Do you like roasted butternut squash? Then you'll LOVE this vegan stuffed butternut squash served with a vibrant parsley chimichurri. The stuffing is made from rice, walnuts and veggies. It's seasoned with poultry seasoning and somewhat reminds us of turkey but without the meat. It's a spectacular vegetarian Christmas main dish if you're hosting a dinner during the holidays. Discover more Christmas dinner recipes here.
Why you'll love this recipe
- It's an eye-catching centerpiece to add to your vegan Thanksgiving or Christmas table.
- The recipe is pretty simple. Don't let the total time scare you. Preparing this rice stuffed butternut squash recipe is definitely a little work but what takes the most time is roasting the squash. However, if you want an even simpler recipe that tastes just as good, try our beloved vegan Christmas nut roast.
- You can make it ahead of time and store the whole, cooked stuffed squash in the fridge for 2 days before serving it.
- It's allergen-friendly, gluten-freee, dairy-free and can easiliy be made nut feee (see ingredients and substitutions below).
- It reheats beautifully and makes great left-overs.
Key ingredients and substitutions
Butternut squash: we like to use medium-sized butternut squashes that can hold enough stuffing to make 2 servings (1 stuffed butternut squash boat equals 1 serving). Another plus is that medium-sized squshes are mostly completely cooked in less than 1 hour.
Rice: by using rice for this recipe, we're able to make vegan stuffing without meat that still has some texture. The rice is cooked in vegetable broth to intensify its flavor. You could also use other grains such as millet or quinoa (note that you might need less vegetable broth) or even lentils (only use ½ cup broth).
Walnuts add some crunch to the filling. Use the same amount of sunflower seeds to make it nut-free.
Veggies: onions, carrots, celery are the base of the stuffing because add a ton of flavor.
Seasoning: we chose poultry seasoning to season the rice and like to garnish the final roasted squash with fresh sage.
Start by roasting the squash as this takes the longest. While the butternut squash is roasting, prepare the chimichurri first and then make the rice filling. You want to end with the stuffing because you'll add the butternut squash flesh to the pan once you scooped it out of the roasted squash.
Step-by-step with with pictures
How to roast butternut squash
How to cut butternut squash. Cut the squash lengthwise in half by inserting your knife at the tip and pushing it down towards the base. Scoop out the seeds with a fork. Then, score the center at about 0,5 inches deep (make sure not to score the edges).
Roast the butternut squash. Rub the cut side of the butternut squash with oil (you can use olive oil, avocado oil or coconut oil). Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and coconut sugar for a light caramelization that pairs really well with the chimichurri.
Check doneness. Make sure the butternut squash is done by piercing it with a knife or a fork. The thicker parts in particular should be tender. It's better for the squash to be really tender than a little too firm.
Prepare the butternut squash boats. When perfectly baked, let the squash cool down until you can touch it with your hands (at least 15 minutes). Place it cut-side up and scoop out the flesh (see pictures). Leave about 0,5 inches (1 large centimeter) of flesh on the edges. Finely chop the butternut squash flesh that you'll add to the vegan rice stuffing (it's almost like butternut squash puree).
How to make chimichurri
Prepare the ingredients. Start by washing the parsley and removing large stems. If using a whole chili, cut it in half and remove the seeds (leave some of the seeds if you like it spicy).
Make the chimichurri. Use a food processor to make the chimichurri in no time. Add the parsley, garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar, chili, oregano and salt to the bowl of your food processor. Pulse several times until everything is chopped and combined.
If you don't have a food processor, finely chop the parsley, garlic and chili with a knife and combine with the other ingredients in a small bowl.
How to make butternut squash filling
Chop the veggies. Peel the carrots and the onion. Wash the celery sticks. Finely mince the vegetables with a sharp knife or in a food processor/food chopper. We used a food processor with an S-blade to save time.
Sauté the veggies. Heat a large pan or skillet with your preferred cooking oil. Add the onion and the veggies and sauté over medium-high heat for 5 minutes until colored. Stir continuously to prevent burning. This vegetable mix adds tons of flavor to the stuffing.
Cook the rice. Add the rice to the pan with the veggies and sauté it for several minutes. It should get translucent. Then, cover with the vegetable broth. Season with poultry seasoning (don't add salt yet as your broth might be salty enough). Cover with a lid and cook the rice (over medium heat) for 20 minutes or according to the time indicated on the package.
Adjust seasoning. Once the rice is almost cooked and the broth has been absorbed, add the crushed walnuts and butternut squash flesh (that you scooped out of the roasted butternut squash). Finally, do a taste test and adjust the seasoning. Add a little salt and more poultry seasoning if necessary.
How to make vegan stuffed butternut squash
Assemble the roasted butternut squash boats and the filling. Take your prepared butternut squash boats. Tightly pack the boats with stuffing. Serve right away or cover the baking sheet with foil and store the stuffed squash in the fridge.
Baked stuffed butternut squash tastes delicious with roasted veggies, such as maple-roasted Brussels sprouts or roasted Jerusalem artichokes. Our absolute favorite side dish is caesar roasted Brussels sprouts. You can also serve it mashed potatoes or crispy potatoes.
If you have leftovers, you can store them in an air-tight container (or on a baking sheet covered with foil) in the fridge for 2 to 3 days.
Yes, you can totally make the roasted stuffed squash up to 48 hours ahead of time. Once it's cooked, let it cool down and cover it with foil. Store it in the fridge.
Reheat the stuffed butternut squash in the preheated oven at 350°F (180°C) for 10 to 12 minutes. You can also reheat the stuffed butternut squash boats in the microwave (one at a time).
Stuffed butternut squash can difficultly be frozen. Preferably eat everything right away and store leftovers in the fridge for 2-3 days. You can however freeze the stuffing for up to 3 months.
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Vegan Stuffed Butternut Squash with Rice
For the roasted butternut squash
- 1 medium butternut squash
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil or coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon coconut sugar or brown sugar
For the stuffing
- 1 small onion
- 1 carrot
- 2 celery sticks
- ⅔ cup whole grain rice cooking time of 20 minutes
- 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 1 ½ cup vegetable broth
- ½ cup crushed walnuts
- 2 handfuls dried cranberries
For the chimichurri
- 1 cup parsley
- 1-2 cloves of garlic more to taste
- ⅓ cup virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- 1 mild red chili or ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon salt
Roast the butternut squash
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
- Cut the butternut squash in half. Rub the cut side with a little oil and coconut sugar (see step-by-step pictures in post above). Place the butternut squash on a baking sheet cut-side down.
- Roast for 45 minutes. Prick the squash with a fork. When it is done if the squash is soft and the fork should slide right through. If it's not done, roast it for 5-15 more minutes depending on its size.
Prepare the vegan stuffing
- Peel the onion and the carrots. Wash the celery. Finely mince the onion, carrots and celery with a sharp knife or in a food chopper.
- Heat a pan or skillet with olive oil. When hot, sauté the vegetables for 5 minutes over high heat while stirring continuously.
- Reduce to medium heat. Add the rice and poultry seasoning. Sauté for 2 minutes. Pour the vegetable broth into the pan, cover with a lid and simmer for 20 minutes (or according to the cooking time of your rice).
- When the broth is absorbed, add the walnuts, butternut squash flesh and cranberries. Give it a good mix. Adjust seasoning if necessary.
Assemble the stuffed butternut squash
- Remove the seeds from the butternut squash with a spoon. Scoop out the remaining flesh, leaving about 1-inch on the sides (see step-by-step- pictures).
- Chop the flesh very finely and add it to the stuffing.
- Tightly pack the butternut squash boats with stuffing. They should be heaping full.
- Shortly before serving, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Reheat the stuffed butternut squash for 10 to 12 minutes until warm. Serve with the chimichurri.
- Make the recipe in the following order: roast the butternut squash, make the chimichurri, make the rice stuffing. You want to end with the stuffing because you'll add the butternut squash flesh once you scooped it out of the roasted squash.
- One stuffed butternut squash boat equals one serving.
More vegan christmas recipes
If you need more vegan Christmas dinner ideas (appetizers, starter, main dishes, sides dishes and desserts), check out our favorite Christmas recipes. This post also includes 2 full menus to make during the holidays.
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