Mini Stuffed Jack-O-Lanterns or Halloweegan Peppers


River of Wing it Vegan knows how to make vegan holidays fun, exciting, and delicious … and Halloween is certainly no exception. She has even coined the term “Halloweegan” and dedicated multiple, multiple posts to some of the most enticing and creative (and dairy-free) recipe ideas that I have ever laid my eyeballs upon. Just a few of her creations include the Chocolate Coffin Cake (complete with deceased gingerbread man), Spider Cupcakes and Cinnamon Rolls, Mashed Potato Ghosts and Mummy Dogs, and of course, the Halloween dinner recipe that follows.

And don’t think for a minute that this is just a simple stuffed pumpkin recipe. Some surprising and adorable serving ideas specifically for Halloween dinner or parties lurk at the close of this nutritious (gluten-free and vegan!) recipe.

Vegan Jack-o-Squash Recipe

Halloween is almost here and it’s time to get our creepy on! My favorite way to celebrate the spooky season is with lots of themed foods. Desserts are easy to figure out, especially with all the candy that comes along with Halloween, but there’s no reason why savory foods can’t be as fun as the sweet goodies! These easy to carve and very festive Jack-O’-Lantern acorn squashes are filled with nutritious quinoa and a hint of eeevil for a fun Halloween dinner!

Vegan Jack-o-Squash Recipe

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Mini Stuffed Jack-O-Lanterns or Halloweegan Peppers
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe and photos by River of Wing it Vegan. River blogs "vegan grub, craftiness, and geekery." You can visit her Halloweegan Index for more spooky creations.
Serves: 2 to 8 servings (depending on the vessel)
  • 2 gold acorn squashes (see below for other options)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
Quinoa Stuffing:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup onion, chopped
  • ½ cup mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • ½ cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Black pepper, to taste
For the Squash:
  1. If you're going to bake them in a conventional oven, preheat it to 375ºF.
  2. Slice off the bottom tip of the squashes to create a flat base. Cut off the tops and use a spoon to remove the seeds. Save the tops for later!
  3. Use a pencil to draw the faces on the squashes, and use a small serrated knife to carve out the faces. Luckily, carving a small acorn squash is easier than carving a big pumpkin!
  4. Brush a little olive oil all over the inside of the squashes and lightly sprinkle them with salt and black pepper.
  5. At this point you can choose to bake them in a conventional oven for an hour or until soft, or you can cook them in the microwave like I did. Place the squashes in a microwave safe bowl, add about ½ cup of water and microwave for 5 to 8 minutes or until soft.
For the Stuffing:
  1. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions and saute for about 5 minutes or until soft. Stir in the mushrooms and saute 2 more minutes. Stir in the garlic and saute for just about 30 seconds.
  2. Add the vegetable broth, quinoa, nutritional yeast, parsley, salt, and black pepper, to taste. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for about 15 or until the liquid is absorbed. Keep it covered, remove from the heat, and let the quinoa sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Uncover and fluff with a fork.
  3. Spoon the quinoa stuffing into the acorn squashes and cover them with the reserved squash tops. Reheat the finished dish, if necessary, and serve.
For Tiny Appetites: You can make those mini pumpkins instead of the bigger acorn squashes. You can stuff 6 to 8 mini pumpkins with this recipe, depending on their size.

Halloweegan Peppers: You can also stuff a carved orange bell pepper. Carve, stuff, and bake in a covered casserole dish at 350 degrees F. for 25 to 30 minutes.

About Author

Alisa is the founder of, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.


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