Cranberry Pecan Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash with Goat Cheese Crema

Stuffed acorn squash with cranberry, pecans and quinoa then drizzled with a simple goat cheese crema. Perfect for vegetarians at Thanksgiving, or anytime you’re looking for a healthy plant based meal or side.

Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 20 mins

Here we are again! Thanksgiving is getting close and I’m more than ready to bust out all the fabulous recipes I’ve been testing in my kitchen over the last few weeks. Safe to say Abra and I have been eating very, very well.

To me, Thanksgiving can involve your Grandma’s classic recipes but it can also be about experimenting with new recipes and creating your own traditions. Since coming into Tony’s family, I’ve introduced my both my cranberry sauce and sweet potato casserole to the table and now each year we’re sure not to miss it.

I’m even more excited about the recipes I’m going to post this week and next because they are creative, beautiful and healthy. YASSS.

Stuffed acorn squash on a baking sheet

This recipe in particular is inspired by my love affair for acorn squash. I’ve been obsessed with it since my mom and I started cooking it during college. One of my favorite ways to eat it is stuffed with greek yogurt for breakfast.

If you’ve never had acorn squash before, then get excited because it can be both savory and sweet and a wonderful introductory squash. It’s tender and full of smoooooooth flava. Basically the beyonce of all squash — in my opinion anyway.

Stuffed acorn squash on a baking sheet

Today’s recipe was one that I made up on a whim and it turned out to be one of the most creative meals I’ve made in some time.

The acorn squash is first roasted with a little coconut oil, brown sugar (or coconut sugar) and cinnamon. While it roasts to sweet perfection, you’ll cook your quinoa and infuse it with a little thyme, turmeric and orange juice. Next add in cranberries and pecans then stuff it back into the squash and bake again for a few minutes. The nice part is that this could technically be made ahead of time and then reheated.

To finish it off, you’ll make a goat cheese crema and drizzle it all over the top of the roasted squash (now my favorite dressing for everything). It’s sweet, tangy and SO SO goooood.

Stuffed acorn squash on a baking sheet

I hope you’ll be joining me for an #AKThanksgiving this year. I’m so thankful for all of you who visit my site and make my recipes, you are what make this job possible. So from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

If you make this recipe, please rate it below and leave a comment. You can also snap a photo and tag #ambitiouskitchen on Instagram! xo.

More healthy vegetarian recipes to try:

One Pot Moroccan Chickpea Quinoa Salad

Stuffed Poblano Peppers with Black Bean, Corn & Sweet Potato

Butternut Squash Quinoa Patties with Cranberry Orange Sauce

Roasted Veggie, Chickpea & Pesto Quinoa Salad

Brown Butter Cranberry Pumpkin Cornbread Skillet

Cranberry Pecan Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash with Goat Cheese Crema

5 from 3 votes
Course Dinner, Gluten Free, Side Dish, Thanksgiving, Vegetarian
Keyword stuffed acorn squash
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Serves 4
Stuffed acorn squash with cranberry, pecans and quinoa then drizzled with a simple goat cheese crema. Perfect for vegetarians at Thanksgiving, or anytime you're looking for a healthy plant based meal or side.


  • For the acorn squash:
  • 2 medium acorn squash, cut in half and seeds removed
  • 4 teaspoons virgin melted coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • For the quinoa:
  • ½ cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 ¼ cups water
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon virgin coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves
  • For the goat cheese crema:
  • 2 ounces goat cheese crumbles
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2-3 tablespoons water


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Add 1 teaspoon of coconut oil and 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar to each squash half; use your hands to rub into the flesh of the squash, even on the top (but not on the skin). Sprinkle each squash half with a little bit of cinnamon. Place flesh side down on baking sheet and roast in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until squash is just fork tender.
  3. While the squash roasts, you can make the quinoa. Add quinoa, water and thyme leaves to a large pot and place over medium high heat. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to low and cook for exactly 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove from heat and fluff quinoa with a fork. 
  4. Next stir in coconut oil, orange juice, honey and turmeric and stir to combine. Fold in dried cranberries and pecans.
  5. Once acorn squash is done roasting, evenly stuff each squash with quinoa. Bake for an additional 10 minutes.
  6. While the squash is baking again, make the goat cheese drizzle: Add goat cheese, honey, apple cider vinegar and water to a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Drizzle evenly over each squash half. Serves 4, 1 squash half each

Recipe Notes

If you want to save time, you can make the squash and quinoa a day ahead of time. Once ready to serve, simply reheat in oven at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until warm and then make goat cheese crema and drizzle on top.

Servings: 4 servings
Serving size: 1 squash half
Calories: 393kcal
Fat: 17g
Saturated fat: 7.4g
Carbohydrates: 58.7g
Fiber: 9.8g
Sugar: 17.5g
Protein: 7.8g


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