  2. Prepare the quinoa as directed, stuff the squash and top with cheese. 
  3. Drain the water from the baking dish and return the squash to the baking dish. Bake them 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted. 

What To Serve With Stuffed Acorn Squash

These stuffed squash are surprisingly filling so something lighter like my Mexican Coleslaw would be appropriate. 

You could serve this Mexican Street Corn Saute (skip the bacon to keep it vegetarian.)

A Garden Salad or another green salad with my Lemon Vinaigrette would also be an easy option. 

My Mexican Bean Salad or Mexican Pasta Salad would be heartier options for sides to pair with these stuffed squash.

Stuffed Acorn Squash on a metal plate with a fork sitting on the plate

More Squash Recipes To Try

Don’t miss my round up of Winter Squash recipes. 

My Spaghetti Squash with Chevre and Lemon Thyme Vinaigrette is amazingly good! 

These Curry Roasted Acorn Squash are super easy and pack a flavor punch. 

This Spaghetti Squash Amatriciana is a delicious Italian dinner and lower in carbs than spaghetti. 

 

Thanks so much for reading. If you make this recipe, please come back and let me know by leaving a star rating and review! 

Happy Cooking!

~Katie

 

 

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close-up of acorn squash

Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash

  • Author: Katie Webster
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Microwave
  • Cuisine: Mexican
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

These 30 Minute Cheesy Mexican Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash are vegetarian and have 19 grams of protein in them.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 medium acorn squash, cut in half and seeds scooped out
  • 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed if necessary
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 6 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon Mexican spice blend
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 3 tablespoons salsa
  • 3 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt

Instructions

  1. Cook Acorn Squash: Place acorn squash cut side down in a large microwave safe casserole dish such as a 9 by 13-inch Pyrex lasagna pan. Pour one cup water over the squash. Layer parchment or waxed paper over the squash and then cover the dish entirely with a layer of plastic wrap. Microwave until the squash is tender, about 16 minutes. Remove the baking dish from the microwave with potholders. Avoiding steam, carefully remove plastic and parchment and turn the squash over cut-side up with a spatula.
  2. Make Quinoa Filling: Meanwhile, bring 1 ½ cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add quinoa, return to a simmer, cover and reduce heat to low to maintain a simmer. Cook until the germ bursts open and the quinoa has absorbed the liquid, 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Mix the hot quinoa with scallions, cilantro, half of the cheese, spice blend and salt. Stir until the cheese is melted into the quinoa. Add salsa and yogurt and stir until creamy.
  4. Stuff the squash with the quinoa mixture, dividing evenly among the four halves. Top with the remaining cheese. Microwave until the cheese is melted, about 2 ½ to 3 minutes.

Notes

To Make In Oven

  1. To cook the squash set it in an oven safe baking dish and pour the water over it as directed. Bake uncovered and cut-side down until the squash is tender when you press them with your finger. Flip them over to make sure they are tender with a fork. This will take 45 minutes to an hour depending on the squash you have.
  2. Prepare the quinoa as directed, stuff the squash and top with cheese.
  3. Drain the water from the baking dish and return the squash to the baking dish. Bake them 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 stuffed acorn squash half
  • Calories: 408
  • Sugar: 2 g
  • Sodium: 706 mg
  • Fat: 16 g
  • Saturated Fat: 9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 49 g
  • Fiber: 5 g
  • Protein: 19 g

More Healthy Mexican Recipes:

Mexican Four Bean Salad

Slow Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

20-Minute Ground Chicken Tacos with Poblanos 

Grilled Chicken Fajita Salad

Mexican Cauliflower Patties