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This vegan Stuffed Butternut Squash is an all-in-one meal that is hearty and bursting with flavors. The stuffing is filled with savory vegan sausage, rice, crisp apples, tart cranberries, and warm fall spices. It's a beautiful main dish which also makes it perfect for a holiday dinner.
If you're looking for something different to serve for your holiday dinner, you may want to give this Stuffed Butternut Squash a try. It's a definite crowd-pleaser and really quite easy to make.
Plus, it's super filling and you can serve it alone or with a delicious fall-inspired salad. It pairs well with a nice chardonnay, too!
This recipe is somewhat similar to my Stuffed Acorn Squash except it calls for rice instead of quinoa and vegan sausage instead of mushrooms. And of course, it calls for butternut squash instead of acorn squash.
- Butternut Squash - Choose one that has matte, medium-dark beige skin. If it's too pale, shiny, or has green streaks in it, it's likely that the squash was picked too early and it may taste bland. In this Taste of Home article, you can find more tips on how to pick the best butternut squash.
- Onion - I used yellow onion but you can also use shallots.
- Celery - if you don't like celery, you can use leeks, green bell pepper, or carrots. The flavor will vary but it will still be delish!
- Apple - this adds a subtly sweet and tart flavor. I recommend using one that will hold up well during cooking such as honey crisp, granny smith, pink lady, braeburn, or northern spy.
- Garlic - fresh is best hear, but 1 teaspoon of granulated garlic will work too.
- Vegan Sausage - I highly recommend using Field Roast Apple + Sage vegan sausage. The fall-style flavors really complement the dish.
- Herbs + Spices - ground sage, dried thyme, rosemary, and cinnamon. Feel free to change it up here.
- Rice - I used jasmine, but basmati or long-grain white rice can also be used. I wouldn't use one that takes longer than 20 minutes to cook. You can use wild rice, but I would cook it separately in the broth (omit the broth from the filling).
- White Wine - this deglazes the pans and adds a nice depth of flavor, but it's optional. You don't need to replace it with anything, just skip the step. I love Bogle chardonnay and use it for most of my cooking (and sipping). It's inexpensive, delicious, and vegan, too!
- Vegetable Broth - I recommend Better Than Bouillon broth because it adds tons of savory flavor to most dishes. I use the low-sodium one.
- Kale - this adds a nice flavor and beautiful color. I prefer dino kale, but you can use any type.
- Dried Cranberries - add a subtly sweet and tart flavor. I highly recommend these! You can use sweetened or unsweetened.
How to roast butternut squash
I like to prep the squash first and pop it in the oven and then prep everything else while it's roasting. Here's how to do it:
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the membranes and seeds inside of the squash and discard.
- Brush the inside of each piece with oil and sprinkle with salt. Place on a rimmed baking sheet, cut side down. Roast the squash for 30 minutes. Now flip over to cut side up and roast for another 20-30 minutes or until tender. Reduce heat to 375 F.
- Scoop out some of the flesh, using a spoon, leaving a ¾-inch-thick border around the sides and a 1-inch border along the bottom. Chop into small bite-sized pieces.
How to make the filling for stuffed butternut squash
The stuffed butternut squash filling is made all in one pan and comes together easily. Here's how to do it:
- Heat oil over medium heat in a large pan, then add the onion, celery, and apples. Sauté until softened.
- Add the garlic, and sauté until fragrant.
- Make a well in the middle and add the sausage and cook for a few minutes until golden.
- Stir in the rice and sauté for 30-60 seconds. Now add the sage, thyme, cinnamon, and rosemary and sauté for 30-60 seconds until fragrant. Pour in the white wine and cook until it has reduced fully.
- Stir in the broth, salt, and pepper. Raise heat to get things simmering, then cover and reduce heat to gently simmer for 15-20 minutes until rice is tender.
- Remove pan from heat and stir in kale and cranberries. Cover for a few minutes until the kale slightly wilts. Remove the lid and taste for seasoning and add more if needed. Add the squash piece and toss to combine.
- Stuff the filling into the squash halves. If it's warm enough, you can serve it now or place the stuffed squash back into the oven for another 10-15 minutes to warm throughout.
Here are some tips to make this recipe even easier to make:
- To save time, prepare the butternut squash first and place it in the oven before you start prepping everything else, then do the chopping while it's roasting. Prepping should take about 10-15 minutes.
- I recommend cooking the filling about 25- 30 minutes after the squash goes in the oven so it's not sitting around too long. Also, you won't need to reheat it that long when it's stuffed in the squash.
- If you can't find a large 3-4 pound squash, you can use 2 medium ones. If you use smaller ones, the cooking time will likely decrease. Also, you may have filling left over, you can serve it on the side or store it in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Make Ahead + Storing
- Make Ahead - you can make the filling and stuff the roasted squash up to 2 days ahead. Just skip the last step of putting everything together in the oven to heat. Let everything cool and wrap it in foil and place it in the fridge. You can also store the filling and roasted squash separately if preferred.
- To reheat, keep the squash in the foil and pop it in the oven at 375ºF until thoroughly heated (about 30-40 minutes). Remove foil for the last 10-15 minutes.
This stuffed butternut squash is filled to the brim with deliciousness, but feel free to change it up and add a few extra toppings. Here are some ideas:
- For a little crunch, add roasted butternut squash seeds or raw/roasted pumpkin seeds, chopped pecans, or walnuts.
- Add more warmth with a pinch of nutmeg.
- For a little kick, add a pinch of crushed red pepper or cayenne pepper.
- Add some freshness with chopped chives, green onions, or parsley.
- For a hint of smokiness, add a dash of smoked paprika.
- Add a subtle richness, with a swirl of cashew cream.
- For a slight zing, add a drizzle of balsamic reduction or a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
Stuffed Butternut Squash FAQs
No, you don't need to peel the squash first, especially when you're roasting it whole. Keeping the skin on will help retain moisture and prevent some of the caramelized sugars from seeping out and burning.
Yes, butternut squash skin is edible after cooking it but the texture might not be enjoyable. When it's roasted, the skin will become thin, papery, and somewhat tough but it can easily be separated from the squash flesh.
Yes, it will freeze perfectly for 2-3 months. Just let everything cool and wrap it well in cling wrap. To heat from frozen, preheat your oven to 375ºF, cover squash with foil and cook for 45-60 minutes or until heated throughout.
More holiday recipes to try
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Stuffed Butternut Squash
- 3-4 lbs butternut squash (see note #1)
- 2 tablespoons oil , divided + more for brushing butternut squash.
- 1 small onion , diced
- 2 ribs celery , diced
- 1 medium apple , peeled and diced (see note #2)
- 2 vegan sausages , crumbled (*see note #3)
- 3 cloves garlic , minced
- ¾ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon ground sage
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- ¾ cup jasmine rice , uncooked (see note #4)
- ⅓ cup white wine (optional)
- 1 ¾ cups vegetable broth , low sodium
- 2 cups chopped dino kale (inner stalk removed)
- ⅓ cup dried cranberries , more if preferred
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt , more to taste + more for sprinkling on squash
- Fresh cracked pepper to taste
- 1 Large Baking Dish or Large Rimmed Baking Sheet
- Preheat oven to 425 °F (218 °C).
- Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the membranes and seeds inside of the squash and discard (or save for roasting).
- Brush the inside of each piece with oil and sprinkle with salt. Place on a rimmed baking sheet, cut side down. Roast the squash for 30 minutes. Now flip over to cut side up and roast for another 20-30 minutes or until tender (test with a knife). Reduce heat to 375 F.
- While the squash is roasting, make the filling. In a large pan, heat 1.5 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, apples, and a sprinkle of salt. Sauté until softened about 5-6 minutes
- Add the garlic, and sauté about 30-60 seconds until fragrant.
- Move the onion/celery/apple mixture to the sides, leaving a well in the middle, and add a ½ tablespoon of oil. Now add the crumbled sausage and cook for a few minutes until golden.
- Stir in the rice and sauté for 30-60 seconds. Now add the sage, thyme, cinnamon, and rosemary and sauté for 30-60 seconds until fragrant. Pour in the white wine and cook until it has reduced fully about 1-2 minutes.
- Stir in the broth, salt, and pepper. Raise heat to get things simmering, then cover and reduce heat to gently simmer for 15-20 minutes until rice is tender (and according to package directions).
- Remove pan from heat and stir in kale and cranberries. Cover for a few minutes until the kale slightly wilts. Remove the lid and taste for seasoning and add more if needed.
- When the squash is ready, carefully scoop out some of the flesh, using a spoon, leaving a ¾-inch-thick border around the sides and a 1-inch border along the bottom (it’s easier to score with a knife first for an even look). Roughly chop the removed flesh into small bite-sized pieces and add it to the stuffing mixture and gently toss to combine.
- Stuff the filling into the squash halves and place back into the oven for another 10-15 minutes to warm throughout and to let the flavors permeate into the squash. You can also skip this step if you find it warm enough for serving. Slice and serve. Enjoy!
- Butternut Squash - Choose a squash that has a medium-dark beige skin that is somewhat matte and not shiny. If it's too pale, shiny, or has green streaks in it, it's likely that the squash was picked too early and it will taste bland. You can also knock on the surface to check for ripeness. If it sounds somewhat hollow, it's likely ripened inside. The inside color should be deep orange for optimal flavor. If you can't find a 3-4 pound squash you can get 2 medium-sized ones. Cook time will vary so keep that in mind.
- Apple - I recommend using one that will hold up well during cooking such as honey crisp, granny smith, pink lady, braeburn, or northern spy.
- Vegan Sausage - I highly recommend using Field Roast Apple + Sage vegan sausage because the fall-style flavors really complement the dish but you can use any brand though. Note: if you use whole Beyond Meat sausages, they won't cook well if you crumble them in their raw state. I suggest slicing them into coins first, then cooking them separately in a pan with oil for 2-3 minutes on each side. Remove from heat and roughly chop them up then add them when the broth goes into the pan.
- Rice - you can also use basmati or long-grain white rice. I wouldn't use one that takes longer than 20 minutes to cook. You can use wild rice, but I would cook it separately in a pot with broth (omit the broth from the filling ingredients and skip that step).
- To save time, prepare the squash first and place it in the oven before you start prepping everything else, then do the chopping while it's roasting (should take about 10-15 minutes). I like to start cooking the filling about 25- 30 minutes after the squash goes in the oven so it's not sitting around too long.