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It’s the twelfth day of November, and Thanksgiving is just two weeks away.

As a vegetarian, holidays are always interesting, because no matter where we go for dinner, my sister and I end up eating just two foods: mashed potatoes and pie.

Now, don’t misunderstand: I love mashed potatoes. They’re one of my favorite foods, especially my grandma’s garlic-and-basil version, or the kind made with red-skinned potatoes that haven’t been peeled. However, it would be nice once in a while to eat dinner with other people and not just be relegated to side dishes, dessert, and salad if I’m lucky. So, I decided to find a vegetarian dish that is both delicious and sufficiently festive for a special occasion.

It seems like, every time fall comes, the Internet is flooded with recipes for roasted vegetables filled with some combination of grains, meats, and vegetables. In my search for a festive food, I felt drawn to such recipes. After all, what’s more festive than winter squash? They’re lovely– acorn squash in particular. I’ve never used them before, but I bought two at the farmer’s market last week, and I’ve found that they’re quite user-friendly.


Quinoa-Filled Acorn Squash

Serves 4


  • 2 acorn squash, halved
  • 2 t olive oil
  • 2 t maple syrup, plus a bit extra set aside
  • 3/4 C quinoa
  • lime juice
  • ginger
  • cinnamon
  • nutmeg
  • salt
  • kale, cut into strips
  • 1 apple, chopped
  • goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 C almonds, coarsely chopped and toasted


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Mix olive oil, 2 t maple syrup, ginger, nutmeg, and salt (to taste) in a small bowl. Brush the inside of each acorn squash half with this mixture. Bake, face-down on a baking tray, for 30 minutes or until fork-tender.
  2. Meanwhile, mix quinoa with just under 1 1/2 C water, a little maple syrup, a splash of lime juice, and lots of ginger and cinnamon. Bring this to a boil, then simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the water is absorbed.
  3. Mix quinoa, kale, apple, goat cheese, and almonds. Scoop into the acorn squash cavities and serve.