Dec 27

Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash + Holiday Amazingness

Mind-readers scare me.


No, I didn’t go to a psychic to find out of the world would really end.

My friend a bi-weekly guest blogger (Kat), sent me her post last night and it appears we have been miles apart but on the same wavelength.

In the past, Kat has blogged about yoga, running + nutrition, and even homemade peppermint mochas!  I really excited that today she’s sharing her first entree recipe.  This girls loves food just as much as I do.

I’m at the gym working off my cookies, complete with a new top thanks to my mom Santa


Top by Lucy


…and with a new toy!  A fitbit one to replace my old ultra:



I hope you enjoy Kat’s first recipe today – while I haven’t had the pleasure of eating this dish (yet), I can tell from the pics and ingredient list that it’s a great, clean way to bring us into the New Year!


Who relaxes during the holidays?!?!

Yeah, I didn’t either.  I think I raced through the holidays!

Recap.  I flew into Orlando for a party on Friday (my mom had an end of the world party – she is such a hippie), worked all day Saturday, traveled over an hour to Dad’s on Sunday, Dad’s parents Monday night (for the first time in almost a decade), Tuesday with Mom and then later to her mom’s, and later to my sister’s boyfriend’s family.  Talk about a holiday marathon (many of you know the drill)… but I have so much to be grateful for and it really felt like Christmas for me this year.  Nevertheless, glad to be home!


This had my whole family laughing…even my dad.

This had my whole family laughing…even my dad.


It can be hard to keep up, but it’s also nice to catch up with family, have some sister love, and enjoy the holiday spirit with old and new friends.  I managed to keep up my runs, and get plenty of quality time.

Honestly, none of the time would have been quality because I would have been completely mentally unbalanced without my runs.  It just gets my head in the right place.  Man, Laura and I have a similar philosophy… she recently wrote about having no excuses NOT to work out recently!  (Editor’s note: You can click here to check that out).  I even got to run through my old neighborhood – yeah, the one I grew up in.  It’s crazy that what felt like a long run when I was 15 (about 3 miles) felt like such a short run to me today!


Holiday Run Time – Getting your head in order! No excuses!

Holiday Run Time – Getting your head in order! No excuses!


Keeping with Laura’s theme from her past few blogs about cleaning up your kitchen and the winter weigh in about letting yourself indulge in your favorites (without going overboard), I managed to keep a pretty healthy diet too!

It’s totally okay to let your family and friends know what you do and do not eat.  (Editor’s note: Yes! And you’d be surprised how often they feel the same way!)  My mom, sister, and I told my Grammy we wanted to eat light and healthy, and that’s exactly what she did for Christmas lunch/brunch!  She put up a wonderful spread of super healthy food.  I also made it through without any dreaded gluten mistakes!



Christmas Brunch at Grammy’s


Needless to say, I have also been having meals at home that feel like winter indulgences but are also SUPER healthy!  My first – real – recipe to share.  Firstly, I LOVE squash, all squash, so it was hard to decide which “recipe” to share.  But, I have been into stuffing my squashes lately, and acorn squash is a great size for stuffing – with almost anything, I would argue!


I always think of quinoa as a summer-y light and healthy meal, but made the right way, it can be comforting and winter-y too!  I made this for a friend last week, and it was satisfying and comforting, but keeping with the kitchen workout. (Editor’s note: Where’s MY quinoa?!)




Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash

  • 1 medium acorn squash
  • ½ cup of quinoa
  • 1 cup of water or vegetable stock
  • ½ cup of mushrooms
  • ¼ red onion
  • ¼ cup frozen peas
  • Some chopped kale and/or arugula
  • Touch of cayenne
  • Maybes: thyme, basil, rosemary
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • Parmesan to top, and your pasta sauce of choice (I like Whole Foods’ 365 brand)


Disclaimer: I don’t actually measure anything when I cook so please take all of these as amazingly close guestimates as to what actually happens in the kitchen


There are two ways to roast the squash, depending on how you want to present.  You can either chop the top off, scoop out the seeds, put the top back on and throw it in the oven… or just cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, and throw it in the oven at about 375 (prettier presentation for two people).

Roast the squash first, and roast the squash about 20-30 minutes.  While this is happening, cook your quinoa (boil water, add quinoa, 10 minutes pass, turn of the stove, leave the lid on until totally absorbed – basically follow the instructions on the box), and then sauté your onions, then add your mushrooms and frozen peas (and any other fresh veggies you have in your fridge), as well as your kale/arugula. 

Combine all of your quinoa with the veggies, and add your spices and potentially herbs (I like thyme and rosemary for this one).  Mix.

Remove the squash form the oven, stuff the mixture into the squash, top with a ton of Parmesan cheese and put it back in the oven at 375 for 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese browns.  

Remove and top with warm pasta sauce. 




This is delicious, packed with protein from the quinoa, but low calorie and super filling!


I need to work on taking pictures of my food, and writing recipes (so feedback please!!!).  But, I guarantee this will be a great way to switch up what you’re eating while bringing in some healthy New Year’s habits!

Don’t forget tomorrow’s 3rd #strangebutgood link up!  Click here for the details, and grab the image below to share in your post:
Sprint 2 the Table

Did you make a point tell anyone what you needed to eat/not eat for the holidays?

What is your favorite squash?



Skip to comment form

  1. STUFT Mama

    Friend, that just looks so stinking delicious. You’d think I’d be into the acorn squash. I haven’t dabbled in that one yet. He he. Love the new shirt BTW.

    1. Kat

      :) Thanks!!!!

  2. Angela @ Happy Fit Mama

    Stuffing an acorn squash has been a weekly staple at our house. In fact just had it last night! Great tips!

    1. Kat

      That is awesome!! What else are you stuffing yours with?

  3. Christine @ Love, Life, Surf

    Yum!! I love quinoa and acorn squash but I haven’t made them together in a dish before. Will definitely have to try this! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Kat

      Thanks for the comment! :) I hope you try it!

  4. Tara | Treble in the Kitchen

    Yummy!! Your quinoa stuffed acorn squash looks absolutely delicious…you may see that pop up on my menu sometime in the near future :) Have a good day!

    1. Kat

      Yay!! Glad you liked the idea!!

  5. Fran@BCDC

    I love quinoa but I’ve never tried acorn squash. I saw it at the produce market but didn’t get it because I had too many “regular” veggies I need to stock up on. Next week! Great post, Kat!

    1. Laura

      Fran, you would love it! It’s a fairly neutral taste so you can do a LOT with it.

  6. Lee

    I need more squash in my life. That looks really good.

    1. Kat

      :) We all need squash in our lives for the winter… STAPLE.

  7. Kierston

    I have never made squash!!! I’m serious! I do enjoy eating it though!

    1. Laura

      Really?! Not even spaghetti squash? You have to try it!

    2. Kat

      ALL squash should be a winter staple. Try it!!!

  8. Danielle

    This looks awesome! I’ve been loving quinoa lately so I will definitely have to try this!

    1. Kat

      It’s nice to switch it up with a staple! (I have a hard time getting outside the box sometimes)

  9. Nadiya

    Aww sounds like an amazing recipe. I’ve tried making stuffed acorn squash and failed. Got to give this one a try ;)

    1. Kat

      You can do it! The key is getting the acorn squash like 75% cooked before you stuff it! :)

  10. Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean

    oooh enjoy the new fitbit! we got my MIL the fitbit zip for xmas!

  11. Alicia

    Ooh! Can you write a post about comparing the FitBit Ultra to the One? Fitbit is sending me a ONE to replace my Ultra and I’m so stoked to get it. Hope you love yours!!

    LOVE the acorn squash recipe. Squash is literally my favorite vegetable so I savor any way to cook it – it’s always delish!

    1. Laura

      Sure! Yesterday was my first day with it, so it may take a week or so. Initially I don’t see a lot of difference in functionality, but the design is better.

    2. Kat

      Thanks!! I can’t get enough squash either!

  12. Linz @ Itz Linz

    I’ve only made acorn squash once (i know i know!) so i’ll need to try this new recipe!!

    1. Kat

      Hey, I think it can be a forgotten squash next to butternut and spaghetti! Definitely give the acorn squash some love!

  13. Carol @ Lucky Zucca

    Yummy!!! I’ve had an acorn squash since Thanksgiving (wait… do they go bad?) and I need to use it. This sounds like the PERFECT recipe!! Thanks for sharing! Love all the components too!

    1. Laura

      They can dry out or mold… but if it looks ok, then you’re fine! :)

    2. Kat

      Definitely. I’ve used one at least 3 weeks old because there was no sign of mold! Cut it open and find out!

  14. Elena

    Sounds delicious!!! Yum…. And yay for a fitbit! I had one but just got the Nike Fuelband so am excited to give it a go.

    1. Laura

      I’d love to hear about how you like the Fuelband!

  15. Allie

    Mmmm… I love me some acorn squash! Stuffed with quinoa?! Even better!

    1. Kat

      Yes!!!!! do try it! :)

  16. Alex @ therunwithin

    gosh I feel you on those dreaded gluten mistakes, I am glad you were able to have a family accommodate you and really be awesome about it.

    1. Kat

      :) Right you are! I hope you were just as lucky!

  17. Parita @ myinnershakti

    I LOVE acorn squash. My new (to me) favorite way to eat it is with an egg baked in the middle. YUM! Glad y’all had a nice holiday!

    1. Laura

      I love doing the egg thing too!!

    2. Kat

      I have GOT to try that.

  18. janetha

    marshall got me a fitbit for christmas! i can’t wait to try it out.

    1. Laura

      We should be “friends” on fitbit when you set it up!

  19. Elle

    Looks delicious – I love all kinds of squashes, too.

    1. Kat

      Can’t go wrong with squash. Spaghetti is summer and fall for me… then i get into acorn and butternut! YUM

  20. Ali @ WHOLEistically Fit

    Love the new top, Laura! Apparently Santa has a better fashion sense than I do. ;) I am loving all of the winter squashes right now and am excited to have a new recipe to try out with them!

    1. Laura

      Same here – thank god for mom… errr… Santa.

  21. Julie

    I bought two of those Lucy tops for myself and my mom. We got orange and turquoise.

    1. Laura

      Cute! My sisters each got one too. And matching PJs. Maybe my mom secretly wanted triplets? ;)

  22. GiGi Eats Celebrities

    I got my sister a FITBIT for XMAS. Never played with one before in my life but I kept reading such positive reviews about it that I just had to (we are a very active family)… I hope she likes it… She hasn’t said anything to me about it, lol!! Then again that girl got so many gifts, she probably LOST IT!

    Ohh and I am going to be roasting Acorn Squash for New Years Eve dinner :) I am excited only because I always resort to Butternut Squash… Don’t get me WRONG – I LOVEEEE butternut but… It’s always nice to change it up!

    1. Laura

      Haha – I think my sister is the same way. AND she knew what all of them were beforehand!

  23. karina

    i got a fitbit for christmas too! I wore it for the first time today. i’d love to hear about your experiences with it!

    1. Laura

      How are you liking it? I don’t see a big difference between this one and the older model, but it has certainly helped me be less sedentary! I have a desk job, so that’s not an easy thing.

      1. karina

        This is only my second day using it so I’m still getting used to it. I think it’s pretty accurate with your steps if you’re walking but I’m a little disappointed because it didn’t track my running accurately (It didn’t think I went as far as the treadmill said I did). So basically I feel like its an over priced pedometer that supposedly tracks your sleep haha Oh well I still enjoy it…..it’s fun to see everything charted out on their website. Have you tried the sleep feature? I wore it last night and it said I woke up like 7 times but had a “97% sleep efficiency” haha

        1. Laura

          That’s pretty much my assessment. I don’t use the sleep feature because I have the Sleep cycle app that is more accurate. I do like the stair tracking though!

  24. Heather @ Better With Veggies

    Oh yum – I’m so glad I’m reading all the blogs I missed, because this recipe is right up my alley!!

    1. Kat

      yay! this comment made me smile!

  25. Sarah @ The Smart Kitchen

    Yum! This reminds me of my favorite (coincidentally the only vegan) dish at one of my favorite restaurants in Charlottesville…they cook the squash perfectly every time, and until I had tried theirs, I never thought to pair acorn squash with marinara.

    Also, my family is now so used to me just needing to make my own food they hardly bother checking in with me any more…I just raid the pantry and bring along whatever I ‘need’ and they usually end up jealous of my creations. :)

    1. Laura

      Haha – my family is the same way. Except they just let me create for everyone. I did all of the cooking this year!

    2. Kat

      being able to raid the kitchen = huge plus!

  26. Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets

    I have two untapped acorn squashes in my kitchen, so this recipe is perfect. Guess I’ll have to tap that (I sent dirty joke here).

    1. Laura

      Bhahahaha! Made my day. :)

    2. Kat

      ah-mazing! made my day too!

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