This stuffed acorn squash recipe is packed with hearty plant-based ingredients like lentils, mushrooms, and warming savory spices. A cozy side or main dish!
Stuffed acorn squash was a fall staple in my diet growing up. My mom made the most delicious (and simple!) version with vegetarian ground “beef”, onions, vegetable broth, and maple syrup! This Vegan Stuffed Acorn Squash with Mushrooms is packed with a savory “stuffing” instead, but just as delicious, thanks to hearty ingredients like mushrooms, shallots, thyme, and garlic.
INGREDIENTS + INSPIRATION
Stuffed squash is a holiday staple around Thanksgiving and Christmas, but my family would have it as a main dish during the “normal” fall and winter days as well! A lot of non-vegan recipes include sausage, so in this plant-based version we’ll use protein and fiber-packed lentils and savory spices to get some hearty texture and delicious flavor.
Acorn squash is the ideal squash to stuff, in my opinion – it has a thin skin so it’s easy to cut, and it’s tender flesh has a creamy texture and subtle nutty flavor! It’s the perfect nutrient-dense complement to our chunky, textural filling.
The “stuffing” for this squash is packed with lentils, a wild rice blend, and lots of flavorful vegetables. I also like to add in some dried cranberries for a nice salty-sweet combination, but you can leave them out if that’s not your thing. I prefer to use shiitake mushrooms in this recipe as they have a heartier texture and flavor to me, but you can use cremini mushrooms in a pinch. Either way, it’s so delicious…I wouldn’t blame you if you ate some by the forkful before stuffing your squash 😉
HOW TO MAKE VEGAN STUFFED SQUASH
This recipe is more involved step-wise, but we still value efficiency here! Thanks to some good ol’ multitasking, you’ll have your delicious acorn squash ready to enjoy in no time at all:
- Cook the rice and lentils together, then score and roast the squash.
- Prepare the squash stuffing by sautéing mushrooms and aromatics with the squash and lentils
- Stuff the squash, then return to the oven and roast until fork-tender
- Top with crunchy pumpkin seeds, then serve and enjoy warm!
Scoring the squash may seem like an extra step, but it allows for more even cooking – and for the flavorful stuffing to permeate into more of the squash! This stuffed acorn squash recipe is hearty enough to serve as a main dish, but can also be used as a veggie-packed side dish as well. If you do enjoy it as a main, I’d recommend serving it with a side salad for some added crunch and texture.
COOKING TIPS + FAQ:
- Substitutions: see the notes for substitutions on rice and lentil varieties! I love acorn squash in this recipe, but you could also replace it with other winter squashes as well – butternut, honeynut, kabocha, or even spaghetti squash would be great choices.
- Make-Ahead: if you’d like to save day-of prep time, you can cook the rice and lentils (or the entire squash filling!) up to 3 days in advance – just store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Roast the squash first, then stuff and roast again, like stated in the instructions.
- Stems: I usually just balance my squash halves on the stem, but if you’d like to you can also cut a small portion of the top and bottom off, to have a flat surface to rest on. Or, cut the squash in half vertically and simply remove the stem!
If you’re looking for more cozy autumn-themed recipes, you’ll also love this Sweet Potato Gratin, this Fall Roasted Vegetable Casserole, and this Slow Cooker Tempeh Pot Roast! Or if you’d like more squash recipes, check out this Butternut Squash and Apple Soup and this Butternut Squash and White Bean Chili! There’s also a slightly different, older version recipe like this on the blog – Maple Roasted Acorn Squash with Rice & Lentil Stuffing.Print
This stuffed acorn squash recipe is packed with hearty plant-based ingredients like lentils, wild rice, mushrooms, and warming savory spices. A cozy and wholesome side or main dish!
- 2/3 cup (150 g) dried French lentils*
- 2/3 cup (130 g) dry wild rice blend*
- 2 1/3 cups (550 mL) vegetable broth
- 3 medium-to-large acorn squash
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for brushing
- 2 shallots, finely diced
- 3–5 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 ribs celery, finely diced
- 6 ounces (170 g) shiitake mushrooms, chopped
- 1 tsp dried Thyme
- 1 tablespoon tamari
- 2/3 cup (86 g) dried cranberries (optional)
- 2 tablespoons pepitas, for garnish
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- Prep: Preheat the oven to 350F and set a 9×13” casserole dish aside. In the meantime, add the lentils, rice blend, and vegetable broth to a small pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover once boiling, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 45 minutes. This can be done up to 3 days ahead of time, if you would like to plan ahead.
- Roast the Squash: Cut each acorn squash in half and use a spoon to scoop out and discard the seeds. Use a knife to carefully score the squash, then place each half cut-side-up in the baking dish. Fill the bottom of the baking tray with 1/2” water, which will help steam the squash in the oven. Brush each squash with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt, then place in the oven to bake for 40 minutes.
- Prep the Filling: warm 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the shallot and sauté for 3 minutes, until translucent. Then, add in the celery, garlic, and thyme. Sauté for an additional minute, then add in the mushrooms and tamari and sauté for 3-5 minutes. Finally, add in the cranberries and lentil/rice mixture; cook down for 1-2 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated from the pan.
- Roast: once the squash have cooked, remove from the oven and increase the temperature to 375F. Evenly divide the lentil “stuffing” among each squash, then return to the oven to bake for an additional 20-25 minutes, until the squash is golden and tender.
- Serve: Serve warm, topped with pumpkin seeds and black pepper and thyme, if desired. Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, and can be reheated in the microwave, oven, or toaster oven.
- Lentils: French lentils are firmer than brown lentils and give a nice texture to the filling. If you cannot find them you can use brown lentils instead, but the filling will be softer.
- Rice: I used a wild rice blend from my grocery store, but you can also make your own by blending 1/2 cup of brown rice with 3 1/2 tablespoons of wild rice.
- Stems: I usually just balance my squash halves on the stem, but if you’d like to you can also cut a small portion of the top and bottom off, to have a flat surface to rest on.