This delicious Vegan stuffed butternut squash dish works perfectly as a meat-free Christmas dinner (or for a Vegan thanksgiving)! It works wonderfully as a side or main - filled with a delicious rice, mushroom and cranberry stuffing to keep you more than satisfied!
The first step to making this stuffed butternut squash is to do the first roast of the butternut squash. Preheat the oven to 375ºF/190ºC (or 325ºF/170ºC fan-assisted) then begin by chopping the squash in half and removing the seeds. I like to use a spoon on melon baller/ice-cream scoop. Anything spoon-like works amazingly, I've found.
Lightly brush the butternut squash flesh with maple syrup and then season lightly with some salt & pepper.
Then pop it in the oven for around 40 minutes. Check the squash after 30 minutes, to see how soft the flesh is. Although it will be popped back into the oven later on, I like to have the flesh cooked till soft at this point.
Meanwhile, as the squash roasts in the oven, it's time to prepare the stuffing. *
To prepare the rice, first make sure to rinse it well within a colander a few times, until the water runs clear.
Then bring 1.5 l water to boil, Add the rice and cook for 30 mins. Turn off the heat and drain the remaining water from the pan then cover the pan with a lid and leave to steam for 5-10 minutes.
As the rice cooks, you can prepare the other elements of the stuffing. Begin by finely chopping the onion, mushrooms and chestnuts. **
Heat up some olive oil in a large frying pan and add the garlic and onion. Fry for 1-2 minutes to let them sweat and begin to soften.
Add the mushrooms and chestnuts and stir well. fry for a further minute then add the parsley and cinnamon. Stir well.
Finally, add the cranberries and the cooked rice. Stir well and cook for another 4-5 minutes until the cranberries have softened.
Once all of the elements are ready, simply leave the squash to cool down, till you're able to handle it. You'll need some kitchen twine or other oven-safe thread at this point.
Fill up one half of the squash with the stuffing, making sure to overfill it generously. Then cover with the second half.
Use the twine to tie up the squash. This will depend on how large the squash is, but I like to do this in 3-4 different spots.
Glaze with maple syrup and put back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes. If you're feeling cheeky, then you can even add one last glaze when you take it out of the oven.
This vegan stuffed butternut squash Christmas dish is now ready to serve! Simply leave the twine in place and, using a sharp knife, you can chop portioned slices - a wonderful vegan roast!
* I've made this recipe using brown rice. You could also use couscous or quinoa and it works just as well. Although obviously preparing the grain of choice will differ slightly with times.** You can also use a small blender/food processor to get all the elements nice and fine. Simply start with the onion, as it's the hardest elements and so will take longer to break up and then pop in the mushrooms and chestnuts.