A show-stopping fall meal that is perfect for a weeknight family dinner and for serving up as a Thanksgiving centerpiece. This stuffed acorn squash combines the best flavors of autumn and is drizzled with a flavor-filled tahini sauce that will wow your guests.
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Allow me to introduce to your new favorite Thanksgiving main dish. Have you ever seen a better vegetable for stuffing than the humble acorn squash? Each hollow half makes an ideal vessel for an aromatic rice pilaf studded with sweet-tart dried cranberries and savory roasted Brussels sprouts.
No gravy need apply when you can lavish it with a generous pour of rich and creamy tahini sauce, too. Stuffed acorn squash with wild rice are perfect for a festive meal to celebrate the fall harvest with friends or family. So grab your favorite holiday dinnerware and let’s dig in to this delicious vegan stuffed squash!
Whether you have a dining room full of omnivores or herbivores, more people than ever are looking for meatless entrees all year round. There’s no need to make a direct turkey replacement when you can make a much more compelling alternate out of whole, fresh ingredients.
Affordable – It’s tough sticking to a budget around the holidays, but this is one entrée that won’t break the bank. Seasonal produce is always most affordable at the peak of harvest, and many of the dry staples can be purchased in bulk for greater savings.
Great Source of Protein – Where do you get your protein? Believe it or not, raw wild rice has a whopping 24 grams of protein per cup!
Low-Fat – Only minute amounts of heart-healthy olive oil are needed to prepare each component, and you could easily scale back or omit it entirely if needed.
Gluten-Free – Most store-bought meatless roasts are made from seitan, which is pure wheat gluten and an obvious nonstarter for anyone with celiac disease or a wheat sensitivity.
Make Ahead – Like all the best Thanksgiving dishes, stuffed acorn squash are rock stars for prepping in advance and waiting patiently until their solo arrives. Bake and stuff them as written, cover the casserole dish with foil, and simply reheat in a 350-degree oven for 10 – 20 minutes when the party begins.
Ingredient Substitutions and Suggestions
The real beauty of this recipe is that the formula can be applied to a wide range of alternative ingredients, allowing you to easily adapt it to fit any dietary restrictions or personal taste preferences.
Acorn Squash – There are plenty of squash in the field that are excellent candidates for stuffing. Consider delicata, butternut, sugar pumpkins, and kabocha, just for starters.
Brussels Sprouts – Can’t stand sprouts? Don’t worry, there are other ways to get in a healthy, tasty serving of green vegetables. Broccoli is your best bet in this recipe.
Vegetable Broth – If you run out of broth in the middle of the process, don’t panic. You can always just use plain water instead. On the other hand, if you want to fancy things up a bit, you can cut half of the amount with dry white wine.
Wild Rice – What’s your favorite whole grain? I like to use a wild rice blend to vary the texture and flavor, but you can focus in on any single variety you prefer, such as quinoa, farro, brown rice, etc.
Dried Cranberries – When you’re feeling fruity, there’s no limit to how you can sweeten this mix! Golden raisins would be the closest substitute to the original ingredient, but a bold new world of flavor awaits if you want to try using chopped dried apricots, pineapple, dates, or currants instead.
Pepitas – Anything with a bit of crunchy contrast is welcome if you don’t have pepitas handy. Toasted pine nuts or slivered almonds would be ideal.
Tahini – It may sound unconventional but hear me out: creamy peanut butter is an excellent stand-in for tahini. It has a stronger nutty flavor but is delicious in its own way.
How to Serve Up Your Vegan Stuffed Acorn Squash
Each serving is easily a complete meal all in one, but you can turn it into a true feast with a few simple sides:
Salad goes with anything! A nice light, leafy foil to this substantial entrée would balance out the dinner beautifully.
Mashed potatoes are always welcome on my table, no matter the time or season.
Cranberry sauce would harmonize perfectly with the dried cranberries in the stuffing, bringing those bright, tart, and tangy notes to the fore.
Don’t forget to leave room for dessert! Pumpkin pie or pecan pie are classic sweet endings, but to keep things a bit lighter, a simple scoop of vegan ice cream is always a refreshing last bite.
Health Benefits of Acorn Squash
The main reason to eat acorn squash is obvious: It’s delicious! Beyond that great taste, it offers a whole score of real health benefits to enjoy, too.
Boost Immunity – Vitamin C, everyone’s favorite supplement to prevent winter sickness, is readily available in this convenient (and much tastier) package.
Improve Eyesight – Carrots aren’t the only orange vegetable that can make this claim! High levels of Vitamin A and beta-carotene have been directly linked to reducing free radicals found in the eyes, which means it can help prevent cataracts and macular degeneration.
Build Strong Bones – Forget about dairy milk; acorn squash contains serious dose of calcium, in addition to manganese, magnesium, copper, iron, and phosphorous. These minerals work together in concern to form a stronger skeletal system than any one can alone.
Get Regular – Acorn squash is an excellent source of dietary fiber that can help regulate digestion. This does the opposite of your traditionally heavy, fatty Thanksgiving meal, by reducing or eliminate constipation, diarrhea, cramping, and bloating.
Fun Facts About Acorn Squash
Squash is one of the oldest known crops; 10,000 years by some estimates, originating in Mexico. Beyond being a staple food source, the hard shells likely served as containers or utensils.
Early pilgrims settling in New England were not initially interested in consuming the squash grown by Native Americans until they had to survive the harsh winter. From that point forward, squash and pumpkins became indispensable staples.
Whole acorn squash can last for 2-3 months if stored at about 50 degrees. Any colder and it will start to break down, so keep it out of the fridge until it’s cut.
If you run out of pumpkin puree, you can use roasted vegan acorn squash blended until smooth instead.
Whether served as a centerpiece or a side, this stuffed acorn squash with wild rice is the perfect fall dish. The sweet and comforting squash pairs wonderfully with the rice and is great for anyone who’s not a fan of meat alternatives during the holidays!
½+ ⅓ cup of vegetable broth, or bouillon and water
½cupof wild rice medley, or your choice of grain—quinoa, farro, brown rice, etc. *Note: each rice medley has different cooking times and instructions, so please adjust liquid amount and cooking time to fit with your grain choice)
1tablespoonof olive oil
⅓cupof sliced green onion
3large cloves of garlic, minced
½rib of celery, thinly sliced
1stem of fresh rosemary, minced
2tablespoonsof raw pepitas, hulled pumpkin seeds
pomegranate seeds, optional
1½tablespoonsof lemon juice
1garlic clove, very finely minced and crushed
two generous pinches of salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Wash acorn squash, slice in half lengthwise with a sharp knife, and remove the seeds and stingy part by scraping a spoon against the seed filled area until it’s clean. Drizzle with a little bit of olive oil and use your hands to spread it evenly around the acorn squash flesh. Place facedown on a large baking dish.
Wash and prepare the Brussels sprouts by slicing off any brown parts on the stem to leave a fresh cut and cutting each Brussel sprout in half lengthwise. Place them in a medium bowl and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper to coat. Spread them evenly on the pan with the acorn squash, and bake everything together for 40 minutes.
In a medium pot, bring vegetable broth to a boil. Add the wild rice medley, cover, reduce heat to low, and allow to simmer covered for 35 minutes. At 35 minutes turn off heat, keep covered, and allow to steam for an additional 10 minutes covered. Once done, uncover, fluff, and set aside.
Once the squash, Brussels sprouts, and wild rice are finished cooking, prepare the pilaf. In a large saute pan add 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the green onion, followed by the garlic and celery. Allow to cook for a couple minutes and then add the rosemary, cranberries, and pepitas and cook for a couple minutes. Then add in the cooked wild rice and Brussels sprouts and mix together, allowing to cook until heated through.
Spoon the hot rice pilaf mixture into the roasted acorn squash, dividing it evenly among all four.
Prepare your tahini sauce. In a small bowl add the tahini and lemon juice and mix well. Add the water, garlic, and salt and continue to mix until the creamy mixture thickens a bit. Drizzle generously over the acorn squash and enjoy!
If you don’t have a wild rice medley you can make your own mixture of wild rice plus brown rice, or you can use any other grain. Simply cook your favorite grain according to package instructions, using vegetable broth instead of water for more flavor.
If you try this recipe for vegan stuffed squash, let us know what you think by leaving a comment and rating below! Be sure to follow along on Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook for even more vegan recipe inspiration.
This vegan stuffed acorn squash recipe was created and photographed by Michelle Cehn. We’d love to hear what you think in the comments below! Please note that this article may contain affiliate links which supports our work at World of Vegan.
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