Appetizers/ Vegetables

Baked Acorn Squash with Chestnuts, Mushrooms & Quinoa, also a Story about Horse-Chestnuts!

Halved acorn squash make perfect single-serving bowls. These make a great vegetarian main course for any day, but they’re also a festive accompaniment to turkey, chicken or roast duck.

(This post has many beautiful photographs – enjoy them!!!)

I don’t know about you but fall is my favorite season. I always feel romantic, very creative and adventurous during this time of year. I think fall is the best time for weddings and special celebrations. When trees start to change their color I just like to drive to the airport and fly to Paris (I wish!) One of my vivid European trips memories is smell of roasted chestnuts almost on every street in a city. It’s beautiful, don’t you think? So, here is my story about how I roasted chestnuts.

I was driving around town and spotted a chestnut tree covered by nuts. I was so happy and ready to start gathering every single one thinking how gorgeously looking they are and what I can cook from them. As soon as I got home, I have immediately started cutting and roasting. I am nature girl, so if I see wild berries or mushrooms I pick them – to use in my recipes and photographs. Same I thought would apply to chestnuts. So, after 30 minutes of roasting, few chestnuts blew up in my oven and I finally got to taste them. Full of excitement I opened one and tried. To my immediate disappointment and horror they were so bitter and yucky! First I thought maybe these chestnuts were still green and not ripe enough. But after some research on goggle I have realized – those were Horse-chestnuts! Ones which are inedible, as well as poisonous! My goodness, I almost fed them to my family!! After fiasco with wild chestnuts, I rushed to the supermarket and bought myself two bags of organic roasted and peeled chestnuts, sweet and scrumptious. They were indeed a great snack and lovely addition to my dish. Please enjoy the recipe for Baked Acorn Squash with Chestnuts, Mushrooms & Quinoa!

Before you roast that chestnut, make sure it’s safe to snack on!
These are Horse-chestnuts, and they are inedible!

But if you have sweet chestnuts and would like to roast them, there are directions how to do so: Preheat the oven to 375F (190C). Cut a 1/2 inch on the flat side of each nut. Be sure to cut through the shell to prevent the nut from exploding. Place the nuts in a shallow baking pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Allow to cool and peel off the shell.

Now we can talk about the recipe – Baked Acorn Squash-))

Acorn squash is extremely nutrient-dense for its size, but also, it has a diverse range of nutrients. It is rich in dietary fiber, as are more fruits and vegetables, while also being very low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium. In terms of vitamins and minerals, acorn squash has significant levels of vitamin C, vitamin A, thiamin, pantothenic acid, and other B-family vitamins, and its range of minerals is truly impressive, including potassium, magnesium, manganese, iron, copper, phosphorous, and calcium. For more information visit here.

Baked Acorn Squash with Chestnuts, Mushrooms & Quinoa

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Serves: 4
Cooking Time: 40 minutes


  • 3-4 acorn squash (about 1 pound each), halved lengthwise and seeded
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil for brushing
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 5 oz. chestnuts, roasted, peeled, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups of assorted mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 small carrot, peeled and grated
  • blue cheese for the top
  • fresh sage (optional)



Preheat the oven to 350°F. In the small bowl mix together olive oil, cinnamon, paprika, salt and pepper. Brush the cut sides of the squash with olive oil mixture. Place the squash cut side down on two baking sheets and roast for about 25 minutes, until just tender.


Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, carrot and mushrooms, cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5-8 minutes. Add the cooked quinoa and chestnuts, cook over moderately high heat couple more minutes. Season with salt and pepper.


Turn the squash cut side up. Spoon the stuffing into the cavities and place a few peaces of blue cheese. Bake the squash until they are tender and the stuffing is golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. Transfer to plates and serve with fresh sage.

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  • Reply
    Rosa's Yummy Yums
    October 8, 2015 at 6:07 am

    So pretty and scrumptious! That stuffing sounds wonderful.



  • Reply
    October 8, 2015 at 6:54 am

    I used to play with horse chestnuts when I was a kid 🙂 used to go pick them.. memories about golden autumn.

  • Reply
    Angie Schneider
    October 8, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    What a scrumptious fall meal! I love that quinoa-chestnut filling.

  • Reply
    October 11, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    I loved this recipe, but I did change a couple of things due to what I had on hand. I used farro instead of quinoa, and goat cheese instead of bleu. It was really delish. I want to make it again soon, will use the bleu then. I am very partial to farro and always trying to use it in more recipes so I may keep that. Thanks so much for the recipe!

  • Reply
    handmade by amalia
    October 12, 2015 at 2:50 pm

    This looks delicious. And just perfect for the season.

  • Reply
    October 15, 2015 at 12:37 am

    Affenage, I also love farrow, it is very tasty grain. I am so glad you tried my recipe and you like it! Thank you for letting me know!

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