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Stuffed Butternut Squash

  • Author: Chef Serena Poon


2 medium butternut squash, halved, seeds removed

4 teaspoons avocado oil

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

1 cup tri-colored quinoa (any other quinoa is fine too)

1 ⅓  cups vegetable broth, homemade or low sodium

1 bunch curly kale, stems removed, leaves rough chopped

2 fresh thyme sprigs

½ teaspoon pink Himalayan salt or sea salt, to taste

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, to taste

¼ teaspoon fresh ground white pepper, to taste (optional)

15 oz. cooked chickpeas (if using canned or bottled, rinse and drain)

1 medium orange, zested

½ juice of half of the zested orange above

⅓ cup fresh pomegranate seeds

¼ cup pine nuts (raw or toasted, optional)


  • Pre-heat oven to 425F, place rack in the middle of the oven
  • Arrange the butternut squash halves, cut side up on an unlined sheet pan
  • Drizzle and spread 1 tsp of avocado oil on each of the 4 cut halves of butternut squash, lightly salt and pepper each half
  • Bake uncovered for 55-60minutes, or until fork-tender.
  • While the butternut squash is baking, use a fine-mesh sieve to thoroughly rinse the quinoa under cold water until the water runs clear.
  • Place the quinoa in a medium saucepan with the broth and bring to fast simmer.
  • Cover the saucepan with the quinoa with a tight-fitting lid and reduce heat to maintain a low simmer. Cook for 15 minutes.
  • Removed the quinoa from heat (keeping covered with the lid) and allow to sit and steam for another 3 minutes. Remove lid and fluff with a fork.
  • Using a large skillet, 1 tsp of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add to the skillet the torn kale leaves and cook until just slightly wilted, about 2-3 minutes and reduce heat to medium-low.
  • Add to the kale the thyme sprigs, salt and pepper, to taste. Heat until slightly fragrant. Remove thyme stems.
  • Add to the skillet the chickpeas, the cooked quinoa, squeeze juice from the half orange, and add the orange zest. Remove from heat.
  • Once butternut squash is fork-tender and slightly caramelized on the edges, remove from the oven and allow to cool (while still on the pan).
  • Using heat-protective gloves, scoop out the flesh of the butternut squash, leaving about a 1/2-inch border around the sides. Reserve this for later use.
  • Add the pomegranate seeds and pine nuts to the kale and quinoa mixture and toss to combine. Ready for filling!
  • Stuff the butternut squash halves with a heaping amount of the kale and quinoa mixture. Ready to serve! (Reserve any extra stuffing for later use for a buddha bowl)



  • Can use acorn squash instead of butternut squash
  • Can use cranberries instead of pomegranate seeds. In this case, add cranberries to the stuffing when adding the quinoa to the kale.
  • Can use other nuts instead of pine nuts: chopping toasted hazelnuts, chopped pecans, toasted almond slivers.
  • Can add vegan parmesan to the top of the stuffing and warm in the oven for 5 minutes before serving.