This Roasted Stuffed Squash filled with wild rice, mushrooms, walnuts and herbs, is a deliciously festive main dish. Perfect for a vegetarian Christmas dinner and it’s gluten-free too. Really easy to make, it looks gorgeous and tastes amazing!
Harlequin squash is the perfect squash for stuffing and roasting. Once roasted its sweet flesh paired with nutty earthy wild rice and mushrooms is just delicious. The edges are caramelized adding to the flavour. The beautiful colour of this squash is just a bonus, they look so pretty on the pate especially topped with a tasty filling!
Perfect for a festive dinner, and great for feeding a crowd just two squash with sides will feed four people. With festive herbs like sage and rosemary, this even smells like Christmas when it’s baking. The rice and mushrooms give it a lovely earthy taste, the nuts and seeds also give it a nice little crunch.
Ingredients for Stuffed Squash
- Harlequin Squash – this is my preferred squash for this recipe. It’s perfectly sized and for a special occasion, the colours are beautiful. You can use acorn squash or even a short butternut squash instead if you prefer.
- Rice – I use a mix of wild and black rice, they are a tougher rice which is better for stuffing vegetables.
- Mushrooms – Chestnut mushrooms are perfect here, you could add in some wild mushroom too if you wish.
- Nuts and Seeds – Walnuts and pumpkin seeds add texture and crunch to the filling, pecan is a good sub for the walnuts if you prefer them.
- Feta – this adds a lovely creaminess to the dish, it is perfect against the earthy nutty filling and goes very well with the sweet squash.
- Herbs – To keep this dish festive I use fresh rosemary and sage. I have made this with thyme to which works really well.
How to Make Stuffed Squash
- Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, then brush the inside of the squash with oil and roast.
- Cook up the onion, garlic, mushrooms, and herbs. Cook the rice.
- Soak the dried cranberries until they plump up then add those to a large mixing bowl with the mushroom mixture and the chopped walnuts and rice. Mix well.
- Stuff the roasted squash with the filling, crumble the feta over the filling then bake.
Top Tips for Making the Best Stuffed Squash
- Pick squash that is roughly the same weight and size. This will ensure that they all cook at the same time. When buying squash look make sure they feel heavy when you lift them, the stem should be intact, firm and dry. Check for any soft spots in the squash and avoid them if they are soft. The skin should be cut and crack free.
- Use wild rice, that includes red or black rice which is best for stuffing vegetables. These are tougher varieties of rice that hold up against roasting and don’t turn to mush.
- Use a very sharp knife to cut the squash in half. Please be careful doing this, squash can be hard to cut in half. I tend to cut just under the woody stem as it’s easier to cut there.
- Soak the dried cranberries in warm water, this will plump up the cranberries and make them nice and juicy.
What to Serve with Stuffed Squash
If I make this for Christmas dinner then I would serve it with all the trimmings including, roasted or mashed potatoes, roasted carrots and parsnips, and Brussell sprouts. If we have this for a weeknight dinner a good caesar salad is a great side dish to this.
Making Ahead and Storing
Due to the rice in the filling, it is best to make the filling fresh and serve straight away. You can roast the squash the day before if you wish, just be aware that it may take longer to cook when you add the filling as the squash will be cold. I don’t recommend freezing this dish again due to the rice.
More Tasty Festive Recipes:
Did you make this Stuffed Squash recipe? Rate it and leave me a comment below to let me know what you think!
- 2 Harlequin Squash (630g each) cut in half lengthways, seeds scooped out
- 100 g wild & red rice dry raw weight
- 1 tsp vegetable bouillon optional (gf,vg)
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 1 tsp sea salt divided
- 1 tsp cracked black pepper divided
- half a red onion (90g) peeled then finely chopped
- 100 g chestnut mushrooms wiped cleaned then roughly chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 4 or 5 sage leaves finely chopped
- 1 tbsp dried cranberries
- 40 g walnut halves chopped
- 60 g feta
- 1 tsp pumpkin seeds chopped
- Preheat the oven to 180C/392f.Cut the squash in half lengthways and scoop out the seeds and any stringy flesh.Brush the insides of the halved squash with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, sprinkle 1/4 tsp each of salt and black pepper over the squash. Place them skin-side down on a baking tray and bake for 35 minutes or until the flesh is soft, test with a knife.
- While the squash is roasting make the filling. Cook the rice according to the packet instructions, I add a level teaspoon of vegetable bouillon to the rice when cooking for extra flavour, but you can leave it out if you wish.
- While the rice is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan, add the onion and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Then add the mushrooms, garlic, 1/4 tsp of salt and pepper and the herbs, cook for 5 minutes. Set aside until the rice is cooked.
- Place the dried cranberries into a small bowl, cover with warm water and leave for about 20 minutes. Once plump, drain and roughly chop.
- Once the rice is cooked add it to a large mixing bowl along with the onion & mushroom mixture, the chopped walnuts, cranberries, half a tsp each of salt and black pepper and mix well.
- Spoon the filling mixture into the squash, pat it down with the back of the spoon and then add some more, it's ok for the filling to be heaped here.
- Crumble the feta over the mixture and bake in the oven for 10 - 15 minutes. Once cooked sprinkle the pumpkin seeds over the squash and serve immediately.
- Squash - I use Harlequin squash for this recipe but acorn squash or a short butternut squash will work too.
- Rice - Wild rice is best for this recipe, I use a mix of wild and black rice, pre-mixed.
- Mushrooms - Chestnut/brown mushrooms are perfect in this. I have used a mix of brown and wild mushrooms which work well too.
- Storing/freezing - Due to the rice I do not recommend freezing or storing the filling or the stuffed squash. Rice that is not reheated properly can contain dangerous bacteria which can cause food poisoning, so please be very aware of this.
- Can I make this vegan? This is really easy to make vegan, simply omit the feta or substitute with your favourite vegan soft cheese. And use a vegan vegetable bouillon.
- Is this gluten-free? Yes, just use a gluten-free bouillon when cooking the rice or omit it altogether.
- Nutrition - Nutritional information is approximate and is calculated using an online nutrition tool. It is based on a serving of one.
*This recipe was first published on October 14, 2016. It has now been updated with new photos, a step by step guide, expert tips and nutritional information.