Healthy vegan stuffed acorn squash with lentils, wild rice, mushrooms, cranberries and walnuts. These lentil and wild rice stuffed acorn squash make for a protein-packed entree or side dish. A delicious plant-based addition to a holiday meal.
When it comes to warm and cozy meals, I try to balance between a hearty and satisfying without being heavy. A feel-good recipe that’s equally as comforting as it is energizing. These stuffed acorn squash may be one of my favorite meals that ticks all of those boxes. They make for a comforting weeknight meal but can also hold there own as a vegetarian main or or side dish at your holiday table.
These vegan stuffed acorn squash make for a balanced plant-based meal thanks to the protein-packed wild rice and lentil mixture that gets nestled in the center of a perfectly roasted acorn squash. The savory blend of wild rice, lentils and mushrooms is studded with dried cranberries and walnuts for a little sweetness and crunch. Add in a few handfuls of spinach because, why not?! It’s a great way to sneak in some extra greens, especially when the colder weather makes leafy green salad less appealing. Whether you’re looking for a nutritious weeknight meal or a show-stopping holiday dish, these stuffed acorn squash will not disappoint.
Vegan Stuffed Acorn Squash Ingredients
Here’s the ingredients you’ll need to make this stuffed squash recipe. I’ve also included a few ingredient substitutions that will work great.
- Acorn squash – look for smaller acorn squash as they make so the perfect single serving vessel to hold the wild rice and lentil stuffing mixture. Also, try to choose similar sized squash so they cook evenly in the oven.
- Wild rice blend – a wild rice blend, wild rice, or another rice or grain of choice will work lovely here. Just be mindful of the cooking time. If you choose a partially cooked grain, cook it separate from the lentils. Frozen pre-cook rice works for a time-saving option.
- Lentils – this hearty plant-based protein amps up the protein of the dish, making it a balanced entree. I recommend black or brown lentils for this recipe. You can also you steamed or canned lentils to cut down on cooking time.
- Mushrooms – adds a punch of savory umami flavor. Any mushroom variety will do. I used crimini (baby bella) here.
- Spinach – a few handfuls of spinach wilts into also nothing but it’s a great way to add in a boost of nutrients. Baby kale, chopped kale, chard or another hearty green will work.
- Onion + garlic – a necessary flavor component. Feel free to substitute with shallots. If you don’t have fresh garlic on hand, add ½ – 1 teaspoon of garlic powder.
- Thyme + Sage – a classic savory blend that will have your house smelling like Thanksgiving. Fresh or dried work well in this recipe.
- Tamari – adds a salty depth of flavor. I recommend low-sodium tamari. Feel free to use soy sauce, liquid aminos or coconut aminos.
- Walnuts – a welcomed crunch and boost of nutrition. Walnuts are a great source of plant-based heart healthy omega-3s. Pecans, almonds, pistachios would all taste delicious.
- Dried Cranberries – add little pops of sweetness that help balance out the savory dish. Golden raisins, chopped dried figs, or chopped dates would works as substitutions.
How to roast acorn squash
- Preheat oven. Set the oven temp to 400F. Use the convection if possible. The high heat helps the squash cook quickly while caramelizing the natural sugars in the squash. Prep a baking sheet with parchment, silicone mat or aluminum foil lightly greased with oil .
- Cut the squash. Carefully slice the squash in half horizontally so that the steam and bottom of the squash are the two ends. I like cutting the steam and bottom slightly so that squash will sit flat once cooked.
- Roast in the oven. Brush the squash halves lightly with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the acorn squash cut side down on baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 30-45 minutes, until fork tender.
Use precooked lentils and rice. Take advantage of precooked lentils and rice to cut down on cooking time. This is especially helpfully for weeknight cooking. Using pre-cooked lentils and wild rice will save you a step. You can find frozen brown rice or Ancient Grain Mix as well as steamed or canned lentils at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. There’s also options for quick cooking wild rice in the rice aisle of most grocery store. Heat the rice according to the package instructions and drain and rinse the lentils before using.
Prep ahead and reheat. You can make the squash and lentil and wild rice stuffing a day ahead of time. Once ready to serve, simply assemble and reheat in the oven at 350F for 15-20 minutes or until warm. This is a great option for meal prep or if you have a busy week.
HOw to Store and Reheat:
- Refrigerator: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5 days. You can store the squash fully assembled or store the squash and wild rice and lentil mixture separately.
- Freezer: These stuffed squash can be frozen. Store in the freezer 3 months. Use freezer safe containers or bags. You can store the squash fully assembled or store the squash and wild rice and lentil mixture separately. Let thaw before reheating.
- Reheat: Re-warm stuffed squash in the oven at 350F for 15-20 minutes or until warm through. You can also warm them in the microwave for about 2 minutes. Make sure to check for doneness every 30 seconds after 1 minute.
More Cozy Vegetarian Recipes:
Lentil & Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash
Healthy vegan stuffed acorn squash with lentils, wild rice, mushrooms, cranberries and walnuts. These stuffed acorn squash make for a protein-packed entree or side dish. A delicious plant-based addition to a holiday meal.
- Prep Time: 15 min
- Cook Time: 35 min
- Total Time: 50 minutes
- Yield: 4-6 servings
For the Squash:
2-3 acorn squash
2 teaspoons avocado oil
Salt and pepper to salt
For the Lentil & Wild Rice Stuffing:
½ cup dry wild rice blend, (see notes)
½ cup dry brown or lentils, (see notes)
1 tablespoon avocado oil
½ medium yellow onion, finely diced
8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 ½ teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried sage
2 cups fresh spinach
⅓ cup dried cranberries (can sub raisins or golden raisins)
½ cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
sea salt and fresh cracked pepper, to taste
Cook the rice and lentils. If using dried lentils and dry wild rice, place 3 cups of water in a medium pot. Add the rice and lentils. Bring to a boil. Cover and let cook for 35 minutes. Starin any excess water and fluff with a fork. If using pre-cooked rice and lentils, skip this step. Simply drain and rinse and lentils and follow the package instructions to heat the rice.
Prepare the Squash: Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Cut the acorn squash in half and remove the seeds. Lightly coat with avocado oil and season with salt. Place cut-side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for about 35-40 minutes, or until the squash is pierced easily with a fork.
Make the Stuffing: Meanwhile, make the filling. Heat the oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper and saute until browned; 5 to 10 minutes. Add the minced garlic, tamari and spices; cook for one more minute. Stir in the cooked wild rice and lentils, spinach, nuts and dried cranberries. Stir to wilt the spinach and warm the rice and lentils. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
Assemble the Squash. Once the squash is finished roasting, remove the acorn squash halves from the oven and fill each with the wild rice mixture. You may have some leftover rice and lentil mixture depending on how many squash you cook. Serve immediately.
How to Store: Leftover roasted squash and wild rice can be stored separately or stored fully prepared in airtight containers for up to 5 days. To reheat in the oven at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until warmed.
Time-saving tip: Use pre-cooked lentils and wild rice to save you a step. You can find frozen brown rice or Ancient Grain Mix as well as steamed or canned lentils at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. Heat the rice according to the package instructions and drain and rinse the lentils before using.
Make ahead instructions: You can make the squash and lentil & wild rice stuffing a day ahead of time. Once ready to serve, simply assemble and reheat in the oven at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until warm.