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Quinoa-Stuffed Sugar Pumpkin

One cup of quinoa has eight grams of protein and five grams of fiber

You’ve enjoyed quinoa stuffed peppers and love everything about the ancient grain, but what about pairing it with pumpkin? One cup of quinoa has eight grams of protein and five grams of fiber, and even a dose of omega-3 fatty acids.


  • 2 sugar pumpkins
  • 1 Tablespoon plus one teaspoon Earth Balance or other vegan buttery spread, plus more for greasing pumpkin
  • 1/2 Teaspoon salt, plus more for salting pumpkin
  • 1 Cup quinoa
  • 1 Cup onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 small Fuji or Granny Smith baking apple, peeled and finely diced
  • 1/2 Teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 Teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 Cup dried, sweetened cranberries, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 Cup raw pecans, chopped


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Use a sharp knife to cut a circle around each pumpkin stem. Carefully pull on the stems to remove the tops of the sugar pumpkins. Reach inside with a spoon and remove the seeds and strings. Lightly grease and salt the inside of each pumpkin. Replace the tops and bake until fully cooked—the inside flesh should be soft and easily pierced by a fork yet still maintain its structure—about one hour.

Meanwhile, place the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse in cold water for several minutes.

Heat 1 teaspoon Earth Balance in a one-and-one-half -quart saucepan on medium-low heat. Stir in the onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the quinoa, half a teaspoon salt, and two cups water and bring to a boil on high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until all of the water is fully absorbed, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Add the apples, cinnamon, ginger, cranberries, pecans, and one tablespoon Earth Balance to the hot quinoa and stir until well combined and the buttery spread has melted.

Fill the hot pumpkins with the quinoa mixture. Use the pumpkin tops or, if they’re too soft, aluminum foil to cover the pumpkins and bake until heated throughout, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for five minutes. Remove the tops or foil, slice each pumpkin in half, and serve.