Stuffed Butternut Squash with Quinoa Salad | #butternut #squash #quinoa #salad #recipe #fall #thanksgiving

Stuffed Butternut Squash with Quinoa Salad

The other day Aaron and I were having a conversation about which season has the best-smelling food. Not the best all-around food—the best-smelling. And as much as I’m firmly on Team Summer for most things, I will admit that I agree with Aaron on this one: fall is the definite winner smell-wise. In the last week alone, we’ve enjoyed spicy chai tea in the mornings, baked apple cider donuts for afternoon snack, and this Stuffed Butternut Squash with Warm Quinoa Salad at dinner. It’s been wonderfully cozy.

Stuffed Butternut Squash with Quinoa Salad | #butternut #squash #quinoa #salad #recipe #fall #thanksgiving

What I love about this meal is that it’s comfort food minus the food coma. This recipe smells and tastes like Thanksgiving, but it won’t weigh you down or make you feel like you need to walk (or sleep) it off immediately after. Another positive? You can prep the quinoa salad filling in advance, which makes this recipe doable even on a busy weeknight. I made my quinoa salad a day ahead, then roasted the butternut squash the following day when I was doing my batch cooking for the upcoming week.

Stuffed Butternut Squash with Quinoa Salad | #butternut #squash #quinoa #salad #recipe #fall #thanksgiving

In addition to quinoa, the salad also includes garlic, shallots, celery, kale, chickpeas, and parsley. The dressing is a simple mix of bright lemon juice, pure maple syrup, and a pinch of red pepper flakes, topped off with roasted chopped pecans and pomegranate seeds for additional texture and sweetness. It’s vegan, gluten-free, and entirely made from whole foods, not to mention it will make your house smell like fall in the best possible way.


Stuffed Butternut Squash with Quinoa Salad

Stuffed Butternut Squash with Quinoa Salad | #butternut #squash #quinoa #salad #recipe #fall #thanksgiving

Stuffed Butternut Squash with Quinoa Salad

Gluten Free, Vegan,

Serves: 4-6

Prep Time: 15 mins

Cook Time: 35 mins

Total Time: 50 mins

Roasted butternut squash stuffed with a simple and cozy warm quinoa salad. This meal is easy to make and pretty too! It would make a deliciously satisfying addition to your Thanksgiving table.

Stuffed Butternut Squash with Quinoa Salad | #butternut #squash #quinoa #salad #recipe #fall #thanksgiving

Stuffed Butternut Squash with Quinoa Salad



  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 large butternut squash
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • sea salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 3 cups chopped kale
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 small bunch parsley, chopped
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • generous pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 1/4 cup roasted pecans, chopped

Cuisine: Gluten Free, Vegan Servings: 4-6

Prep Time: 15 mins Cook Time: 35 mins Total Time: 50 mins

Roasted butternut squash stuffed with a simple and cozy warm quinoa salad. This meal is easy to make and pretty too! It would make a deliciously satisfying addition to your Thanksgiving table.


  • Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Cut the squash lengthwise down the middle. Scoop out and discard the seeds, and brush each piece with olive oil. Sprinkle with a few generous pinches of salt and pepper. Place the squash cut side down on the baking sheet. Roast until tender when pierced with a fork, about 35-40 minutes depending on the size of the squash. At the 20 minute mark, turn the squash over so that it's facing cut side up. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  • While the squash bakes, place the quinoa and vegetable broth in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil uncovered, then reduce the heat and let simmer covered for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the quinoa to sit for 5 more minutes, or until the broth is absorbed. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  • In a skillet over medium heat, sauté the garlic and shallots in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until soft, about 2 minutes. Add the celery and sauté 2 minutes longer. Add the kale and chickpeas to the pan and sauté until the kale is wilted and the chickpeas are heated through. Add the cooked quinoa, parsley, lemon juice, maple syrup, and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine and season with salt and pepper.
  • Scoop out the roasted squash leaving about 3/4-inch of squash plus shell. Fill the squash with the quinoa salad mixture, allowing it to overflow generously. Top with pomegranate seeds and pecans, then slice and serve.

Notes [1]

Recipe lightly adapted from this Stuffed Butternut Squash with Tempeh.

Copyright © 2022 Amanda Maguire for Pickles & Honey

Leave a Comment

  1. Sharon says

    This is going to look so beautiful on my Thanksgiving table this year. I fully plan on taking your advice and making the quinoa salad part in advance. Thanks for making my life a little easier! 😉

    1. Happy to help make your Thanksgiving menu a little less daunting. 🙂

  2. Lucy says

    When I received your post this morning I had all of the ingredients except quinoa ( I’m not a fan). I substituted brown rice and just removed your recipe from my oven. It is delicious and a beautiful presentation! I almost did not attempt as it looked too time consuming but it was simple.
    Thank You!

    1. I’m so glad you ended up making the stuffed butternut squash, Lucy! It’s one of those recipes that looks harder than it is, I think. I bet the brown rice was great too!

  3. Ashley says

    This looks so good! I have a Friendsgiving in two weeks and this is going to be my contribution. 🙂 I like that you added chickpeas and quinoa for extra protein.

    1. A Friendsgiving sounds like so much fun! Definitely let me know how this dish goes over with your friends. 🙂

  4. Hannah says

    Dinner? Check! I’m feeling halloween candy overload and your healthy recipe couldn’t possibly look better. I’m all out of chickpeas but I am thinking lentils will do the trick…we shall see!

    1. Lentils should be great, Hannah! I’d say I feel you on the Halloween candy overload, but somehow this year I managed not to eat any…unless you count an almond butter chocolate bar, but that’s just everyday stuff, right? 😉

  5. Mallory says

    Do you use the scooped out butternut squash in this recipe or just save it for later? I’m a little confused…are you basically just using the squash shell for aesthetic?

    1. Hi Mallory! You scoop out just the very top layer of butternut squash in the section that isn’t filled with seeds (so the “non-cavity” top section) to make room for the filling. I scooped out maybe 1/3-1/2 cup total from a large squash, so there’s still a lot of squash left when you serve it. Feel free to save it for later, serve it on the side, chop it up and mix it into the filling—whatever you’d like. 🙂

      1. Mallory says

        Thanks! That is what I figured

  6. I love the sound of the squash with the salad. My wife likes to roast butternut squash and we have quinoa that we have been meaning to use. Going to show her this. I agree that Autumn is the best time for food smells. Also most of my favorite foods are in season at this time.

    1. This would be a great way to use up that extra quinoa! Autumn has a lot of great things going for it—the food, the smells, the colors. It’s wonderful.

  7. Morgan Mendel says

    Do you have any alternatives for pomegranates that you’ve tried?? This looks AMAZING but I’m not a massive fan of pomegranates 🙂

    1. Hey Morgan! Someone else commented that they used diced apple instead of pomegranate. I’d second that recommendation because it sounds delicious!

  8. Sheryl says

    This turned out really well! I couldn’t find pomegranate seeds near me and I didn’t have the patience to deal with extracting them from a whole one, so I chopped a macintosh apple instead. It was delicious and my husband is already asking me to make it again. Thank you for another winner!

    1. Thanks for commenting, Sheryl! I’m glad to know the apple worked out well instead!

  9. Sheri says

    thank you for this recipe. this has been our holiday dish since thanksgiving. my daughters love it. this was our first vegan holiday season. I will be making this in a sweet potato version (individual servings) for Easter on Sunday. I’m sure it will be yummy. Thanks for the site. love the recipes and I’m always careful to link the page whenever I mention it.

    1. Thank you, Sheri! Your comment made my day. 🙂 I LOVE your idea to make this into individual servings using sweet potatoes—so smart! I hope you have a wonderful Easter!

  10. Natasha says

    This looks so pretty and delicious! I’m allergic to nuts, so I think pumpkin seeds would be a nice substitute. Might switch out the arils for dried cranberries, too.

    1. Amanda says

      Yum! Those substitutions sound wonderful.

  11. Will says


  12. Wow! Thank you for the recipe! It sounds soooo delicious! Can’t wait to try it!


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