Simple and Elegant Vegetarian Dinner for Two

Garlic-roasted acorn squash stuffed with quinoa and orange balsamic pan-glazed tempeh, topped with cranberries and fresh basil. Mmm, easy weeknight gourmet!

This lovely little meal would be a nice, easy vegetarian (or vegan!) date night dinner, or just a fancy-ish entree for no occasion at all. I’m so happy with the way this turned out. All the flavors blend just beautifully, and it just has that “special meal” feel to it. It makes great leftovers for lunch the next day too!

Note: The glaze was inspired by my favorite salad dressing, orange balsamic vinaigrette. However, here the vinegar and soy sauce seemed to overpower the orange flavor a little, so I added a few drops of orange oil to bring out that flavor. If you don’t have that on hand, try adding orange zest or a tablespoon or so of orange juice concentrate.


  • 1 package tempeh – sliced, cubed, or crumbled
  • 1 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, coursely chopped
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tsp olive oil + more for brushing
  • 2-3 drops orange oil (see note above)
  • Pinch of cumin (I used a little less than 1/8 tsp)
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa (or other grain such as brown rice, millet, or spelt berries. Or no grain at all, even)
  • 1 small acorn squash
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil


First, get that squash roasting. Halve it, scoop out the seeds, pierce the flesh with a knife, brush with olive oil, top with coarsely chopped garlic, place in a baking dish with 1/4 inch of water, and roast until soft and golden at 400 F, about 30-40 min. (Whew, sorry about the long sentence! 😉 )

Meanwhile, sauté the onion in oil until soft. Add the tempeh, orange juice, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, cumin, black pepper, and orange oil. Bring to a boil. Turn the heat down a bit, and let it simmer until all the liquid has disappeared. (About 10 minutes) The tempeh and onions should have a nice glaze. Stir in the cranberries.

While the tempeh simmers, cook the quinoa or grain of your choice. I combined the quinoa with 1 cup water in a pot with a dash of salt. Bring to a boil, cover, and let simmer until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is soft, about 15 minutes.

When everything is done, fill the acorn squash cavity with quinoa, then top with the tempeh and basil.

This would be lovely with a green salad or steamed asparagus, and glass of red wine. Enjoy!


16 responses

    • Isn’t squash great? I love love love tempeh too – it’s a fermented soybean “cake” and has a really nutty mild flavor. You’ll love it! Thanks for stopping by! So good to have you 🙂

  1. Your recipes look so awesome and delicious. I’ll have to come back soon and really look over them in detail when I have more time (and a not so empty stomach—or else I’ll want to make them all right away!)

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