Every home cook needs a stuffed squash recipe in their arsenal. My simple lentil and rice stuffed squash will quickly become a mainstay in your kitchen. Whether you are vegan or not, your plant-based dinner guests will love this lentil and rice stuffed squash. The bonus is that non-vegans love it, too!
To this day, my favourite job was at The Local General Store in Victoria, British Columbia. Billed as a “one stop sustainable shop,” it sells everything from local organic food to pottery to natural body care and everything in between. Working with such inspiring people in such a wonderful community was an absolute dream, and I feel lucky to have had such an experience.
The task that I loved the most was receiving the produce that came to us from local organic farms a few times per week. Every autumn, the winter squashes started to roll in by the bucketful, and those beautiful orange, yellow, and green orbs in their freshly harvested glory was a joyful sight indeed. I had not realized the sheer diversity of the squash kingdom until working at The Local, as it’s affectionately known: kabocha, red kuri, hubbard, and turban were all new to me, and I tried them all, along with the more familiar acorn, delicata, spaghetti, and butternut.
Fast forward a few years, and I find myself back in Ottawa. I’m lucky to live close to the farmer’s market, and every week from late September until now, I’ve brought home an embarrassment of winter squash. Often times, I was doing a simple slice and roast, or blending it into soups: that’s how we love squash the most in our house. But on occasion, I do find myself craving a beautiful stuffed squash. This simple lentil and rice stuffed squash recipe actually resulted from a “clean out the fridge” frenzy, and I was so happy with the resulting flavour, I just knew I’d have to post it.
When I think about my ideal holiday entertaining spread, stuffed squash ranks up there among essential dishes to have on the table. Not only is it beautiful to behold, it’s also satisfying and can be dressed up in a number of fun ways.
The recipe that I’m sharing with you today is delightful in its simplicity. Sometimes, with all of the decadence that comes along with holiday eating, a simple stuffed squash recipe is a welcome sight. While I love to experiment with different ingredients and flavours, I also value simple plant-based meals: these are the types of dishes that I enjoy most of the time!
With today being American Thanksgiving, and with Christmas fast approaching, my hope is that you can keep this simple stuffed squash recipe in your back pocket for a quick and easy entertaining option. It’s equally enjoyable on a cozy night in. You can further embellish the recipe in any way that you like: garnish with pesto or any of my green sauces instead of marinara sauce; add different vegetable combinations or dried fruit such as cranberries or sliced apricots; or toss in some vegan sausage, tempeh chorizo, or tofu. Let your imagination run wild. 🙂
- 2 medium round winter squash, such as acorn or dumpling
- 2/3 cup brown basmati rice, rinsed and drained
- 1 1/4 cups water
- 2/3 cup beluga or French green lentils, rinsed and drained
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 4 medium garlic cloves, minced
- 3 carrots, diced
- 3 celery stalks, diced
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- 1 tsp each dried thyme, basil, and oregano
- 1/2 tsp chili flakes
- 12 pitted Kalamata olives, chopped
- 1/4 cup currants or dried fruit of choice
- 1 medium bunch green kale, finely chopped
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Slice the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Brush the inside flesh with a small amount of olive oil and place squash face down on two cookie sheets. Roast squash for 30-40 minutes, or until fork tender in the center. Remove from the oven and turn them so that the flesh is facing upwards. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
- While the squash is in the oven, cook the brown rice. Combine the drained rice with 1 1/4 cups water in a medium saucepan. Add a pinch of sea salt and bring to a boil. Turn down heat to low, cover, and cook for 45 minutes. At the same time, cook the lentils in a separate pot. Place the lentils in a medium saucepan and cover with an inch of water. Bring to a boil and cook over medium-high heat until tender, about 15 minutes, adding more water as needed. Drain excess liquid off of the lentils and set aside.
- Warm the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Saute for 3-4 minutes before adding carrots, celery, salt and pepper to taste, thyme, basil, oregano, and chili flakes. Cook five minutes more. Then add the olives, currants, and finally the kale. Cook just until kale is bright green.
- Add the cooked rice and lentils to the vegetables in the skillet. Taste and add additional salt or spices if desired (I think I used about 3/4 tsp of salt in total.)
- To assemble the stuffed squash, divide the filling between the four squash halves. (You may have extra filling, depending on the size of your squash.) I like to stuff the squash fairly generously!
- Warm the stuffed squash in the oven for 15-20 minutes. In the final 5 minutes of baking, add the sunflower seed Parmesan to brown it.
- Serve the squash with sauce of choice: marinara sauce, pesto, and green hemp cream are all delicious options!
Keywords: lentil rice stuffed squash, vegan stuffed squash recipe, easy stuffed winter squash recipe