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This Stuffed Acorn Squash is packed with a hearty veggie filling made from lentils, mushrooms, warm spices and herbs. Enjoy as a fall-inspired side or main dish! Vegan, Gluten-Free, Nut-Free, Soy-Free.
Stuffed Acorn Squash is the cozy and wholesome dish to try this fall and winter. It’s stuffed with a nutritious lentil and rice blend and a mix of flavorful vegetables. Not to mention, it’s naturally vegan and gluten-free without any complicated ingredients.
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A Cozy Autumn-Themed Staple
Stuffed acorn squash was a fall staple in my diet growing up. My mom made the most delicious (and simple!) version with a vegetarian ground “beef”, onions, vegetable broth, and maple syrup! This Stuffed Acorn Squash is packed with a savory “stuffing” instead, making it ideal for holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas yet easy enough for weeknight dinners, too.
What You Need for Stuffed Acorn Squash
This recipe is more involved step-wise, but we still value simplicity here! In addition to acorn squash, you’ll need just 10 simple ingredients to make the “stuffing.” Here are a few of the key ingredients that’ll give you the most bang for your buck in the flavor department:
- Acorn squash: It’s got a creamy, tender flesh and a subtle nutty flavor that compliments the nutrient-dense vegetarian filling. It’s size is also perfect for single servings.
- Mushrooms: A lot of non-vegan stuffed acorn squash recipes include sausage, but this plant-based version is made just as hearty and flavorful with shiitake mushrooms.
- Dried cranberries: Optional, but the salty-sweet combination makes this squash reminiscent of the holidays and adds depth of flavor.
- Lentil and rice blend: Packs in the protein and fiber at a fraction of the cost compared to meat-based recipes. Plus, cooking it in broth makes it perfectly savory and well-spiced.
Note: Although I absolutely love this recipe as written, this recipe is very substitution-friendly. Feel free to make substitutions to suit what’s in your pantry or what you need to use up in the fridge.
How to Make Stuffed Acorn Squash
- Cook the lentils, wild rice blend, and vegetable broth in a small pot until tender.
- Cut each acorn squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Score the flesh of the squash, then place cut-side-up in a dish with ½” water.
- Brush with oil and sprinkle with salt, then roast for 40 minutes.
- Sauté the shallots, celery, garlic, and thyme until translucent. Add mushrooms and tamari and continue cooking. Finally add cranberries and the lentil/rice mixture. Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated.
- Stuff each roasted squash halve with the vegetarian filling and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, or until the squash is golden and fork tender.
- Serve warm with desired toppings.
Caitlin’s Cooking Tips
- Don’t skip scoring your squash. This may seem like an unnecessary step, but it allows the squash to cook through more evenly, and helps it absorb the aromatic flavor from the lentil/rice filling. I promise it is worth it!
- Prep the filling ahead. If you’d like to prepare the full lentil/rice stuffing ahead, feel free to do so! This is a great way to save time for meal prep, easier weeknights or stress-free Thanksgiving dinners.
This stuffed acorn squash can be served as both a main dish or a side dish. I personally love it with Vegan Mushroom Stuffing, Easy Garlic Green Beans, Pumpkin Cornbread Muffins, or Crispy Romesco Smashed Potatoes. You also can’t go wrong with making this stuffed squash your holiday main and serving alongside your favorite vegan Thanksgiving recipes and with a drizzle of Tahini Gravy.
How to Store Stuffed Acorn Squash
This recipe will keep for up to 5 days in the refrigerator and up to 2 months in the freezer. To freeze, allow the acorn squash to cool completely before placing in a freezer safe bag or container, and removing as much excess air as possible.
Reheat leftovers in the microwave, oven, or toaster oven until warmed through. If you are reheating an acorn squash from frozen, bake for 50 to 60 minutes covered at 350F, or until warmed through and tender again.
Substitutions and Variations
- Rice substitutions: 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. You can also substitute the rice with quinoa to make a quinoa stuffed acorn squash. If using quinoa, cook the quinoa and lentils separately for best results and combine in step 3.
- Lentil substitutions: I recommend French lentils as they are firmer than brown lentils and give a nice texture to the filling. If you cannot find French lentils, brown lentils will work, but the filling will be softer.
- Pepitas substitutions: If you do not have pepitas (pumpkin seeds), chopped pecans would work well with the holiday flavors. You could even use my Roasted Rosemary Pecans.
- Mushroom substitutions: Cremini mushrooms are a fine substitute, will be more mild in flavor. If you do not like mushrooms, substitute them with 1-2 chopped vegan-friendly sausages. They will add a similar hearty flavor.
- Vegetable broth substitutions: If you have it, you can use vegan chicken broth or vegan beef broth to cook the lentils and rice blend. Note that these broths are typically saltier, so additional salt to taste may not be needed.
- Acorn squash substitutions: I love acorn squash in this recipe, but you could replace it with another winter squash such as butternut, honeynut, kabocha, or even spaghetti squash for a pasta-inspired dish.
- Add cheese: If you’d like, sprinkle your acorn squash with a bit of vegan shredded cheese before baking.
Although acorn squash has one of the more delicate skins, it can still be difficult to cut in half safely. If you’d like to soften your squash a bit to make it easier to cut through, pierce it a few times with a sharp knife, then microwave for 3 to 5 minutes. This should make it easier to slice, without overcooking it.
Yes. When making stuffed squash, you want to leave the skin on as it acts as a barrier that keeps the filling inside.
Absolutely! The full acorn squash is edible, with the exception of the stem.
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!
Enjoy! If you make this recipe and decide to share it on Facebook or Instagram, don’t forget to tag me @FromMyBowl + #FromMyBowl! I would also love it if you could leave a comment below with a recipe rating! Thank you for the support 😊
Stuffed Acorn Squash with Mushrooms
- 2/3 cup dried French lentils*
- 2/3 cup dry wild rice blend*
- 2 1/3 cups 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 shiitake mushrooms chopped
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon tamari
- 2/3 cup 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 to 5 minutes. Finally, add in the cranberries and lentil/rice mixture; cook down for 1 to 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 to 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.