This vegetarian Mexican Stuffed Acorn Squash is easy as it is delicious. It's filled with sauteed onions, hearty vegetables, rice and beans and are baked to golden perfection. A simple yet tasty weeknight meal.
Acorn squash is a winter squash that resembles acorns, hence the name. They are perfectly sized to hold individual servings of pretty much anything, such as this Mexican-inspired vegan stuffing. Because these stuffed acorn squash halves are meatless, the cooked flesh of the acorn squash will add some bulk and substance.
Mexican Stuffed Acorn Squash
These Mexican Stuffed Acorn Squash requires a few steps, but none that are difficult. In fact, the entire dish comes together effortlessly in under an hour. You can make the Mexican-inspired stuffing while the squash is roasting in the oven.
Then scoop that delicious stuffing which features sauteed onions, hearty veggies, rice and beans, into the roasted squash halves and bake until perfect golden perfection. The cheese is totally optional and omitting it makes these Mexican Stuffed Acorn Squash vegan and vegetarian.
A drizzle of sour cream (again, omit if dairy-free), chopped cilantro and green onions, and zesty pico de gallo completes this easy meal.
How to Bake Acorn Squash
Cooking acorn squash is easier than you think. The hardest part is actually cutting the squash lengthwise in half so be sure your knife is sharp and work surface steady.
I prefer to cook my acorn squash as I do all my squashes - perfectly roasted in the oven.
Follow these easy steps to roast acorn squash:
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cut the squash with a sharp knife lengthwise from tip to stem. (Tip: it's easiest to first pierce the squash in the center along one of the depression lines. Cut through to the tip on one side. Then spin the squash around and finish by cutting through the top portion to the stem)
- Using a large spoon, scoop out the seeds and discard or save to roast at a later time.
- Place the cleaned squash halves cut side up on the parchment-lined pan. Drizzle some avocado oil over the squash or use an avocado-oil cooking spray for ease. Season with sea salt. Turn the squash halves cut-side down and bake for 30-40 minutes just until fork tender.
Vegan Stuffed Acorn Squash
These Mexican Stuffed Acorn Squash halves are meatless and if you omit the cheese, it could easily pass as a vegan meal.
As much as I love acorn squash, the stuffing is clearly the star of this dish. It hails sauteed onions, bell pepper, tomato, rice, corn and beans all tossed in appropriate seasonings. After everything is combined, it is then scooped into the roasted squash bowls, topped with cheese (optional) and baked to bring all the flavors together.
I personally love cooking rice in bone broth for added nutrition. You can use this method to cook perfect rice in the Instant Pot or use any leftover rice from a previous meal.
The stuffing also calls for 1 cup of frozen corn and black beans. If you are cooking your own beans, I always recommend that you soak them first and cook in large batches in the Instant Pot. Beans freeze exceptionally well and can be frozen in pre-measured sizes (1 cup, 2 cups, etc..)
A standard can of beans typically holds a little over 2 cups of beans, so you will have some leftover that can be used for a future recipe.
After filling the squash halves with the Mexican mixture, you may find that you are left with some leftovers. Transfer any leftover stuffing mixture to a sealed container and keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. It can be added to chopped romaine lettuce and dressed with Ranch or a drizzle of avocado oil and lime for an easy salad.
What to garnish Mexican Stuffed Acorn Squash with:
You can top these stuffed squash halves with pretty much anything and everything. Some of my favorites are:
- Fresh herbs like cilantro and green onions
- Dollop of sour cream and additional cheese
- Squeeze a lime wedge or two
- Fermented Tomato Salsa - Pico de Gallo
- 5-Minute Blender Salsa
- Slice or dice fresh avocado or The Best Chunky Guacamole
- Fresh jalapeno slices or Lacto-Fermented Jalapeno Peppers
Mexican Stuffed Acorn Squash
- 2 acorn squash small-medium sized
- 4 tablespoons avocado oil divided
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 cup white rice cooked
- 1 cup frozen corn frozen
- 1 cup black beans
- 1 beefsteak tomato diced
- 1 green bell pepper diced
- 1 cup Mexican cheese blend optional
- cilantro, fresh jalapenos, sour cream, lime, green onions optional
Cooking Acorn Squash
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cut the squashes in half lengthwise from tip to stem. Scoop out seeds and discard. Drizzle 1 tablespoon avocado oil on the cut side and season lightly with sea salt.
- Place squash halves on a rimmed baking sheet, cut side down and roast in preheated oven for 30 minutes.
Mexican Stuffing for Squash
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add diced onions and cook until translucent, approximately 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat. Add minced garlic and seasonings and stir to combine. Stir in the remaining ingredients, except for cheese and toss well.
Mexican Stuffed Acorn Squash
- Remove squash from oven and carefully turn them over. Spoon the rice and beans stuffing evenly into the 4 squash halves. Top with cheese if using.
- Return to oven and bake for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and everything is cooked through.
- Garnish with your favorite toppings: sour cream, green onions, cilantro, sliced jalapenos.
- Pour one cup of water into the Instant Pot and add the trivet. Cut the squash in half and scrape out seeds and stringy bits. Place the squash halves into the Instant Pot on the trivet.
- Close the lid on the Instant Pot and set the valve to "sealing." Cook on "manual" for 5 minutes for small squash, 7 minutes for larger squash. Followed by natural pressure release for 8 minutes. Release remaining pressure by turning the venting know to "venting" position.
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This post was originally published in October 2016 but has since been updated to include helpful information.