This healthy Lentil Stuffed Acorn Squash recipe is a comforting and mouthwatering vegetarian main dish for the fall and winter! It’s easy enough for a weeknight meal or a holiday dinner.
In the blink of an eye, we went from 50 degrees and rainy to 18 degrees and icy in Minnesota. The past couple of days have been bitter cold, which truthfully I don’t mind all that much. Especially when I have this cozy Lentil Stuffed Acorn Squash to come home to after a long day of work.
Sure, the whole 90 minute commute thing (it’s usually 20 minutes) is a pain on those icy days, but as soon as I’m home unwinding next to the Christmas tree, I forget all about that. Add in a warm meal, and I am good to go!
When I was brainstorming recipes for the winter, I knew I had to include some winter squash dishes. I feel like I’ve been shortchanging all of you when it comes to squash…being that I write a blog about veggies and all.
I’m changing all of that with today’s recipe. These acorn squash boats are filled with plant-based goodness. Plus some feta cheese. Because, well, duh.
Is acorn squash healthy?
Acorn squash, with its yellow-orange flesh and greenish skin with ridges that make it resemble an acorn, is a nutritional powerhouse! (BTW – it’s called acorn squash due to its appearance, not its taste…I used to think it had a nutty flavor until I tired it).
This popular winter squash is loaded with fiber potassium, magnesium, calcium, and vitamins A, B6, and C. One cup of boiled acorn squash contains (1):
- Calories: 82
- Fat: <1 gram
- Protein: 1.6 grams
- Carbs: 22 grams
- Fiber: 6 grams
- Vitamin C: 26% of the DV
- Potassium: 18% of the DV
- Magnesium: 16% of the DV
- Vitamin B6: 15% of the DV
- Vitamin A: 12% of the DV
- Iron: 7% of the DV
- Calcium: 6% of the DV
As you can see, acorn squash is highly nutritious but doesn’t have much protein or fat. So, this recipe contains protein-packed lentils and feta cheese to transform acorn squash into a complete meal!
How to Prepare Acorn Squash
Slice off the tops of the acorn squash with a sharp knife before slicing each one in half lengthwise. I used approximately 2 medium-sized acorn squash for this recipe.
Remove the seeds (discard or add to compost) and brush the cut sides of each squash half with olive oil. Lay the squash cut side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or sprayed with oil. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the flesh is fork tender.
While this is happening, whip together the stuffing. Cook the lentils on the stove (use pre-cooked ones to save you some time) and combine with sautéed onion and garlic, feta, and dried cranberries. Spoon the filling into the acorn squash and eat up!
Can this be made ahead of time?
A few readers have told me that they made this acorn squash as a main dish for vegetarian guests on Thanksgiving or Christmas. What a great idea!
If you want to make this dish ahead of time, I recommend slicing and deseeding the squash (so you can pop them right into the oven) and preparing the filling in advance. Keep the squash and filling in airtight containers in the fridge until you are ready to bake the squash. Reheat the filling in the microwave.
Is the skin on acorn squash edible?
Absolutely! In fact, acorn squash skin is very high in fiber and other nutrients. So you should feel free to consume the entire Lentil Stuffed Acorn Squash (skin and all!). However, the skin won’t be as tender as the flesh.
Ready to indulge in all of that nutritious goodness? Grab a fork, and let’s do it! For some other acorn and winter squash recipes, check out:
- Acorn Squash Eggs-in-a-Hole with Sage Brown Butter
- Slow Cooker Butternut Squash Brown Rice Risotto
- Butternut Squash and Pear Soup
- Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai
- Apple Ginger Kabocha Squash Soup
If you make this recipe, rate and review in the comments below and don’t forget to tag me on Instagram!
Lentil Stuffed Acorn Squash
- 2 acorn squash - stem removed, sliced in half, and deseeded
- 1 cup lentils - sorted and rinsed
- 3 cups water or vegetable stock - to cook lentils
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 sweet onion - finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic - minced
- ½ cup feta - more to taste
- ¼ cup dried cranberries
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt - more to taste
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper - to taste
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage - chopped (optional)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Remove stems from the squashes and cut in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds.
- Brush the cut side of each squash half with a little bit of olive oil. Place squash cut side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or sprayed with oil. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until tender.
- While the squash is roasting, prepare the stuffing. Bring lentils and water (or stock) to a boil in a small saucepan, then cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes until tender. Drain excess water. In a small skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and onion and saute for 3-5 minutes until tender.
- Combine lentils, onion, and garlic in a small bowl. Add feta and dried cranberries. Mix until well combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Fill each acorn squash with stuffing. Top with chopped fresh sage if desired. Serve warm and enjoy!
Have a wonderful Wednesday!
So delicious almost lost the this recipe, can see myself making this for a dish for my big family Christmas dinner! But just have to master it, and see how I would serve it. Kind of awkward scooping out…
Lizzie Streit, MS, RDN
I’m so glad that you liked the recipe! It would be great for a Christmas dinner. I agree that it may be awkward to serve out of the acorn squash. Perhaps you could dice up the squash, or slice it into half-moons, and then serve out of a large dish? Would love to hear what you decide. Happy holidays :-).