Quinoa Stuffed Butternut Squash with Cranberries and Kale

Quinoa stuffed butternut squash is a delicious and easy vegetarian side dish recipe that everyone will love! Baked butternut squash stuffed with quinoa, cranberries, and kale. Great for a holiday (or any day!).

Over the weekend, I traveled to Park City, Utah, where I was surrounded by a group of the most inspiring women. I arrived excited and hungry, and I departed nourished. And I don’t mean “fiber bar” nourished, or even “super food smoothie” nourished. I mean, deep-down in your heart, fills you to the brim, Stuffed Butternut Squash with Quinoa, Cranberries, and Kale nourished.

Delicious, healthy Quinoa Stuffed Butternut Squash with Cranberries, Kale, and Chickpeas. An easy vegetarian recipe that everyone will love! | Recipe at wellplated.com @wellplated

As you will see, stuffed-butternut-squash nourished is very nourished indeed.


When Maria and Heidi invited me to join them for a weekend blogging retreat in Park City, I couldn’t say yes quickly enough. I’ve looked up to these two women since I began blogging. Yes, their websites and recipes are absolutely beautiful, but what I admire most is their beauty of character and the generosity with which they share their time and talents with the blogging community.

All of the bloggers who were present (every single one of whom I aspire to be a bit more like) shared openly with each other. We talked about our goals, our struggles, and offered one another encouragement and advice.

And we ATE. Oh my goodness. If you followed along on Instagram (#BBRetreat) or Snapchat (wellplated) for even a hot second, you would have inevitably caught some of the feasting that transpired.

Stuffed Butternut Squash with Quinoa, Cranberries, and Kale. An easy, healthy vegetarian dinner that’s perfect for fall! | wellplated.com @wellplated


As go the weekdays that follow weekends in which copious quantities eating occur, so goes my menu for the next few days. I have plans for lots of healthy dinners involving oodles of fall veggies, whole grains, and lean proteins.

The Making of a Healthy Quinoa Stuffed Butternut Squash Recipe

Stuffed Butternut Squash with Quinoa, Chickpeas, Cranberries, and Kale. A healthy and satisfying vegetarian dinner that’s perfect for fall! | recipe at wellplated.com @wellplated

This vegetarian stuffed butternut squash recipe is a shining example of the sort of healthy, but cozy fare I crave after weekends away from home. It’s packed with all of the nourishing ingredients my body is craving, but it still leaves me feeling warm, toasty, and satisfied in a way that salad alone does not.

Yes, I love the combination of cranberries and kale with the butternut squash, and we know I’m obsessed with chickpeas, but what truly makes this stuffed butternut squash recipe shine is the orange zest. The fresh zest does a happy little dance with the caramel-y squash, and it makes the recipe taste vibrant and alive.

Quinoa Stuffed Butternut Squash with Cranberries and Kale. An easy, healthy vegetarian meal that everyone will love! #fall | wellplated.com @wellplated

My other favorite part of this Stuffed Butternut Squash recipe is its reheatability. We ate half of the recipe for dinner, then I devoured the leftovers for lunch later in the week.

Wishing you all a nourishing mid-week boost of the coziest, yummiest, stuffed butternut squash-iest kind!

More Delicious Vegetarian Squash Recipes:

4.5 / 5 (6 Reviews)
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Stuffed Butternut Squash with Quinoa, Kale, Cranberries, and Chickpeas

Delicious, healthy Stuffed Butternut Squash with Quinoa, Cranberries, Kale, and Chickpeas. An easy, satisfying vegetarian recipe that’s perfect for fall!

Yield: Serves 4

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes


  • 2 medium butternut squash, about 2 1/2 pounds each
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 bunch kale, stems removed and chopped (about 6 lightly packed cups)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (plus additional for roasting squash)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper (plus additional for roasting squash)
  • 1 (15 ounce) can low sodium chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • Zest of 1 orange, plus 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • 1/3 cup reduced sugar dried cranberries
  • Grated Parmesan cheese or crumbled feta cheese (optional)


  1. Place a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the  oven to 425 degrees F. Halve the butternut squash, scoop out the seeds, then arrange the halves on a baking tray, cut sides up. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Bake 45-55 minutes, just until the squash is fork tender. Remove from the oven and let cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees.
  2. While the squash is baking, place the broth in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the quinoa, return to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and let simmer for 12 minutes, until most of the broth is absorbed. Remove from the heat and let sit, covered, for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork, then set aside.
  3. In a large skillet, heat the remaining 1 teaspoon olive over medium. Add the kale and cook until wilted, about 4 minutes, then reduce the heat to medium low. Add the garlic, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper. Cook 30 additional seconds, until is fragrant. Stir in the chickpeas, orange zest, orange juice, cooked quinoa, and cranberries.
  4. Once the squash is cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh, leaving a 1/2-inch-thick border around the sides and a 3/4-inch border along the bottom. Reserve the flesh for another use (or if you don’t mind a super duper stuffed squash, mix it in with the rest of the filling). Stuff the kale quinoa filling into the squash halves, then return the squash to the oven. Bake at 375 degrees until hot, about 10 additional minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and serve warm.
    • Mash with parmesan and olive oil for a quick, healthy side.
    • Lightly scrape off the outer layer with the salt and pepper (this removes the savory-ness), puree, then try swapping it for all or part of the pumpkin puree in any of these recipes.
    • Add it to smoothies. Try the squash, a frozen banana, cinnamon, and dates. YUM!
  • Store leftover stuffed butternut squash in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat in a 350 degree oven, covered, until hot (about 20-30 minutes) or gently in the microwave.
All images and text ©Erin Clarke/Well Plated.

Nutrition Information

Serving Size: 1 stuffed half (without cheese)

  • Amount Per Serving:
  • Calories: 387 Calories
  • Total Fat: 5g
  • Saturated Fat: 0g
  • Cholesterol: 0mg
  • Sodium: 265mg
  • Carbohydrates: 79g
  • Fiber: 17g
  • Sugar: 11g
  • Protein: 13g

Did you try this recipe? I want to see! Follow Well Plated on Instagram, snap a photo, and tag it #wellplated. I love to know what you are making!

Delicious, healthy Quinoa Stuffed Butternut Squash with Cranberries, Kale, and Chickpeas. An easy, satisfying, vegetarian side dish recipe that’s perfect for fall! #vegetarian #sidedish #recipe #healthy #cleaneating

Delicious, healthy Quinoa Stuffed Butternut Squash with Cranberries, Kale, and Chickpeas. An easy, satisfying, vegetarian side dish recipe that’s perfect for fall! #vegetarian #sidedish #recipe #healthy #cleaneating

This post contains some affiliate links, which means that I make a small commission off items you purchase at no additional cost to you.

About Erin Clarke

I’m fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, travel enthusiast, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN…


  1. This is a total game-changer!! I’ve never had stuffed butternut squash before! I loved following along with your cranberry farm adventures on Instagram! :)

  2. I loved following along! Looks like you girls had a blast. And these stuffed squashes, gorgeous! 

  3. These are beautiful!! LOOOOVE stuffing squash!

  4. What a colorful and healthy meal! I am so in love with fall-inspired recipes like this :) Pinning!

  5. This recipe is just the kind of thing I like.  I’ve been trying to sneak in more vegetarian meals, and my husband actually doesn’t complain about them.  I would need more protein than this one offers, so I might add something like goat feta (if I can find it, otherwise sheep feta)…

  6. What a beauty! I pinned this to my Thanksgiving board so I’ll remember to make it. Sounds like a fun retreat, it’s always fun to get together with other bloggers.

  7. Wonderful idea for a dish, love the photography as well (:

  8. If one wanted to try the recipe with the cubed butternut squash common in many stores, how would that change the recipe? I am guessing the two medium squash of about five pounds total would be roughly equivalent to two pounds of the cubed. And I suppose the cooking time of 45 to 55 minutes would be reduced to about 30 minutes. I am interested in your insights! Thanks!

    • Hi Arthur! Since the butternut squash in this recipe is left whole and not cut at any point, I actually wouldn’t recommend this swap. The squash is a “boat” that holds the filling — With pre-cut butternut squash, there would be nothing to hold the other ingredients in place.

    • I kind of met you in the middle on this. We wanted to use all the squash(not just the outer layer) and we’re not big on presentation, so I scooped out all the squash after roasting and stirred it up with the remaining ingredients. I finished it off in a casserole dish, ten minutes at 375 as directed. Delicious! So I don’t think you’d have any trouble substituting cubed squash.

      • Larry, I’m so glad that you enjoyed the recipe! I really appreciate your feedback on the changes you made as well as well—that info is very helpful to others who are considering doing the same.

      • I did the same, used all the squash and served it as a casserole. I also couldn’t find dried cranberries and used fresh ones. Cooked them briefly in boiling water (1 cup) and sugar (1/2 cup) until a few start to pop, so they stay whole but they’re soft. Delicious tartness to add to the dish and also the color is amazing.

  9. I just love stuffed squash! Love this…so beautiful and colorful!

  10. Wow. This looks amazing. I will be adding this to my meal plan this week. Thanks!

  11. Looks amazing.  Quick question though, how much butternut squash is left for serving?  Enough for for the medley of tastes?  

    • Hi Jennie! I’m not sure I completely understand your question—do you mean how much butternut squash is left once it’s scooped out? The directions go into more detail, but you definitely have enough to taste the squash. You can also mix the hollowed-out squash right back into the filling if you prefer (the commenter a few posts above you did just that in fact). I hope you enjoy the recipe!

  12. This recipe is so gorgeous…even though I’ve stuffed other types of squash before it had never occurred to me to stuff a butternut squash! I loved it so much that I included it in my butternut squash recipe roundup, I hope you don’t mind!

  13. I made this recipe tonight for my moms birthday and all three of us loved it! I haven’t made many squash dishes in the past so it was a bit of an experiment but I am glad I did. I used one very large squash instead of two medium ones and added some extra chick peas to increase protein. If I were to make it again, I would also use some extra kale. Great recipe though, thank you! :)

  14. It was good but missing something in flavour. I added walnuts to it for a crunch.

    Rating: 3
  15. I modified the recipe to use cubed butternut squash and made a few other tweaks. • 32 ounces cubed butternut squash• 6 teaspoons olive oil, divided• 3/4 cup quinoa• 1 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable or chicken broth• 1/2 bunch kale, stems removed; leaves only, torn up• 1 teaspoon garlic powder• 1 teaspoon dried oregano• 1 teaspoon kosher salt (plus additional for step 1)• 1 teaspoon black pepper (plus additional for step 1)• ½ cup fresh orange juice• 1 cup (8 ounces) dried cranberries• 8 ounces mozzarella cheese• Equipment: 2.5 quart or larger casserole dish; 3 quart sauce pot; 12 inch skilletDirections:1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F; place the cubes of butternut squash in casserole dish, drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees.2. While the squash is baking, place the broth in a small sauce pot and bring to a boil. Add the quinoa, return to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover, and let simmer for 12 minutes, until most of the broth is absorbed. Remove from the heat and let sit, covered, for 15 minutes. 3. In a large skillet, add the kale and 4 tablespoons oil, and cook until wilted, about 6 minutes.4. Add the kale to the quinoa then add garlic, oregano, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, orange juice, and cranberries. Mix thoroughly.5. Add the kale & quinoa mixture to the squash, sprinkle with cheese, then return everything to the oven. Bake at 375 degrees, until cheese starts to melt, about 10 minutes. OK cool or can be heated in a microwave for 30 seconds.

    Rating: 5
  16. I am considering this for family Thanksgiving dinner – how would you suggest changing this so it can be started ahead of time and then put together and back in the oven when the turkey is resting? I am thinking that the squash can be roasted ahead of time and scooped out (I would use this for soup), make the filling, then put the two together and back in the oven ready to serve once the turkey is ready to be carved…. just wondering if this would change it in any way?

    • Hi Jill, I think your idea is a great one! Note that if the squash and filling have been premade and sitting out for a long time, it may need a few minutes more than the 10 minutes mentioned in the last step to heat up.

  17. Made it for dinner tonight, served with grilled salmon and it was a hit! Thank you! 

    Rating: 5
    • Nadine, thank you so much for taking the time to write this review! I’m glad to hear you enjoyed the squash!

  18. Hello! I am going to try this recipie tonight for family. Looks delicious. Do you think it would taste alright if I added bacon? Thanks!

    • Hi Allison, I haven’t tried adding bacon, but if you think you’d enjoy the flavor, I’d say it’s worth a try! I hope you enjoyed it!

  19. I made this dish today for a Thanksgiving dinner! I didn’t have Quinoa as originally planned. So I made this dish with a mixed grain blend that consisted of Israeli Couscous, Red Quinoa, Lentils and something else that I cannot recall. I added the extra butternut squash to the dish. I sampled it after it was finished. Wow! Wow! Wow! ??????

    Rating: 5
  20. Really really good. We are transitioning my elderly aunt over to a whole foods plant based diet and she LOVED this. We sprinkled a little bit of cinnamon on top to give it some depth, but it was awesome even without.

    Rating: 5
    • Kathryn, I am so happy to hear how much you all loved it, especially your aunt! Thank you so much for trying the recipe and taking time to leave this kind review!

  21. This looks delicious. Do you think it would work ok with spinach instead of kale? I have spinach that needs to be used!

  22. This was so delicious!  I was feeling a bit lazy, so I cut up the squash in chunks and roasted it.  Then, just mixed it all up and ate supper out of a bowl.  Yummy yummy!  I’ve already recommended it to my friends.  

    Rating: 5
  23. I can’t wait to make this recipe tonight!! How Do you suggest to serve it? Just cut slices per person? 

    • I hope you love it! We usually do about 1/2 or 2/3 per person (or hey, a whole one if you are hungry!) then each person eats it with a knife and fork. I hope you enjoy it!

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