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Yes, Autumn has arrived – even in Southern California…and when I saw organic Acorn Squash at the local grocery a week ago, I knew what I had to do.  I have come across many stuffed squash recipes in my time – and the vast majority of them are not plant-based – or even vegetarian.  In fact most recipes call for brushing the inside of the squash with butter and brown sugar.  In the end, I decided to go with my own interpretation – putting together the flavors of Fall with the ingredients I had in the house.

Stuffed Acorn Squash


2 acorn squash, cut in half with seeds/strings scooped out

2 teaspoons pure maple syrup (the real thing)

2 cups prepared quinoa (or brown rice if you prefer)

1/2 yellow onion, chopped fine

2 stalks celery, chopped fine

2 apples, peeled, cored and chopped

1/2 package Gimme Lean or other vegan sausage

1/4 cup raisins

small handful of almonds, pecans or walnuts, roughly chopped

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp sage

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground clove

Heat your oven to 375.  Pour approximately 1/2 teaspoon of maple syrup into each squash half and coat the inside of the squash with it.  Bake the squash, cut side down, on a cookie sheet for 30-40 minutes.

When squash goes in the oven, cook the quinoa according to package directions (usually 10-15 minutes). In a large pan, sauté the onion and celery over medium heat until soft.  Add the sausage and cook through.  Add the apple, raisins and nuts, stirring often until the apple begins to soften. Add garlic powder, sage, cinnamon and clove, mixing thoroughly  (I tend to go light on spices – feel free to add more to your taste).  Add the cooked quinoa and stir.  If the squash isn’t ready, turn heat to low and keep mixture warm.

Take the squash out of the oven, but leave the oven on at 350.  If your squash needs more room for stuffing, scoop some of the cooked squash out and add it to the quinoa mixture. Stuff the squash.

Cover the pan with foil and cook for 30 minutes.  Remove the foil and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes.

This is a great recipe for experimentation, so play with the ingredients and have fun!  Each portion – which is a substantial meal in itself – comes in at about 375 calories (when made my way).  If you have a small appetite or want to use this as a side, simply cut each half in two.