Apple Cranberry Pecan Quinoa with Roasted Acorn Squash

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A Great Holiday Side Dish

Quinoa has taken a center stage in whole grain dishes. This Apple Cranberry Pecan Quinoa with Roasted Acorn Squash is no exception. Not only is it beautiful in colors and arrangement it taste wonderful. It is so savory with a variety of herbs and spices that it is very delightful to eat hot or room temperature. Serve this large dish along side your favorite Holiday dishes and main courses. It is just so beautiful as a center piece so don’t hide this one in the kitchen. Bring it out on the table for all your family and guest to dive into.

Apple Cranberry Pecan Quinoa with Roasted Acorn Squash. Photo by Spicy Saucy Vegan

How To Make Apple Cranberry Pecan Quinoa

When I first discovered this on line it was a stuffing recipe. I really enjoy it more in this recipe creation of mine. This one is a little less intense.

First of all you really have to rinse your quinoa well. The more you rinse it under clean water the less bitter it will be after cooking it. I recommend using a strainer that has a very fine mesh, so that the grains don’t pass through and down the drain. Quinoa is so fast to cook that now it is a go-to for our family. Besides it is full of protein and higher than most grains with 6 grams per serving.

Photo by Spicy Saucy Vegan

After you cook the quinoa fluff it with a fork and allow it to cool completely. I put it in a large mixing bowl and stir it now and then while I am preparing the rest of the dish. This helps cool it down faster. After it is cooled add all of your ingredients that are listed below. I like the pecans left whole or chopped large enough to have a good full taste of them in every bite. They are so compatible with the cranberries and apples. Really a nice combo.

Apple Cranberry Pecan Quinoa with Roasted Acorn Squash
How To Make Apple Cranberry Quinoa

When constructing this dish I like to add a little extra of cinnamon, sage and cayenne pepper. It all depends what I am serving it with and how I want these flavors to come out to enhance any other dishes I am making with it. Sometimes I like it spicy with extra cinnamon and cayenne pepper and sometimes I like it with more cinnamon, sage and fresh thyme. So feel free to experiment to your own liking.

How To Make Roasted Acorn Squash

This is an attractive way to cut and decorate your acorn squash for Holiday dishes. As you can see in this Apple Cranberry Pecan Quinoa with Roasted Acorn Squash. Acorn Squash just grows so naturally beautiful with all of it’s ridges that it has very appealing texture to look at.

How To Make Roasted Acorn Squash
How To Make Roasted Acorn Squash. Photo by Spicy Saucy Vegan

I slice it with a large sharp knife across all of these ridges in 1 inch slices. Then I clean out the seeds scraping the inside edges with a spoon to clean them. I like to choose a squash like these in smaller to medium sizes. I find them easier to cut through and not so difficult to handle.

How To Make Roasted Acorn Squash

I love the spices on this acorn squash. The cinnamon really goes so well with sage and thyme. Truly a pleasant surprise!

When roasting the acorn squash I put the sliced onions sporadically throughout the roasting try with the sliced squash, (Feel free to add some garlic cloves to roast with the onions). I add all the same spices to them as well. I roast everything in the tray for 10 minutes at 400 degrees and then turn the sliced squash over and sprinkle the new turned over side again with spices. I leave the onions as they are and continue roasting everything for another 10 minutes.

How To Make Roasted Acorn Squash
How To Make Roasted Acorn Squash. Photo by Spicy Saucy Vegan

Arranging the Apple Cranberry Pecan Quinoa with Roasted Acorn Squash In A Serving Dish

I always think this is going to be the hard part of this dish but it is actually very easy. After the quinoa has cooled and everything is mixed together put the quinoa mixture in a large serving dish. You can serve this dish at room temperature or cover it with tin foil and warm it in the oven for ten minutes at 250 degrees before you add the sliced squash. Be careful not to leave it in too long it will dry out.

I use a dish with high sides because the acorn squash slices have to fit and you don’t want them rolling out. Plus the squash slices look too big when the dish is small. You want it to all fit together nicely.

Apple Cranberry Pecan Quinoa with Roasted Acorn Squash. Photo by Spicy Saucy Vegan

I like to put little divots into the quinoa with a spoon for where I am going to put the slices of squash. It should fit 9 to 10 slices in a dish. This should be enough for 1 slice per guest or two for smaller groups of people. You can arrange the squash slices any way you like. You can see in the photos how I arranged them. Then I like to add some extra fresh thyme, dried cranberries and pecans around the top to make it look even more appealing.

I hope you like this recipe creation of Apple Cranberry Pecan Quinoa with Roasted Acorn Squash as much as we do. Enjoy!

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Apple Cranberry Pecan Quinoa with Roasted Acorn Squash

Apple Cranberry Pecan Quinoa with Roasted Acorn Squash

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  • Author: Spicy Saucy Vegan
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 9 1x
  • Category: Dinner, Dinner side dish
  • Method: Stove Top/Bake
  • Cuisine: American, Argentina, Chile
  • Diet: Vegan


This is a wonderful fall and Holiday delight. It is so beautiful and very tasty. This Apple Cranberry Pecan Quinoa with Roasted Acorn Squash is one to pull out all the punches with a center piece dish. This is a great combo in having a flavorful fruity savory grain dish and a complementary vegetable savory squash. The cinnamon, sage and thyme really pull off a wonderful Holiday flavor together. Serve this dish hot or room temperature and it is so delicious! Enjoy!


Units Scale

Cooked Quinoa

  • 2 cups Tricolored Quinoa
  • 4 cups Organic Vegetable Broth
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Vegan Butter or Coconut Oil

Add To Quinoa After Cooked

  • 1 1/2 tsp Dried Sage
  • 2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp Fresh Thyme, (extra for garnish)
  • 3/4 cup Pecans
  • 1 Apple, (cubed small)
  • 1/2 cup Dried Cranberries
  • Roasted Onion, (put in after it is roasted with the acorn squash)
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp Black Pepper
  • 4 dashes Cayenne Pepper, (optional)

Roasted Acorn Squash and Onions

  • 2 medium Acorn Squash
  • 1 small Onion, (chopped long strips)
  • sprinkle with Cinnamon
  • sprinkle with Dried Sage
  • sprinkle with Dried Thyme
  • Sprinkle with Sea Salt
  • Sprinkle with Black Pepper


  1. Heat oven to 400°

Cook Quinoa

  1. Add the 2 cups of quinoa into a small mesh strainer and rinse well under running water. When done add to a medium pan with vegetable broth and vegan butter or coconut oil and cook as instructed on quinoa bag.
  2. When done fluff with a fork. Add the quinoa to a large mixing bowl to cool. With a large spoon mix the quinoa to help cool while you prepare the acorn squash.

Prepare The Roasted Acorn Squash

  1. Prepare a large cookie sheet with parchment paper and spray with olive oil spray.
  2. Clean and chop the onion in half and then cut into ½ inch strips. Set aside
  3. Clean the acorn squash under running water and towel dry with a clean cloth or paper towel. On a cutting board cut the top end off of the squash with the large sharp knife. Slice it off, do not gouge it out. Be very careful. The squash is very hard to cut sometimes. Continue cutting 1 inch slices to get 4 to 5 slices per acorn squash. You should have 9 to 10 slices all together. Do not worry about the pointed end part. That will be left over.
  4. On the prepared cookie sheet lay the sliced acorn slices on the parchment paper. Then add the sliced onions where you can fit them in on the try. Spray everything with more olive oil spray. Sprinkle with cinnamon, dried thyme, dried sage, sea salt and black pepper. Cook for 10 minutes in the pre-heated oven. Take out after 10 minutes and flip the acorn squash slices spray with olive oil and sprinkle the spices again on that side and put back in oven and cook for ten more minutes. You do not need to flip the onions and don’t worry about getting more spice on them.
  5. Squash will be cooked when you can put a fork in it. When done take out and set aside while you prepare the rest of the quinoa dish.

Preparing the Quinoa Mixture

  1. Add the apple cider vinegar to the quinoa and mix together lightly.
  2. Clean the apples and chop small. Cut the pecans into thirds or leave whole. Add to the quinoa with the fresh thyme, dried cranberries, dried sage, cinnamon, sea salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper and roasted onions. Mix together and adjust to your desired taste if you need to add and extra spices.
  3. Transfer the quinoa to a large rectangle serving bowl. Put 9 to 10 little dents into the quinoa with a spoon to put the squash in and tilt the squash backwards so that they over lap onto each other. Like in the photo.
  4. Add extra dried cranberries and whole pecans to the top to make it look festive and a sprig of fresh thyme for garnish. Enjoy!

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