Thursday, October 28, 2010

Chipotle Chicken & Rice Stuffed Squash

I think I'd be missing the blogging boat if I didn't post a stuffed squash recipe this Autumn! This recipe veers away from the usual wild rice or quinoa mixed with nuts, cranberries, apples, and herbs. Not that those combinations aren't perfectly comforting and festive this time of year....but I was thinking of something a little spicier.

I was snuggling my 5 year old daughter after school yesterday and at the same time was trying to think of something for dinner. We are in desperate need of a large grocery shopping trip but before I embark on one of those adventures I like to use up whatever ingredients might be lurking around our pantry and refrigerator. I had a cooked chicken breast in the fridge from a whole chicken I cooked into soup the other day and a pot of brown rice on the counter. The peppers I purchased at last Saturday's market and the kale was from our garden.

I like to use Bionaturae Strained Tomatoes any time I would generally use tomato sauce. This is because it comes in glass and not a can. Canned tomatoes are still lined with plastic and can leach potentially dangerous chemicals, such as BPA, into the tomato product. Though it is still debatable how much of these chemicals are actually present.

Chipotle Chicken & Rice Stuffed Squash

If you're vegan you could enjoy this recipe using black beans in place of the cooked chicken. I am sure there are countless variations of vegetables, grains, and beans you could use here. I think a corn, cooked quinoa, black bean combo would be quite delicious! If you happen to eat cheese, I would consider topping each stuffed, halved squash with shredded raw, organic jack cheese! If you have extra filling, heat it in a small covered pot over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Then use to fill warmed corn or rice tortillas. Serve stuffed squash with a mixed green and arugula salad with a lime vinaigrette and sliced avocados.

3 to 4 medium acorn squash

2 cups cooked brown rice
2 cups cooked shredded or chopped chicken
1 to 2 sweet red peppers
1 cup finely chopped kale

1 1/2 cups strained tomatoes (or tomato sauce)
1 cup water
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 medium shallots, peeled
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
1 tablespoon coconut sugar or agave nectar
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1/2 to 1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder (use more for more spice!)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut all of the squash in half then scoop out the seeds. Place the squash flesh-side down on a large rimmed baking sheet. Add a small amount of water to the pan. Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes or until tender but not cooked all the way.

Mix the ingredients for the filling in a large bowl.

Place all of the ingredients for the sauce into a blender and blend on high for about 60 seconds or until smooth. Pour sauce into the bowl with the filling. Toss together.

Use a spatula to lift up and remove the the squash halves from the baking sheet. Place them tucked closely next to each other in a large baking dish such as a 9 x 13-inch pan. You may need to use two pans depending on how large the squash are. Scoop the filling into each squash half. I try to stuff in as much as I can. Drizzle all of them with olive oil. Place back into the oven and bake uncovered for about 40 to 45 more minutes. If you are using cheese, then sprinkle some on top during the last 10 to 15 minutes of baking. Serve with a squeeze of lime. Source:

Stuffed Squash ready to go in the oven.

More Autumn Main Dish Ideas:
Fish Curry (you could use cubed squash and kale in place of some of the summer veggies)

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About the Author

Alissa Segersten holds a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University. She is the founder of Whole Life Nutrition, the mother of five children, a whole foods cooking instructor, professional recipe developer, and cookbook author. She is passionate about helping others find a diet that will truly nourish them, and offers elimination diet recipes, healthy gluten-free recipes, paleo and vegan recipes, as well as tips for feeding your family a nourishing, whole foods diet. Alissa is the author of two very popular gluten-free, whole foods cookbooks and guidebooks: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook and Nourishing Meals. She is also the co-author of The Elimination Diet book. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!


  1. What a delicious autumn meal! I love stuffed squash, and your variation looks incredible.

  2. This looks yummy, sounds yummy and fast and easy - my kind of dinner!
    Also, thanks for the tip on canned tomatoes - I didn't know that most were lined with plastic! Is it all canned products or just tomatoes?

  3. Hi Ali - this sounds fabulous and versatile! I'll definitely be making this one soon!

  4. Definitely a unique blend of flavors! I wish I could find glass jarred tomatoes around here - none of the local stores carry them.

  5. Yum!! I love stuffed squash! I find that dishes like this get people (like my hubby!) who wouldn't ordinarily eat baked squash to love it. I am going to put this on my 'to make' list - it would totally be something he'd love.

    Thanks for a fantastic recipe, Ali!

  6. Ali -- this looks delicious. I love all things squash, so am always excited about new variations... and it looks like this one will be very easy to make grain-free as well.

  7. Wow, what a gorgeous dish, Ali! I imagine that the squash flavors really balance the spiciness and I love chicken in recipes like this. Several different amazing flavors and textures--that's my favorite way to eat meals. :-)

    Happy Friday!

  8. Those look great! What a perfect fall dish.

  9. This looks amazing! I WILL be trying this recipe soon!

  10. This looks fantastic! I switched from Muirs Glen organic canned tomatoes to Bionaturae strained tomatoes in the glass bottle earlier this year and have not looked back since - canned tomatoes used to somtimes give me some heartburn yet the Bionaturae ones do not!!

    I have also tried Pomi, though since they are not organic, I always get nervous - I bought them when I was out of Bionaturae and had not been able to replenish my supply.

  11. I am a sucker for chipotle chile powder. This sounds SO good!

  12. Ali - this looks great. Any time you stuff a squash, it elevates the meal to a whole other place! And I so appreciate all of the alternatives you suggest. Thanks!

  13. This looks so amazing and such a great fall recipe.I am going to give this a go veg style with some chopped nuts or tempeh.

  14. Do you people have a facebook fan page? I looked for one on twitter but could not discover one, I would really like to become a fan!

  15. I made this on Monday night. It took a long time to prepare, but the work and wait was worth it. The next time, I will do some prep. work the night before I want to serve this. I had extra "stuffing" and suace, so I mixed some of the sauce with the chicken/rice mix and made a casserole. There is still leftover sauce, so I used it as a topping for black bean burgers last night....Delicious!!!

  16. Thanks for all of the great comments, enjoy this warming Autumn recipe! :)

  17. I really want to make this-- I think I might do it with kabocha pumpkin though. Chipotle flavors go so well with fall.

  18. I have this in the oven right now! I can't wait to taste it! I grow my own tomatoes and store them in jars, so glad my parents taught me how to garden! Love your site!

  19. This was such a hit with my husband! We loved the sauce. I added organic dark chocolate squares instead of cocoa powder, steamed the squash(don't have an oven), and added organic lentils(i'm vegan) to the organic brown basmati rice along with some naturally dehydrated veggies and raisins. We'll be making this again! Btw- absolutely love your site and can't wait to order your book.

  20. Do you think it would work to freeze this filling? I'm considering making a double batch of the filling with the goal of freezing half for a quick post-baby meal. Thanks!


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Thanks and Happy Cooking! ~Ali :)