Acorn Squash Wild Rice Pilaf recipe | Nutrition Stripped
Eat Well Dec. 15. 2017

Holiday Black Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash Bowls

Dec. 15. 2017
McKel Hill Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Hill Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

Founder of Nutrition Stripped and the Mindful Nutrition Method™

If you’re looking for a satisfying vegetarian entree to serve during the holidays, today’s holiday-inspired Black Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash Bowls are for you.

This healthy entree for two makes it simple to celebrate several seasonal flavors with a satisfying blend of wild rice and nuts, along with a medley of warming herbs. Not to mention, the delivery of this recipe is basically chef-worthy status.

Of course, I’m no newbie to acorn squash bowls. I love this winter squash! Since they’re in season right now, too, it’s the perfect time to star for them to star in a holiday entree dish. This recipe was originally inspired by my love for Citrus Quinoa Pilaf Stuffed Acorn Squash, a go-to gluten-free entree with plant-based protein stuffed in halved acorn squash. Today’s recipe just confirmed again how acorn squash is officially the perfect size for serving this delicious rice blend.

Like any tasty pilaf, this one is a satisfying and comforting mixture that’s totally worth the effort of making. The secret to making a homemade pilaf that’s rich and the opposite of boring is to slowly build the flavors. First, you’ll give the rice a boost in flavor by cooking it in vegetable broth, sundried tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Meanwhile, you’ll want to saute the aromatics of garlic and onion. You’ll then combine everything, along with golden raisins, pine nuts, hemp seeds, lemon, and herbs before topping the halves of acorn squash and throwing in the oven for a few minutes until they’re done.

As a whole, this recipe is… rich in fiber, rich in plant-proteins, warming, comforting & hearty.

I’ll usually make the acorn squash bowls and rice pilaf on the batch cooking day, and combine the two when I’m wanting a quick lunch or dinner. Since the acorn squash bowls need some time to cook tender, and the pilaf needs time to build out its flavors properly, it’s a great dish to utilize meal prep practices!


(nutrition) stripped and how this will entree is a healthy comfort food with nourishing ingredients:

1. Fiber:

Black rice has more fiber than other rice varieties, which can help lower cholesterol. Acorn squash is another high-fiber foods as it supports healthy digestion and it absorbs nutrients from food efficiently.

2. Protein:

Black rice has more protein per 100g than other rice varieties. Hemp seeds also boost the protein per each serving (about 10g of protein in 3 tablespoons).

3. Antioxidants:

Acorn squash and black rice both are incredibly nutrient dense from antioxidants.

4. Healthy fats:

The pine nuts and hemp seeds in the pilaf blend contain a high level of healthy fats that give you the feeling of being full and are associated with healthy weight management.

5. Optimizer Option:

If you’re looking for additional protein and you eat animal proteins, you can use grass-fed bone broth or organic chicken broth in place of vegetable broth when cooking the rice.

The Recipe

Serves 2



1 acorn squash, cut in half, seeded

2 tablespoons olive oil

Sea salt and black pepper

For the rice:

1 cup black rice

1 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth

1/2 cup chopped yellow onion

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes

1/2 cup golden raisins

1/2 cup hemp seeds

1/4 cup pine nuts

1 teaspoon lemon zest

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon ground sage

1 teaspoon ground oregano

1 teaspoon ground thyme


Step 1:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Step 2:

Using a sharp knife, carefully halve the acorn squash in half and scoop out seeds with a spoon and drizzle with olive oil, sea salt, and black pepper. Bake for 30 minutes or until fork tender.

Make the black rice:

In the meantime, make the black rice by adding rice to the broth, sea salt, black pepper, and sun-dried tomatoes. Cook for 20 minutes or until tender – al dente.

Step 4:

In a skillet over medium heat, cook garlic and onions with olive oil until translucent and fragrant.

Step 5:

In a large mixing bowl, combine cooked rice, sauteed onions and garlic, and the remaining rice ingredients and stir to combine. Adjust seasonings to taste (salt and pepper).

Step 6:

Scoop the rice mixture into the hollows of each squash half and cook in the oven for an additional 10 minutes.

Step 7:

Serve with a drizzle of maple syrup with a touch of ground cayenne, optional.

Step 8:

Store leftovers in an airtight glass container.

Add these items to your grocery list this week:

Acorn squash
Black rice
Yellow onion
Pine nuts
Golden raisins
Ground sage
Ground oregano
Ground thyme

Things you may already have on hand, and if not, are worth picking up:

Olive oil
Sea salt and pepper
Hemp seeds
Sun-dried tomatoes

If you try this recipe, I wanna hear about it, so let’s chat! Leave a comment it, rate it (this helps me improve future recipes), and don’t forget to tag a picture #nutritionstripped to show how you live and try these recipes on Instagram! I’d love to see what you come up with.

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