Mexican Stuffed Acorn Squash [RECIPE]

A couple of weeks ago, I shared a beautiful kitchen hack for preparing winter squash. For those of you who missed my post on this ground-breaking topic, the secret is … wait for it! … putting the whole thing in the oven uncut, unpeeled, un-punctured, and roasting it on 375-400 for 30 to 45 minutes. It’s super simple, super delicious, and it works for all winter squash, including pumpkin. I recently did it with butternut squash for a party (roasted 4 of them on the same cookie sheet for about 45 minutes total) and spaghetti squash for lunch with a friend (roasted 1 big one for about 30 minutes), and they all turned out great.

When I shared this kitchen hack, I also shared a delicious ground lamb and purple cabbage recipe to go along with it — to stuff in the halved, roasted squash. Today I’m sharing another awesome “squash stuffing.” This one is all about Mexican spices, and I love it even more than my first stuffed acorn squash recipe. 

stuffed acorn squash recipe

Seasoning and Timing

When seasoning with delicate herbs and spices, I’ve found that timing is everything. Adding cilantro too soon can mean wasting it because the flavor will be cooked out before you serve the dish, but there IS a flavor difference between cooked and raw cilantro. This recipe uses both, because I love both, and I feel like they both need to be there to get the right balance of flavor. I never ever use dry cilantro (or parsley or basil) because it’s just a waste — they basically taste like nothing once they’re dried. If you can’t find them fresh, start searching for some other way to flavor your food.

Same goes for lime juice: timing is everything. Squeezing a lime into a marinade is a great way to flavor a piece of meat or veggies, but squeezing it into a hot pan too soon when there hasn’t been any time for it to sink into the other ingredients is a waste. If you want lime or the acidic effect of lime, marinate or add close to the end. Otherwise it’s a waste. 

A Word on Preparing Beans

If you’ve read my post on maximizing phytonutrients, you may have checked out the book I reference by Jo Robinson, Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health (affiliate link). If not, I’ll share another food hack with you from that book. Canned beans have more antioxidant value than dried ones. Somehow the heating process increases the nutrient value, bringing more phytonutrients to your plate. Fascinating, right?

The only problem is that canned beans aren’t soaked before they’re cooked, leaving all the phytic acid and other antinutrients present. These components make it difficult for us to digest beans and properly utilize all the protein they offer us. They can also make calcium difficult to absorb, which can be a problem for those with brittle bones or osteoporosis. Soaking beans before cooking with water and a touch of acid (like raw vinegar, lemon juice, or kombucha) will diminish the phytate content and make beans a much healthier food to consume.

But canned beans are already cooked. Guess what? You can still soak them! Compared to soaking and then cooking dried beans, this won’t seem like a chore at all, trust me.

Simply rinse your beans in the morning and place them in bowl filled with lukewarm water. Drop about 2 tsp of raw apple cider vinegar into the water, and swish it around. Cover the bowl with a plate or towel on the counter, and head off to work. (Don’t refrigerate.) When you come home 6 to 8 hours later, drain the liquid and rinse the beans one more time before adding them to your recipe. 


    Mexican Stuffed Acorn Squash
    Serves 4
    Servings for this recipe are tricky. The stuffing will feed 3 to 4, but how many the squash will feed will depend on the squash. I always like to find the smaller squash and make more so that 1/2 a squash is about 1 serving. If you end up with a huge squash and only two people eating, consider scooping out half of each one for lunch the next day with the remaining stuffing.
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    Prep Time
    10 min
    Cook Time
    40 min">
    Prep Time
    10 min
    Cook Time
    40 min
    1. 2 small acorn squash
    2. 16 medium to large shrimp, peeled and deveined
    3. 2 cups cooked black beans*
    4. 1/4 small red onion, diced
    5. 1 small red bell pepper, finely diced
    6. 1/4 jalapeno (you decide the heat -- I don't use the seeds)
    7. 2 cloves garlic, minced (let sit at least 10 minutes before adding to fire)
    8. 2 tbs avocado oil
    9. 20 sprigs of fresh cilantro, leaves only, chopped
    10. 1 tsp dried savory
    11. 1 tsp dried marjoram
    12. 1 tsp cumin powder
    13. 1/4-1/2 tsp REAL salt (to taste)
    1. Heat the oven to 400 (no need to preheat)
    2. Place two small acorn squash on a cookie sheet and roast for 35 to 40 minutes while preparing everything else
    3. In a warm skillet, add 2 tbs avocado oil, onions, and peppers
    4. Allow onions to "sweat," stirring on low heat for about 3 minutes before adding in half the chopped cilantro leaves
    5. Stir in cooked, strained black beans
    6. Stir in minced garlic and simmer for another 3 to 5 minutes before adding shrimp
    7. Clear some space on the skillet so that the shrimp hit it directly to cook
    8. Give each side about 30 seconds and flip, then incorporate into the beans
    9. Stir in salt
    10. Once the shrimp are completely cooked through (but not overcooked), add the other half of the cilantro leaves and the juice of 1 lime and turn off the heat
    11. Slice the roasted acorn squash in half and scoop out the seeds
    12. Stuff the halved squash with the Mexican shrimp stuffing and consider the optional toppings below
    1. OPTIONAL: top with sour cream or greek yogurt, cilantro pesto, guacamole, sunflower seeds, or some combination of these
    2. * see note about preparing beans
    Cultivated Wellbeing

FTC DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive monetary compensation for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. I only link to products that I USE and LOVE. All opinions are my own.


I'm a wellness professional with a Master's in Integrative Health, passionate about spreading health, happiness and personal fulfillment to as many people as possible. I have a professional background in health and wellness, dietary supplements, and nutrition, and embark every day to live a well, balanced, happy life. In being true to myself and what I seek in life, I hope to inspire others to do the same, to cultivate wellbeing in their own lives.

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