The holiday season is a time of year filled with an assortment of high GI foods and dishes, including sides like mashed potatoes and various desserts. Here is an alternative low GI recipe that is easy to make and can be added or served in place of your typical holiday dishes. Enjoy!


This version of stuffed squash is a healthy holiday dish that can be served as both a main and a side dish. It is vegetarian friendly (can be modified to be vegan) and contains several low GI foods, including squash, quinoa and chickpeas.

Serves: 4


Acorn or Butternut squash:

  • 2 acorn or butternut squash
  • 2-3 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼- ½ teaspoon salt


  • ½ cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries (reduced sugar if possible)
  • ¼ cup toasted pepitas
  • ½ can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ cup green onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Slice squash in half and scoop out seeds with a spoon.
  3. Place squash halves (cut side up) on a pan lined with parchment paper. Drizzle olive oil and sprinkle salt over the squash.
  4. Turn over squash halves (cut side down) and bake for 30-40 minutes or until the flesh of the squash can easily be pierced through by a fork.
  5. While the squash is baking, cook the quinoa. Combine the quinoa and water in a saucepan, bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 10-20 minutes or until the quinoa has absorbed all the water.
  6. Once the quinoa is cooked, remove from heat and stir in the dried cranberries. Cover the mixture for 5 minutes.
  7. Combine the quinoa mixture in a bowl with toasted pepitas, chickpeas, green onion, thyme, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper and parmesan cheese (optional).
  8. Scoop mixture into the squash halves and put stuffed squash halves back into the oven for 10-15 minutes or until quinoa turns golden brown.
  9. Serve and enjoy!


Recipe by Effie Viguiliouk, MSc

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