This showstopping Vegan Stuffed Butternut Squash is filled with quinoa and wild rice blend, kale, mushroom, walnut, cranberry, and spices making it an easy and tasty fall dinner or meal. The savory flavors are perfect for the holidays including Thanksgiving and Christmas.
There is something so fulfilling about fall squash. From butternut, delicata to acorn it's a perfect well-rounded food to enjoy especially if you happen to be vegan or vegetarian. Whether you stuff it or just eat it plain, winter squash is the perfect starting point for so many meatless meals. You can't beat a plant that's super good for you, tastes amazing, AND is surprisingly easy to make once you learn a few tricks.
Vegan Stuffed Butternut Squash
This delightful meal is one of my favorite ways to enjoy winter squash. My Vegan Stuffed Butternut Squash might look find of fancy but it actually a simple meal that just so happens to be simple enough to make any fall night OR serve on your holiday table (Hello Thanksgiving or Christmas!)
Why You'll Love this Vegan Stuffed Butternut Squash...
This pretty stuffed squash is filled with SO much hearty and nourishing goodness that you'll honestly never miss the meat in this vegan and plant-based meal. We're talking a filled with gorgeous green kale, hearty wild rice & quinoa, meaty mushrooms, and tart cranberries. The combination is a FLAVOR bomb that just screams fall and the holiday season.
And while this dish looks fancy it includes some shortcuts like precooked rice and quinoa plus already chopped kale and mushrooms. So even though this looks FANCY it's actually pretty darn easy to make.
How to Pick a Butternut Squash
Let's start with the basics of butternut squash. Here are my five tips to pick a good butternut squash. These rules apply to any winter squash you are cooking as well.
- Pick a squash that's heavy for its size.
- Pick one with an intact, firm, and dry stem.
- Look for a squash rich in color.
- Check the surface- it should be dull and matte not shiny.
- Also look for cracks, cuts, and soft spots.
Once you have the perfect butternut squash store it in a cool dark place and it will keep for a month or more.
How to Cut Butternut Squash in Half
The biggest obstacle to eating winter squash at home is CUTTING it. I'm not going to lie... it can be tough and requires a steady hand and sharp knives. <--- These are my favorites on Amazon. This is an affiliate link.
I have a HUGE trick to cutting a butternut squash without hurting yourself. I pierce the skin of the squash with a sharp knife, much like you would a baked potato before putting it in the microwave. Next, I actually put the entire squash in the microwave for about 2 minutes depending on the size. That step softens the butternut squash just enough to make it a lot easier to cut.
This recipe just requires you to cut the squash in half. To do that I'll wait for the squash to cool and then use my large chef's knife to cut it in half. If I have a recipe that I want to cube the squash I will peel it with my knife OR a vegetable peeler and then chop it up from there.
Ingredients in the Stuffed Squash:
So not that we have the perfect butternut squash cut in half here is what else you will need to make this recipe!
- Butternut Squash: This recipe is best with two small to medium size squash. One around 6 inches would be best.
- Wild Rice and Quinoa Blend Packet: The biggest shortcut to this recipe is I actually used one of those microwave rice packets. It's already seasoned and just have to pop it in the microwave and go. Feel free to make your own from scratch but make sure to properly season your mix. This shortcut helps you get this dinner on the table with less fuss, time, and mess.
- Kale: I'm all about the shortcuts so I buy chopped kale from the produce section.
- Sliced Mushroom: Sliced portobello mushrooms are the perfect ingredient to make this stuffed squash a bit more hearty.
- Walnuts: Walnuts add some crunch and protein.
- Dried Cranberries: The tart and sweetness of the dried cranberry perfectly compliments
- Lemon: Lemon adds a bit of brightness and freshness to the dish.
- Spices: Thyme, Oregano, and Garlic make this savory butternut squash recipe really pop.
How to Make Vegan Stuffed Butternut Squash:
This Vegan Stuffed Butternut Squash recipe takes a bit longer than most of my recipes BUT most of the time is hands-off time roasting the squash. Here's how to make it step by step. You can also follow the photo guide below.
- Cut the butternut squash in half following my directions above. Put the two half of the squash on a foil-lined, cooking spray covered baking sheet or non-stick baking sheet. Drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the squash and generously salt and pepper. Roast for 45-55 minutes.
- When the squash is almost done cooking makes the stuffing. You cook it in a pan on the stovetop by sauteing garlic, kale, and then the mushrooms. Finally, add the lemon. While you are doing that pop your rice packet in the microwave. Once that's done add the kale mixture, quinoa, and wild rice blend, walnuts, dried cranberries, and spices to a bowl and toss together. Add spices to taste.
- Once the squash is soft remove it from the oven and allow it to cool enough to touch. Scoop out the butternut squash seeds and enough of the squash to make enough room for the stuffing. You can save the squash for another recipe.
- Carefully fill the butternut squash with your wild rice and quinoa mix.
- Put the tray back in the oven and cook until it's all heated through.
The PERFECT Vegan Stuffed Butternut Squash for Thanksgiving!
While I firmly believe this Stuffed Butternut Squash can be enjoyed all fall and winter if not ALL year, it really is the perfect Vegan Stuffed Butternut Squash for Thanksgiving or Christmas. The savory stuffing is super hearty and has flavors that just scream Thanksgiving like rice, mushrooms, and dried cranberries. The sweet squash is the perfect vessel for the holiday stuffing goodness.
PLUS this Vegan Stuffed Butternut Squash is so darn pretty! It has that showstopping pizzaz you are looking for in a Vegan Thanksgiving Main Dish plus this goodness is hearty and tasty enough to be a side dish for everyone else if you just have a few vegans coming to your meal and you want to make something that can please everyone.
Variations & FAQ
- If you are vegetarian and not strickly vegan add some cheese to the top of the stuffed squash before baking.
- If you are not sticky vegan you could also saute the vegetables in butter instead of olive oil for a richer dish.
- You could substitute spinach for kale or leave it out.
- Add your favorite nut instead of walnuts or leave it out to make this nut-free.
- You can use any grain or rice instead of the quinoa wild rice blend. Straight quinoa, rice, wheat berries, or even farro would easily work.
How do you store the stuffed squash?
Store leftover stuffed butternut squash in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Can you use the stuffing for other things?
YES! This stuffing can easily serve as a delicious side dish on its own or stuff it in other vegetables like acorn squash or sweet potato.
Can you make this ahead of time?
The best way to make this dish ahead of time would be to make the stuffing completely. On Thanksgiving (or the day you want to eat it,) cut the squash in half, roast it and add the stuffing. It will seem super fresh this way and no one will know you made it ahead.
How do you reheat the Vegan Stuffed Butternut Squash?
If you make the entire dish ahead of time and want to reheat it for leftovers -that's great! This Vegan Stuffed Butternut Squash makes delicious leftovers. To reheat, cook it for 20-30 minutes in a 350-degree oven or even the microwave.
I hope you loved this delicious Vegan Stuffed Butternut Squash as much as my family does. It's the perfect vegan or plant-based meal for dinner but you'll especially love it at your Thanksgiving or Christmas table. Enjoy!
More Healthy Squash Recipes to Love:
- Healthy Baked Acorn Squash
- Farro, Cranberry, Walnut & Mushroom Stuffed Acorn Squash
- Oven Roasted Butternut Squash
- Crock Pot Butternut Squash Soup
- Maple Rosemary Roasted Delicata Squash
- 4 Ingredient Baked Spaghetti Squash Marinara
Vegan Stuffed Butternut Squash
- 2 butternut squash
- 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
- 1 8.5 ounce quinoa/wild rice microwave packet
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 6 cups kale, chopped
- 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
- ½ lemon, juiced
- ¼ cup walnuts
- ¼ cup dried cranberry
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- pinch garlic salt, optional
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Cut the butternut squash in half according to the directions in the post.
- Put the squash on a baking sheet and sprinkle the flesh with half of the olive oil and generously salt and pepper. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until the squash is tender. Reduce the heat to 375.
- Microwave your rice packet according to the instructions.
- When the squash is almost done cooking add the rest of the olive oil to a large saute pan. Saute the garlic for about 30 seconds before adding the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Saute the mushrooms for about 5 minutes or until tender. Add the kale and squeeze the lemon on top. Season with salt and pepper again AND the thyme and oregano. Saute the kale until it wilts and turns bright green. Pull the mixture off the heat.
- In a large bowl add your rice, kale/mushroom mixture, walnuts and dried cranberries. Check the seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Once the squash is cool enough to touch scoop our the seeds and also enough of the actual squash to make a bowl. You'll want to leave a good amount behind to enjoy with the stuffing.
- Stuff the squash. If you like garlic sprinkle the top with an extra dash of garlic salt.
- Put the butternut squash back in the cooler oven and roast for another 10 minutes.
- Serve immediatly!
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