Fitness, GF Recipes, Healthy Living

Stuffed Acorn Squash

21 Comments 24 September 2012

Stuffed Acorn Squash

I have this strange habit.  I sign up for a challenge, accomplish it, and then stop. Cold turkey.

On Memorial Day weekend, I ran a marathon.  A FULL marathon.  My FIRST marathon.  That was FOUR months ago.  I haven’t run outside since crossing that finish line…well, except to see who just fell off the monkey bars at recess.  Three years ago, I finished an Olympic length triathlon.  I swam, I biked, I ran.  But after finishing that event, the bike sat in the garage, and I don’t think I’ve entered a lap pool since.  While I haven’t miss the pool, I felt badly for my poor bike.

I even loaned it out to a few people for a few races. It’s a great bike, and it seemed such a shame to have it sit collecting cobwebs. But me? I was content to teach spin classes. Inside.

I have no idea why a finish line holds such a sense of finality for me.  Not just for the day. Not just for the season. But for quite a long time. I tell myself that it’s because I pour myself into my training. By the time the event arrives, I’m ready to be done, and I’m ready for something else. During the last few weeks of training, I dream of yoga or lying on a beach somewhere. Maybe I just don’t have the drive of a true athlete.

But I’m happy to say that I’m finally back to riding my bike.  And I owe it all to my friend, Julie. Julie is an inspiration to me. She is currently training for her second century ride. (Yes, that’s 100 miles. My butt bones can’t even imagine 100 miles in a saddle.) And she has sweetly put on the brakes to allow me to keep up with her for portions of her training rides. I am LOVING it!  Despite the soreness, I love riding in the cool of the early morning, knocking off 30-40 miles before church on a Sunday. It has become the highlight of my week.

What does this have to do with acorn squash?

Nothing really, but as Julie and I ride the rolling hills of the Nachez Trace, I find that our conversation always seems to come back to food.  Recently, Julie asked me if I liked acorn squash. My mind instantly went back to the squash memories of my childhood.  The kind that involved the phrase “you will not leave the table until…” But while grocery shopping later that afternoon, the pile of acorn, butternut, and spaghetti squash just looked so fresh and inviting. The gourds smiled at me and said, “This is Fall.  Enjoy me.” Okay, maybe I needed a little sugar after that long ride.

But I loved the acorn squash. And I think you will too. Stuffed with a sweet apple and spinach filling, this squash dish ushered in the season of Fall.

Stuffed Acorn Squash

by Heather


  • 2 acorn squashes
  • 1 green apple
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 c. chopped onion
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 4 c. spinach
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 T. grade B maple syrup
  • 1/2 c. pine nuts


1.  Preheat the oven to 375.

2.  Cut 2 acorn squashes in half, remove the seeds, and place the squash face down on a jelly roll pan covered with foil.  Bake at 375 for 30 minutes. Then turn them over and cook for another 30 minutes.

3.  Core and chop apples and toss the apple pieces in lemon juice to keep them from browning.

4.  Heat olive oil in a large pan on medium heat.  Add minced garlic and stir for 2 minutes.

5.  Add onions and apples and sprinkle with nutmeg.  Cook for 5 minutes.

6.  Add spinach, and cook until the spinach wilts.

7.  Season with sea salt, add maple syrup, and remove from heat.

8.  Toast pinenuts in a toaster oven, or wait until the squash is cooked and toast them in the oven.

9.  Remove squash after it’s cooked, stuff each half with apple spinach mixture, and sprinkle with pinenuts.

Serves 4

Thanks, Julie, for your inspiration!  Both physically and in the kitchen!

Readers, dish!

  • Do you like acorn squash?
  • How do you deal with physical challenges?
  • Do you enjoy running or biking?
  • What’s your favorite finish line memory?
This recipe was shared with:

Your Comments

21 Comments so far

  1. What a funny story! I have had a few cycling milestones over the years (a hilly 2-day 361km cycle was my highlight last year) but haven’t done much long-distance cycling since…. My longest ride this year was a 2-day 180km ride which sounds more impressive than it really was since it was supposed to be longer!) My daily commute varies up to 15km one way, so I still get my cycle on, but I miss the long rides. I wish I had more time.

    Love the squash recipe… need more of those this time of year. :)

  2. Moji says:

    Nice recipe. Thanks for sharing this one. I can’t wait to do this as a side dish for our brunch party next week. I love the colors and the textures.

  3. How gorgeous Heather. I love it. You know I have the same problem. I trained for a half marathon, have hardly run since. I’ll ride 250 km a week and then not really ride for years….I don’t know. I guess I just lose interest. Are you a Gemini by chance ? :)

  4. I love this post, Heather, both for you sharing your “quirkiness” and for you sharing this recipe! Thank you! :-) I think we all need to mix it up from time to time or there are things we do for a specific goal that challenges us and then we want more “routine” stuff back in our lives. 😉


  5. amber says:

    Hi Heather,

    You are certainly not alone in your process. Training is crazy hard and the finish is the reward. The people I know who run or work out constantly are always working toward a race – it keeps them going. I know very few people who just like to run every morning. And those people have been doing it for like 30 years, so it’s literally automatic. They don’t even thinking about it.

    I love your acorn squash recipe. I also have one, but it’s a little too sweet. I love your stuffing. :-)

    Glad to hear you are using your bike again and enjoying some ride time.

    And you’re a superstar for your athletic achievements. You go girl. :-)


  6. Linda says:

    What an enjoyable post, Heather. I had no idea you did all that (and then stopped). Acorn squash has been one of my least favorite squashes. I think I tried it in a bad recipe and then decided I didn’t like it. I do think I would like this recipe, though. Thanks for sharing it.

  7. Larissa says:

    This looks both delicious and beautiful! I will try this weekend. Do you think I could use a covered casserole dish instead of a jelly roll pan and foil?

    • Heather says:

      I’m sure you could use a covered casserole dish, Larissa. It would probably be more moist. I like using the pan so the sugars from the squash caramelize a bit. Foil is a must though if you want to avoid the scrubbing! :)

  8. I am featuring your awesome squash recipe this week on Allergy-Free Wednesdays :)

  9. Heidi says:

    Congrats on the marathon! This looks so yummy. I wonder if I can get my kids to try it. I would love it if you visited my new Gluten-Free Monday party at and linked up this and any other idea you would like to share. I hope to see you there.

  10. :) I am going to run my first 5K next month. I am nervous as heck and really just want to finish…after that I will undoubtedly have to sign up for more races as I don’t want to lose momentum! Such a cute story and such a great recipe. Thank you for sharing over at Ingredient Challenge Monday. xoxo

    • Heather says:

      Good for you, Sunny!!! That’s wonderful! You will totally finish! Just start out slower than your legs want to. Your lungs and heart will thank you about 1K in when you pass all the people that started in a sprint. Can’t wait to hear how it goes!!


  1. Allergy-Free Wednesdays, Blog Hop Week 37 | Gluten Free Pantry - 02. Oct, 2012

    […] Stuffed Acorn Squash @ Gluten-Free […]

  2. October ICM Winning Recipe and the November Challenge-Ingredient Announcment! - 11. Nov, 2012

    […] (LOVE LOVE this squash!), Cucumber and Avocado Collard Wrap from Janet at The Taste Space; and this Stuffed Acorn Squash from my friend Heather, The Gluten-Free Cat. I’m even taking some of this garlic-roasted […]

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A Curious Girl in the Gluten-Free World

I'm a curious girl, wife, teacher, fitness fanatic, gluten-free foodie, high-raw vegan, and Mama Cat living in NYC. I've made the transition from baking and cooking gluten-free to creating raw vegan recipes that are naturally gluten free. My gluten intolerance opened up my diet to a whole new world of nutritious plant-based foods. While I'm not 100% vegan, it's my favorite way to eat, and making and sharing raw foods makes me giddy. Living in the City has its joys and challenges, and I enjoy sharing my experiences with you.

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