This perfectly tender stuffed delicata squash is filled with fluffy quinoa, chopped walnuts, sautéed veggies, and dried fruit. Topped with melty goat cheese, this vegetarian recipe is the perfect flavorful veggie side or as a satisfying meatless main dish.
I’m on a mission to make delicata squash everyone’s go-to squash for fall and winter.
Don’t get me wrong, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, and pumpkins are all amazing and are frequent flyers in my house. However, and let us just be honest here, they are a bit of a pain to handle. The cutting. The peeling. The deseeding. Bleh. I love ’em, but I do find myself avoiding cooking squash just because I don’t want to think about prepping them.
That is why delicata squash is where it is at. You don’t have to peel them, people! Just cut them in half, remove the seeds and cook it up. The skin is thin and tender enough to enjoy. And there are so many ways to enjoy the beautiful (and easy) delicata squash.
This stuffed delicata squash is my latest obsession. I wanted to create a vegetarian dish for all those holiday gatherings that could be an amazing veggie side, but flavorful and hearty enough as a main for those who don’t eat meat. Onions, carrots, and celery sautéed and perfectly seasoned are combined with cooked quinoa, chopped walnuts, and dried cranberries before being spooned into tenderly roasted delicata squash halves. Naturally vegetarian and gluten free, you can make this festive dish vegan and dairy-free by omitting the goat cheese.
What does delicata squash taste like?
Like many of its squashy friends, delicata has a mild natural sweetness to it. The flesh is tender and creamy when cooked and it can take on all kinds of different seasoning.
Can you eat the skin of a delicata squash?
Yes! Which is one of the reasons I love it so much! The skin is much thinner than most other squash and is tender when cooked. Just be sure to wash delicata squash well before cooking since you are eating the skin after it is cooked.
How do you select a delicata squash?
When buying or harvesting a delicata squash, you’ll know it is ripe and ready to be enjoyed when it is light yellow with green stripes along ribs. It should be firm, with no soft spots.
When are delicata squash in season?
You will see delicata squash in stores and at farmers markets starting in early fall and going through November. They can be bought in season and stored in a cool, dark place for several months…. making them perfect for holiday side dishes like this stuffed delicata squash recipe.
How do I cook the quinoa for this stuffed delicata squash?
To cook the quinoa, add 1 ¾ cups of water to a boil. Once boiling, stir in ½ tsp of kosher salt and 1 cup quinoa. Lower the heat to a simmer, cover the pot, then cook until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is cooked through, about 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly before using.
- If you don’t want to use quinoa, any cooked grain, such white rice, brown rice, farro, or bulgur wheat, will work well.
- If you can only find larger squash, use 2 and cut them in half before serving. You could also use 2 acorn squash instead of delicata but be sure the squash is tender before adding the stuffing. The larger squash may need 10 or more minutes of extra time to cook.
- To make this dairy-free, just omit the cheese.
- Don’t like goat cheese? You can use a shredded parmesan or crumbled feta cheese instead.
- To make this stuffed squash dish nut-free, omit the walnuts or use pumpkin seeds instead.
- If you don’t want to use walnuts, you can replace them with pecans.
- Instead of dried cranberries, dried cherries or chopped apricots would be great. If your dried fruit isn’t soft and easy to chew, soak it in very hot water for 20 minutes, drain the water, and then use the rehydrated fruit in the recipe.
How to store this stuffed squash
You can make this stuffed delicata squash up to 2 days in advance. Refrigerate the cooked squash in an air tight container and then reheat in an oven-safe dish at 350℉ until warmed through (about 15-20 minutes).
More vegetarian recipes to try!
- Savory Pumpkin & Sweet Potato Soup
- Creamy One Pot Delicata Squash Orzo
- Roasted Eggplant Dip
- Miso Green Bean and Eggplant Stir-Fry
- Creamy Cucumber Radish Salad
- Tex-Mex Roasted Cabbage Steaks with Avocado Sauce
Loving this delicata squash recipe but you’re hungry for more?
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Vegetarian Stuffed Delicata Squash
- 3 medium delicata squash about 2 ½ pounds total
- 2 Tablespoons Olive oil divided
- 1¼ teaspoon kosher salt divided
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper divided
- ½ teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 large carrot diced small
- 1 stalk celery diced small
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh sage or ¼ teaspoon dried
- 2 teaspoons minces fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried
- ½ Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 2 cups cooked quinoa* or rice
- ½ cup finely chopped walnuts
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- 1 cup baby spinach roughly chopped
- ¼ cup water
- ½ cup crumbled goat cheese divided and optional
- Preheat oven to 400℉ degrees.
- Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with a spoon. Place the squash halves into a large baking dish or on a sheet pan. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and make sure all sides of the squash are coated with oil (use your hands or a pastry brush). Sprinkle the squash evenly with ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon of ground pepper, and the dried poultry seasoning.
- Roast the squash, flipping halfway through, until the tip of a knife easily pierces the thickest part of the squash, about 30 minutes.
- While the squash is roasting, make the stuffing. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil then the chopped onion, carrot, and celery. Sauté until the vegetables are tender and lightly golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic, sage, thyme, remaining ¾ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper, and cook for 1 minute.
- Stir in the balsamic vinegar, quinoa, walnut, dried cranberries, chopped spinach, and water. Continue to cook for a minute or two until the spinach has wilted.
- Turn off the heat then stir in half of the goat cheese. Taste the filling and add more salt and pepper as needed.
- Spoon the filling into the squash, packing it down gently with the back of the spoon to get as much filling into the squash as possible. Divide the remaining goat cheese between the tops of the filled squash.
- Place the squash back into the oven and bake until the cheese on top is lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Serve right away or set aside for up to an hour and serve at room temperature. Let leftovers cool and store in an air-tight container in your fridge for up to 2 days.
The nutritional information is provided as an estimate only and may vary based on the product type, servings and other factors. If you are following a diet, please consult with a professional nutritionist or your doctor. Stay healthy!
Natalie - The Natural Natalie
Taesha, I found your blog after searching for the perfect fall squash recipe. So glad I came across this recipe! Now I have my dinner all sorted 🙂
Enjoy, Natalie! And so nice to “meet” you.
This recipe is my new favorite from TNN!! I substituted baby bella mushroom for the walnuts (included them with the other sautéed veggies) and used baby kale instead of baby spinach but I imagine as written it would be even more delicious. It is hearty enough for your entire meal and tastes just like Thanksgiving. This will definitely go into my regular meal rotation.
Those are awesome subs and I love the mushrooms for making this a nut-free dish. I am so glad you enjoyed this one as much as we do, Cheryl. So hearty, flavorful and downright satisfying.
This is amazing! It will definitely be in our rotation now. Thank you for the great recipe!
I’m so delighted you enjoyed it so much, Sarah!
Made this for a vegetarian meal train on Thanksgiving. I love that it is hearty enough to stand on its own. So many vegetarian recipes are sides masquerading as main dishes. But this one is both substantial as a main dish and…is elegant! Maybe not always a hit with the kids (yet! You never know! But I enjoyed it as did the recipients!). The goat cheese on the top really brought it all together!
I totally agree, Rebecca! It is a hearty main that is satisfying in all ways. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment! I’m glad it was enjoyed.