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An overhead view of a plate of carnival squash

Roasted Carnival Squash with Spinach and Lentils

  • Author: Vicky Cohen and Ruth Fox
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Diet: Vegetarian


Our delicious, protein-rich carnival squash recipe is perfect for a special brunch, lunch, or dinner. Wow your guests with a sweet and savory filling cooked right in the squash for a beautiful presentation that tastes as good as it looks. This is a vegetarian recipe you can be proud to serve.


  • 2 Carnival squash
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon

For the Stuffing

  • 1 cup uncooked beluga lentil (or any other lentil of your choice)
  • 1 cup frozen spinach, thawed
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 shallot or small onion
  • 1 1/2 tsp of Trader Joes Sofrito Spice Blend  (See note #1)
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar or apple cider vinegar (See note #2)
  • 4 oz  Sheep's Milk Feta Cheese (about 1/2 cup crumbled) or  vegan feta cheese (we recommend Violife - not sponsored)


  1. Preheat the oven to 400F
  2. Combine the lentils with 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, lower the temperature and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until tender, but not mushy (you want the lentils to keep their shape. Cooking time will depend on the type of lentil used)
  3. Cut each carnival squash in half width-wise. Scoop out the seeds and rub each half evenly with maple syrup, salt, and cinnamon. Bake for 45 minutes or until the acorn squash is tender (time will depend on the size of the squash). Remove them from the oven and let them cool slightly
  4. While the squash is baking, start preparing the stuffing. Squeeze as much water as you can from the spinach and set it aside. When lentils are cooked, drain them with a colander and set them aside
  5. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the shallots and cook over medium heat for 3-5 minutes or until translucent. Add spinach, lentils, sofrito spice blend, salt, and cumin and cook over medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes or until the spinach is cooked and the flavors have blended together. Add the balsamic vinegar and mix well
  6. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired.  Take into consideration that the lentils and spinach will be topped with feta cheese, which tends to add saltiness
  7. Fill each carnival squash half with a heaping half a cup of lentil filling
  8. Sprinkle the crumbled feta cheese evenly on each squash half. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted


  1. If you live near Trader Joe's, it's worth getting the spice blend. If not try using a spice blend with pepper, lemon peel, and herbs, or use lemon pepper and your favorite dry herbs
  2. We like the acidity that vinegar gives to the stuffed squash, you can omit it or drizzle some balsamic glaze before serving the carnival squash
  3. Here's more information about the  nutritional value of carnival squash
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 90
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean


  • Serving Size: 1 carnival squash half
  • Calories: 341
  • Sugar: 12
  • Sodium: 707
  • Fat: 10.1
  • Saturated Fat: 4.8
  • Unsaturated Fat: 4.7
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 49.6
  • Fiber: 6.8
  • Protein: 17.3
  • Cholesterol: 25.2

Keywords: vegan, gluten-free, vegan option, kosher,

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