Fall Food Fun – Quinoa Stuffed Carnival Squash

quinoa stuffed squash

There is something irresitable about the lovely colors of fall squash. Bright greens and oranges, smooth tans, variegated or monochrome, I am always pulled to pick one up, even if I have other plans for dinner. Luckily, squash waits patiently, brightening my kitchen counter with no worries of spoiling.

This beautiful specimen only waited a couple days before a snap of cold weather and a long day out (seeing Chihuly) left me with little energy to cook something up. My glass-filled brain came up with this dinner as we rode the subway home…hmmm, I have salad greens, but I want something warm. I have that squash. Ooo, I have quinoa, and raisins, and that Gruyere I need to use! Voila! The birth of a dinner idea.

At home quinoa quickly morphed into a pilaf stuffing while the squash and some baby sweet potatoes roasted, shortly thereafter stuffed squash halves topped with cheese returned to the oven and a salad was whipped up to join them. Quick and easy! Here’s how I did it:

Quinoa Stuffed Carnival Squash – for two


  • 1 carnival squash
  • olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1/2 c. quinoa, rinsed and sorted
  • 3/4 c. broth
  • 1/2 c. raisins
  • 1/2 t. cinnamon (or a cinnamon stick)
  • 1/4 c. pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 1/4-1/2 c. Gruyere


1. Pre-heat oven to 375F.
2. Cut the squash in half through the stem and de-seed. Coat inside lightly with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Put in a small pan/dish, cut side down, and fill with 1/4″ water. Put in oven for 25 minutes. (If also roasting baby sweet potatoes, put them in a separate dish and put in the oven at the same time.)
3. Heat broth, add quinoa and raisins and cook covered until broth is gone. Quinoa will be “al dente” not soft. While quinoa cooks, toast pine nuts and grate cheese.
4. When quinoa is done, mix in pine nuts and half of cheese. Mix to will integrated.
5. Squash should be nearly done at this point – a knife should enter the flesh easily and the water should be evaporated. Pull it out, fill with pilaf stuffing and top with remaining cheese. Return to oven for 5 minutes. (You’ll have extra stuffing to serve as a side or for leftovers.)
6. Put together a simple salad with vinaigrette* and plate it. Squash (and potatoes) will be ready to serve!

*Note: my standard vinaigrette is one part vinegar, one and a half parts oil, a squeeze of brown mustard, a couple shakes of salt, a couple grinds of pepper, and some oregano. If I’m feeling spirited, I add a small clove of garlic and a little honey.

All together, it makes for a bright and festive fall meal!

fall on a plate

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8 Responses to Fall Food Fun – Quinoa Stuffed Carnival Squash

  1. fairynuff says:

    Just been directed here after asking for a carnival squash recipe. I’ll be trying this delicious looking recipe this evening! Thanks!

  2. I hope it works for you! Glad I could help with dinner planning. 🙂 It was a pretty quick dinner for me, less than an hour and ready to eat. What a relief after a cold day. If you don’t mind telling, I’m curious who directed you here. I don’t give myself much credit for readership…it’s always exciting to learn of new folks.

  3. fairynuff says:

    Sorry for delay. Just tried recipe again, this time with a bit of extra chilli, some honey and orange juice, and with illet instead of quinoa. Also lovely, though the millet took longer to cook!

    I was directed here by the lovely people on the TES website forums. A few of them are absolute mines of recipe information, and one directed me to you!

    Thanks again – even Mr Nuff (fussy non-veg eater) love it!

  4. Greg says:

    Where does the cinnamon (or cinnamon stick) fit into the recipe? It is in the ingredient list, but never mentioned again. I figure it goes in the broth, but that’s just a guess.

  5. Christi says:

    this recipe sounds (and looks delicious). Unfortunately, the formatting is messed up and I decifer the ingredient amounts. Would you mind emailing the recipe to me? Thank you. Christitrew@gmail.com

  6. Nd says:

    Very good. I’d never used carnival squash before (was in my CSA share) — it smelled like a cake baking. Used nutmeg b/c out of cinn and simmered a bay leaf, too. Swiss instead of gruyere to save money. Will definitely make again.

  7. folksgrrrl says:

    Made this last night for dinner. Easy, delicious, and in my list of recipes to make again. Thanks for posting!

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