Gregg’s Stuffed Acorn Squash with Quinoa, Cranberries, and Swiss Chard

MAKES 4 SERVINGS | PREP TIME: 25 minutes | COOK TIME: 45 minutes

When a confirmed, dyed-in-the-wool meat eater starts claiming a vegetable dish is his favorite meal of all time, that’s when I know I’m onto something. I made this for my husband, Gregg, and he went absolutely ga-ga over it. (And no, Gregg’s not one of those guys who would say it’s great just because I made it. He’s an honest food critic.) I’ve noticed that a lot of people who avoid vegetables gravitate to this dish. It could be because it’s colorful or comes in its own bowl, but I really think it’s because the hearty taste elicits a comfort food response. Squash has so many things going for it. It’s easy to digest and has numerous qualities—anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, immunity-boosting—that make it a boon for anyone dealing with cancer. Squash is also a natural vessel for all sorts of wonderful fillings. And if you aren’t in the mood for roasting squash, this quinoa pilaf makes for a yummy dish all on its own.


4 acorn squash
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of red pepper flakes


1 cup quinoa
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon finely diced shallot
3 tablespoons finely diced fennel
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
2 cups Magic Mineral Broth or water
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch of red pepper flakes
½ cup dried cranberries or raisins
6 cups stemmed and chopped Swiss chard or kale, in bite-size pieces
Fresh squeezed lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

To make the squash, cut the tops off the squash and scoop out the strings and seeds. Also cut the pointy ends off the bottoms of the squash so they’ll stand up once they’re stuffed.

Stir the olive oil, salt, allspice, ginger, cinnamon, and red pepper flakes together in a bowl. Use a brush to spread the spice mixture over the inside of the squash. Place the squash, top side down, on the prepared pan and roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until tender. Check after 20 minutes by touching the top of a squash with your finger. If it’s soft, transfer the squash from the oven and cover with foil until you’re ready to fill them.

Meanwhile, make the filling. Put the quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse well under running cold water.

Heat the 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the shallot and fennel and sauté until soft, about 3 minutes. Stir in the cumin and coriander, then stir in the quinoa. Stir in the broth and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt, cover, and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until the quinoa has absorbed all of the liquid. Remove from the heat, and fluff with a fork.

While the quinoa is cooking, heat the 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat, then add the garlic, red pepper flakes, and cranberries. Stir for 10 seconds, then add the kale and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Sauté until the greens are tender, about 5 minutes for kale, or 3 minutes for chard. Remove from the heat and stir in a squeeze of the lemon juice.

To assemble the dish, spoon the quinoa mixture into the squash, then top each squash with a scoop of the greens.

STORAGE: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Reprinted with permission from The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen: Nourishing, Big-Flavor Recipes for Cancer Treatment and Recovery. Copyright © 2009, 2017 by Rebecca Katz with Mat Edelson, Ten Speed Press, a division of the Crown Publishing Group, Berkeley, CA

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