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This Savory Vegan Stuffed Acorn Squash recipe was inspired by the famous Vegducken recipe. One of my favorite cooking sites, the fabulous Epicurious, launched that recipe in 2015 as a vegetarian Thanksgiving main course alternative. When I saw that dish for the first time (and all over Twitter), I found it so intriguing. I’ve followed a pescetarian dietary pattern during most of my life (I don’t think I can achieve veganism since I love dairy too much!). Thus, Thanksgiving for me doesn’t really include a main course. That’s never really bothered me. I’ve made do with the sides and it’s been good enough for me. I guess that’s why I never tried to make a vegetarian/ vegan friendly main entree before. 🤷♀️
During the past few years, my husband has officially hosted the family’s Thanksgiving dinner. Usually, we order the main meal from someone’s catering services, some of the family members bring a side dish, and I take care of dessert. Just like Blair in Gossip Girl (which I’ve seen a thousand times and I’m not ashamed of this!), for me there’s no Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie.
Anyway, this year, I decided to prepare a main entree for our vegetarian and vegan guests (like my sister-in-law from The Curvy Edit, in case you’re really interested in learning how to prepare vegan food), and for myself as well. I researched a couple of recipe options, while also discovering that here in Puerto Rico it ‘s kind of hard to find butternut squash for the Vegducken recipe. I did find acorn squash, and that’s when I decided to make this healthy Vegan Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe . And, not to toot my own horn or anything, but it was so tasty that even my husband (a hardcore carnivore who doesn’t eat vegetables except under threat), asked for seconds! It’ s filled with so much savory flavor from the sautéed onions, celery, mushrooms, and warm spices.
So now, let’s dive right in and learn how to prepare this impressive vegan dish, perfect for celebrating a plant based Thanksgiving.
How to prepare the Savory Vegan Stuffed Acorn Squash recipe
I’m gonna be honest with you: this recipe is not difficult, but it does take a little time to prepare. In case you’re short on time, you can prepare the filling in advance and store it in the fridge. Then it’s just a matter of roasting the squash, stuffing it and done! A delicious and Instagram ready savory acorn squash recipe. 😉
How to roast the acorn squash
I recommend starting out this recipe with the acorn squash, since you can prepare the stuffing while it’s roasting. For this particular recipe, I used a medium-sized acorn squash, but you can use any type of squash you have available. If its skin is on the thicker side, then cooking time will increase somewhat.
Preheat the oven to 400° F. Make sure to wash the squash well, especially if you’re like me and like eating the skin. I like to use a veggie wash like this one, which not only removes visible soil, but also any waxes and chemicals present in fresh fruits and vegetables.
Buy it Here: Fruit and Veggie Wash
Then, with a good, sharp knife, cut the squash lengthwise, from top to bottom. Remove the seeds (you can save and roast them later!) and stringy bits, and pierce the insides of the squash with a fork.
In a small bowl, mix 2 Tbsp of olive oil with 3 cloves of minced garlic, onion powder, plus salt and pepper to taste. With a basting brush, brush this mixture throughout the inside of the acorn squash, and on the peel as well. As a Puerto Rican worth her salt, I love well seasoned food, and I prepared this squash “pavochón” style: seasoned all over!
Buy it Here: Basting brush
Once thoroughly seasoned, place the acorn squash halves in an oiled baking dish, and roast during 40-60 minutes, or until the squash is tender. Remove from the oven and spoon stuffing into each half.
How to prepare the wild rice stuffing
While the squash is roasting, start preparing the stuffing. I made this vegan stuffed acorn squash with a wild rice blend for this recipe since I love its texture. It also goes really well with the roasted acorn squash’s flavor and texture. And did you know that wild rice is not really rice, but a grass species?
Buy it Here: Wild Rice Blend
Start by boiling, over medium heat, the vegetable broth along with the rosemary sprigs. Add the wild rice and stir well. Once it’s boiling, cover the pot, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the liquid has mostly evaporated and the rice is tender.
In a pan, heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. Saute the mushrooms, taking care not to crowd them, and keep them in a single layer. I always remember that scene from the movie Julie & Julia, when Julie is explaining that if this happens, the mushrooms won’t brown (and it’s true!). Cook for about 1 minute on one side, flip them, and cook for 2-3 more minutes. When they are nicely browned, remove them from the pan and place them in a separate bowl.
Tip: Do not wash mushrooms by immersing them in water. Clean them with a paper towel moistened with water or veggie wash. Mushrooms should be kept as dry as possible in order to brown well. That’s also why salt should not be added to mushrooms while cooking, either. Salt draws out moisture from the mushrooms and they end up steamed, not browned.
In the same pan, saute the onion and celery until tender, for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and add the vegetables to the mushrooms in the bowl.
Once the wild rice is ready, remove the rosemary sprigs (you can leave the leaves in) and mix it with the vegetables in the bowl. Add the thyme, plus salt and black pepper to taste. Combine all these ingredients well. We’re almost done!
Assembling and serving
As soon as the squash is fully cooked, fill each half with the wild rice and vegetable stuffing. Sprinkle sliced almonds on top, and decorate with rosemary sprigs. You can also roast the squash seeds in the oven and use them instead of almonds (or together with the almonds if you want a bigger crunch factor). Serve the squash portions with a bit of vegan gravy, since once again, for me it’s just not Thanksgiving without gravy either!
When presenting this recipe at the dinner table, I love using this serving platter. It’s simple design goes with any decorating scheme, and any holiday as well. Score!
Buy it here: Serving Platter
Savory Vegan Stuffed Acorn Squash Recipe
- 1 medium sized acorn squash
- 4 Tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- 6 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- 1 cup white onion, chopped
- 1 cup fresh mushrooms, chopped
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 1 cup wild rice blend, uncooked
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
- ¼ tsp dried thyme
- ½ tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp salt, or to taste
- ground black pepper, to taste
- ¼ cup sliced almonds optional
- Preheat the oven to 400°F
- Wash the acorn squash well, and cut it lengthwise (from top to bottom)
- In a small bowl, mix 2 Tbsp of olive oil with 3 garlic cloves, onion powder, and salt and pepper to taste
- Using a fork, pierce the inside part of both acorn squash halves.
- With a basting brush, brush the olive oil mix all over the inside and outside of the squash halves
- Roast for 40-60 minutes, or until squash is fully cooked and tender
- While the squash is roasting, prepare the stuffing. On medium heat, boil together the vegetable broth, rosemary sprigs and wild rice.
- Once boiling, set heat to low, cover the pot and simmer for around 30 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated and the rice is cooked
- Heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a pan on medium heat, and saute the mushrooms. Be careful not to crowd them, keeping them in a single layer. Saute one side during 1 minute, flip, and cook for 2-3 minutes more, until nicely browned. Remove from heat and place in a separate bowl
- In the same pan, saute the onion and celery until tender, around 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, around 1 minute
- Remove from heat and add the vegetables to the bowl with the mushrooms. Add the thyme, salt and pepper and mix well
- Once the wild rice is ready, remove the rosemary stems (leave the leaves) and add it to the vegetables in the bowl. Combine well
- As soon as the acorn squash is fully cooked, stuff each half with the wild rice and vegetable stuffing. Sprinkle with sliced almonds and decorate with rosemary sprigs
As you can see, this savory stuffed acorn squash recipe is also rich in nutrients, fiber and antioxidants, because all its ingredients are plant based. Who said you can’t eat healthy during the holiday season?
And now, what do you think about this vegan stuffed acorn squash recipe? Would you consider it for Thanksgiving, or for a Meatless Monday? Which is your favorite Thanksgiving dish? Let me know below in the comments section.
Hi! I’m Melissa, Registered Dietitian and mother of two dragons. When I’m not talking nutrition you can find me rolling around the floor with my kids, sewing, crafting, cooking or missing the 90s (seriously, music just isn’t the same). Read More…