This vegetarian stuffed acorn squash is perfect for a hearty plant-based meal or side dish. It’s warm and cozy for fall or winter evenings and is especially delicious on Thanksgiving or over the holidays!acorn squash stuffed with kale, chickpeas, farro, cranberries, pecans and parmesan cheese on grey plate

I’m obsessed with this dish for vegetarians or those trying to eat more plant-based.

It’s rich, hearty, satisfying, filling, and is packed with whole grains, protein-powered legumes, leafy greens, sweet dried cranberries, crunchy pecans, and umami-laden cheese!

I used to only promote this as a Thanksgiving side dish because it’s the best vegetarian main or side dish for Thanksgiving and its flavors of thyme, rosemary, and cranberries scream Thanksgiving to me!

And if you’re here for a Thanksgiving recipe for your vegetarian guests or self, hooray! You’ll love it.

But I realized I was selling this recipe short. It’s not just a Thanksgiving recipe!

It’s a delicious vegetarian recipe for any night of the year, but is especially cozy during the fall and winter months.

Vegetarians deserve filling, satisfying, and delicious food too. This recipe hits the mark for all of the above.

If you love acorn squash and cozy flavors, this recipe is for you!

Ingredients You’ll Need

graphic ingredients for vegetarian stuffed acorn squash with text overlayNotes on Ingredients

acorn squash: you can cut these in half lengthwise or horizontally, but I like the presentation lengthwise better.

farro: a nutty whole grain, high in fiber, protein, and vitamins like B3, magnesium, and zinc. Use quick-cooking farro as a time saver!

vegetable broth: to cook the farro in to give it more flavor

onion: adds aromatic flavor to the dish

garlic: also adds a punch of flavor!

kale: buy pre-shredded, pre-washed kale as a time-saver!

chickpeas: adds plant-based protein to the dish!

thyme: adds an earthy, minty, lemony flavor

rosemary: adds a piney, peppery flavor

pecans: adds a satisfying crunchy texture and source of protein and fat!

dried cranberries: adds an element of sweetness to contrast the savory farro mixture

parmesan cheese: adds a savory (umami) flavor

Equipment You’ll Need (affiliate links – if you make a purchase I receive a small commission)

Baking sheet

How to Make Vegetarian Stuffed Acorn Squash

graphic with step by step instructions for how to make vegetarian stuffed acorn squash

  1. Bake the squash. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Brush squash with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake until fork-tender, about 40-50 minutes.
  2. Cook the farro. Bring vegetable broth and farro to a boil then simmer, covered, until farro is chewy, about 30-40 minutes.
  3. Make the savory stuffing. In a large sauté pan, cook onion, garlic, and kale. Stir in farro, chickpeas, and remove from heat. Stir in thyme, rosemary, pecans, and cranberries. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. Fill the squash. Fill each squash with about 1/2 cup farro mixture. Top with parmesan cheese.
  5. Bake the squash. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Bake squash until filling is heated through, about 15 minutes.

Expert Tips

  1. For time-saving, I like to use quick cooking farro, which cooks in just 10 minutes on the stove. It’s partially cooked and dried, which is how it takes significantly less time to cook.
  2. Another time-saving tip is to buy pre-washed, pre-shredded kale.
  3. Roast the squash cut side down so it doesn’t dry out and form string-like strands.
  4. Save any leftover stuffing for a delicious, satisfying topping for salads.

Recipe FAQs

What does acorn squash pair well with?

Acorn squash pairs well with almost everything! Enjoy it as side dish with chicken, salmon, turkey, or beef. It also is delicious on top of pizza or mixed into pasta dishes.

Do you have to remove the the skin from acorn squash before cooking?

You can keep the skin on acorn squash – no need to remove! 

How long does it take to cook acorn squash?

At 375 degrees F, it takes about 40-50 minutes to cook.

Can you eat the skin on acorn squash?

You can! As long as the acorn squash is cooked enough the skin should be soft enough for you to eat, if you choose! It also peels away easily if you don’t want to. Or, you can just scoop the squash and stuffing right out of the skin without eating it.

Should I roast the squash cut side up or down?

I suggest roasting squash cut side down so that it doesn’t dry out, and you don’t end up with stringy squash.

What flavors go well with acorn squash?

Acorn squash pairs well with savory spices like rosemary and thyme and sweeter spices like cinnamon and ginger.

Is acorn squash healthy for me? 

Acorn squash is high in antioxidants and packs in vitamins A and C, B vitamins, potassium, and magnesium.

Can I make this recipe vegan?

Yes! Simply substitute the Parmesan cheese with nutritional yeast!

Storage and Preparation

Stuffed acorn squash leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. You can also freeze acorn squash raw or cooked and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.

You can prepare the filling ahead of time and store in the refrigerator for up to two days.

Recipes That Pair Well

Instant Pot Green Bean Casserole

Slow Cooker Mushroom Stuffing

Slow Cooker Pumpkin Bread Pudding

Holiday Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad

roasted acorn squash stuffed with chickpeas, kale, cranberries, farro, parmesan cheese on grey speckled plate

For more squash inspiration, check out my other recipes below!

Spiced Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Curried Lentils

Fall Harvest Salad Stuffed Acorn Squash

Farro Breakfast Bowl 

If you like this recipe, please be sure to comment and give it a 5 star rating below. If you make it, share it on Instagram and tag me @karalydonrd and I’ll re-share it with my followers! If you want to save this recipe for later, be sure to pin it on Pinterest!

Ready to enjoy eating foods like this without the guilt? Download my free guide: Rediscover the Joy in Eating: How to Stop Stressing About Food + Enjoy Every Meal. 

This recipe was retested, reshot and revamped to bring you the most delicious (and most beautiful) dish! The original post was published November 2017.

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Vegetarian Stuffed Acorn Squash

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Kara Lydon
  • Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Yield: 8 servings 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian


This vegetarian stuffed acorn squash is perfect for a hearty plant-based meal or side dish. It’s warm and cozy for fall or winter evenings and is especially delicious on Thanksgiving or over the holidays!


  • 4 acorn squash, cut in half lengthwise and seeded
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2/3 cup farro
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 bunch kale, stemmed and roughly chopped (about 4 cups)
  • 1 cup canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ½ tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • ½ tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans
  • 3/4 cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Brush inside of squash with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place squash cut side down on parchment-lined baking sheet and bake until fork-tender, about 40-50 minutes.
  3. Add farro and vegetable stock to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until farro is chewy but no longer tough, about 30-40 minutes. Drain excess liquid.*
  4. In a large sauté pan, add 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and let cook until translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and let cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  5. Stir in kale and add 2 tablespoons water and cover until wilted, about 3-5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Stir in cooked farro and chickpeas and remove from heat.
  7. Stir in thyme, rosemary, pecans and cranberries. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  8. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F.
  9. Fill each squash cavity with about 1/2 cup farro mixture. Top with Parmesan cheese. Bake until filling is heated through, about 15 minutes.


  1. For time-saving, I like to use quick cooking farro, which cooks in just 10 minutes on the stove. It’s partially cooked and dried, which is how it takes significantly less time to cook.
  2. Roast the squash cut side down so it doesn’t dry out and form string-like strands.
  3. Save any leftover stuffing for a delicious, satisfying topping for salads.
  4. For a vegan version, substitute parmesan cheese with nutritional yeast.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 55 minutes
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Holiday

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  1. Jacalyn

    We had this for dinner tonight and loved it! The flavors were perfectly balanced. I made it according to the recipe, but we are big on texture here, so I diced half an apple and added it with the cranberries and pecans for a little extra crunch.

  2. Alicia

    Any tips on how to cut the squash? It’s so hard I cannot get a knife through it. It’s the same reason I don’t buy fresh butternut squash.

    Thank you

    • It’s hard! I find that a really sharp, good chef’s knife helps, and (for me) patience!

    • Susan

      Great recipe – can’t wait to try it. Alicia asked for tips on cutting squash – I no longer have the hand strength so I use an electric carving knife. Yes, it is an extra appliance, but if you like to eat winter squash, it is worth it. Also, I use mine to cut thin slices from a french bread baguette.

    • Thank you for the tip, Susan! Super helpful.

  3. Nancy

    I was very pleasantly surprised at how absolutely delicious this was. I love stuffed acorn squash but the recipe I always use is meat based and I’m really trying to move towards a more plant based way of eating. I choose this one because I’m not a fan of quinoa and a lot of the recipes I saw use it in the stuffing. Farro is such a great choice. I have to admit I was a little concerned about the kale (didn’t think I would like it) but it was fantastic! I will definitely add this to my menu rotation. Thanks so much for the recipe!

  4. Michele

    This is a perfect Thanksgiving main course for vegetarians–lots of protein and vitamins. It is really delicious. (I left out the chick peas and used spinach instead of kale.) It looks spectacular on the table as well. The turkey eaters had to have some, too.

  5. Kelly-Anne

    I made this last night and it was amazing! I will be making this again. Thank you for the recipe.

  6. Veronica Pine

    I made this two nights ago and my boyfriend and I absolutely loved it. I posted a picture of it on facebook that received many comments and requests for the recipe. I posted your link so my friends can all enjoy this wonderful dish and I am now a devoted follower of your blog. Thank you for all the delicious, healthy recipes.

  7. Gail

    This was delicious. For a busy day meal for guests, I cooked the squash the day before. Then cooked the filling a couple of hours before. Made a vegan topping of panko, smoked paprika, and EVOO. Assembled the cold/lukewarm elements and heated in the oven at 325* for 25 min. Everyone raved about it! Thank you.

  8. marco cinti

    I always find your blog super inspirational, really enjoyed reading this post. Thanks for the share.

  9. Lisa

    This stuffed squash is delicious! I made the recipe as is, with two small tweaks:
    1. I cooked the faro in water – the other ingredients are flavorful enough – didn’t need the veg broth
    2. I added some chopped mushrooms – go so well with the faro and fresh thyme.
    I will make this again and again!

  10. Yum! I usually use quinoa but farro is a great change of pace.

  11. Yay for stuffed squash! I love all the colors in this! <3!

  12. This looks right up my ally for Thanksgiving!

  13. Brittni

    Looks delicious! Do you think I could make the stuffing the day before?

  14. Joanne

    I made this tonight. Delicious and vegan for my teenaged daughter. Served it with apple sauce. Thanks!

  15. This is so festive and sounds delicious!

  16. Emily | EmPowered Nutrition

    Mmm omg this sounds amazing! Also can’t believe Thanksgiving is right around the corner!

  17. Kara, these look absolutely FANTASTIC! I first learned how to cook with farro when I was interning at a vegetarian cafe in which the owner/chef had made several trips to Italy and brought back several dishes that we used during out plated themed dinners. Farro is used quite a bit in Northern Italy and I just LOVE it. I can’t wait to try these!

  18. I love stuffed squash! Thanks for sharing, looks great!

  19. I always forget about acorn squash. It’s so tasty! Thanks for the reminder, this looks great!

  20. I love stuffed winter squash! I need to remember the parchment paper!

  21. I love acorn squash! Great idea!

  22. These stuffed acorn squash look delicious! What a great idea for Thanksgiving (or a fall dinner)!!!

  23. Agreed with the shorter days, anxiety and difficulty sitting still. Need good, productive distraction for sure (and maybe some more yoga). And this dish really does look divine!

  24. What a pretty recipe! I love the addition of cranberries. I have a bag in my fridge waiting to be used!

  25. This dish is SO gorgeous!!