Vegan Stuffed Acorn Squash – The Almond Eater


What better way to enjoy acorn squash than this Vegan Stuffed Acorn Squash recipe? Filled with mushrooms, walnuts, wild rice, and chickpeas, they’re incredibly hearty, versatile and filled with fall flavors! 

baked acorn squash stuffed with rice and drizzled with a white sauce

Vegan stuffed acorn squash is THE way to eat acorn squash! This is not an opinion, it’s a fact. 

I realized that I had plenty of squash recipes on my site, with some of my favorites being my caramelized onion spaghetti squash, butternut squash chickpea chili and my fresh tomato spaghetti squash. However, I was clearly lacking acorn squash recipes, until now! 

Acorn squash is a bit sweeter than the other squashes, in my opinion, and the shape lends itself to be “stuffed” with whatever ingredients you have on hand! Plus, stuffed squash would be a perfect addition to your Thanksgiving day table. 

Truthfully, it’s a tad more time consuming than some of my other weeknight meals (looking at you, vegan mushroom pasta), but it’s VERY easy to prep the ingredients ahead of time so you have everything ready to go before cooking. 

Recipe features 

  • Uses plenty of heart-healthy ingredients like mushrooms, walnuts and pumpkin seeds
  • The whole recipes takes about an hour, but most of that is the squash roasting in the oven
  • Drizzled with a simple dairy-free béchamel sauce for added deliciousness 
baked stuffed acorn squash on a baking sheet

Ingredients

  • Acorn squash – Acorn squash should be available at all grocery stores in the fall. Since this is the main ingredient of this recipe, I’m going to say no substitutions here.
  • Pumpkin seeds – Also known as pepitas. They’re going to add a nice texture to the final dish.
  • Mushrooms – Preferably baby bella mushrooms, but white mushrooms work too 
  • Walnuts – For added texture. You could try using pecans instead, which would also be delicious.
  • Wild rice – Wild rice is a staple for autumn recipes, and it pairs well with the celery, mushrooms and garlic. It does take a bit longer to cook than white rice, so keep that in mind.
  • Chickpeas – Canned, drained and rinsed; used for protein.
  • Béchamel sauce – Optional, but adds a nice finishing touch and really brings the dish together. Béchamel is essentially vegan butter, flour and your favorite plant-based milk whisked to create a creamy sauce.

Step-by-step directions

Step 1: Cook the rice. You’ll want to follow the instructions on the packaging, but essentially you’ll add the wild rice and water to a saucepan, bring it to a boil, then cover and simmer it until the water is absorbed and the rice is fluffy.

Step 2: Roast the squash. Start by slicing the squash in half vertically. Then, use a spoon to scrape out the seeds and discard them or save for another use. Brush the squash with olive oil, then place it cut-side down on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Roast the squash for 30-35 minutes until it’s easy to pierce with a fork and slightly golden brown. 

scraping seeds out of acorn squash with a spoon
acorn squash brushed with oil on a baking sheet with parchment paper

Step 3: Make the filling. While the squash is roasting, toast the pumpkin seeds in a skillet. Remove them, then add the shallot, celery and mushrooms and sauté for 5-7 minutes until soft, then add in the chopped walnuts and garlic cloves and sauté for 2 minutes. 

Add all of these ingredients, along with the cooked rice and chickpeas, to a large bowl and stir to combine. Then, add salt and pepper to taste.

cooked mushrooms, walnuts, celery, and shallot in a skillet

Step 4: Stuff the squash. Once the squash has finished roasting, remove it from the oven then wait a few minutes before using a spatula to carefully flip it over. Spoon some of the wild rice mixture into each squash, then place the squash back into the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes.

Step 5: Make the béchamel sauce. This step is optional, but if you’d like to make it, simply melt butter in a small saucepan. Once it’s melted, add the flour and whisk for 20 seconds before pouring in the milk. Continue to whisk until the mixture thickens into a sauce.

Drizzle some of the béchamel over the stuffed squash, and sprinkle with a little fresh thyme (also optional). 

baked stuffed acorn squash on a baking sheet

Substitutions 

  • Without nuts: To keep this nut-free, omit the walnuts altogether. Though they add texture to the dish, they’re not absolutely necessary.
  • Without rice: Instead of using wild rice as the base, you could try using quinoa, lentils or brown rice instead.
  • With meat: I know it’s strange to make this suggestion on a meatless recipe, but perhaps someone in your family “needs” meat (trust me, I get it). If you want to add some sort of meat to this, I’d opt for shredded chicken, which will blend nicely with the other flavors. 
  • With dairy: To make this vegetarian but not vegan, simply use regular butter in the sauce. You could also sprinkle some goat cheese or parmesan on top before baking.
  • More vegetables: Want to bulk these up? Try adding in some sautéed spinach or kale.
  • Add-ins: To make these a bit sweeter, try topping them with dried cranberries once they’re done baking. Or, garnish with fresh thyme.

What does acorn squash pair well with? 

So many things! This recipe is a meal in itself, but if you were just roasting acorn squash by itself, you could pair it with pulled pork, sausage, a kale salad, or a brussels sprouts salad.

Can you eat acorn squash skin?

Technically yes, it is edible. However, in a stuffed squash recipe, I usually opt to not eat it, as I find the texture to be a bit off-putting. 

Storage

Refrigerator: Wrap each acorn squash in foil or plastic wrap, then store them in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

Reheating: Reheat squash in the microwave, or place in a large baking dish with a little water on the bottom and heat at 350° until warmed through.

Want more info on this? The Spruce Eats does a wonderful job explaining acorn squash selection and storage.

acorn squash filled with rice and chickpeas on a plate with a fork

More vegan dinner recipes

If you made this recipe, be sure to leave a comment and star rating below. Thanks!

baked acorn squash stuffed with rice and drizzled with a white sauce

Vegan Stuffed Acorn Squash

What better way to enjoy acorn squash than this Vegan Stuffed Acorn Squash recipe? Filled with mushrooms, walnuts, wild rice, and chickpeas, they’re incredibly hearty, versatile and filled with fall flavors! 

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Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

Servings: 3

Ingredients

  • 3 acorn squash sliced in half, seeds removed
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil divided
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
  • 2 shallots diced
  • 2 celery ribs diced
  • 8 oz. baby bella mushrooms sliced
  • ¼ cup walnuts chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 cup wild rice cooked
  • ½ cup chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • salt and pepper to taste

béchamel sauce (optional):

  • 1 tablespoon vegan butter
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • ½ cup soy milk or milk of choice

Instructions

  • Start by cooking the wild rice in a saucepan according to the package instructions.

  • Preheat oven to 400° and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Slice the squash in half length-ways, then use a spoon to scrape out the seeds; discard. Brush the squash with 1 tablespoon of olive oil (or more) all over, then place it cut-side down on the prepared baking sheet. Roast the squash for 30-35 minutes until fork tender.

  • While the squash is roasting and rice is cooking, make the filling. Add the pumpkin seeds to a large skillet and heat over medium heat. Toast the seeds until they’re slightly golden and fragrant; remove from the heat and set aside.

  • To that same skillet, add the remaining olive oil, along with the shallots, celery and mushrooms and sauté for 5-7 minutes until soft. Then, add the walnuts and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl, then add the pumpkin seeds to that bowl.

  • Once the rice is cooked, add it, along with the chickpeas, to that same mixing bowl and stir everything together. Then, add salt and pepper to taste.

  • Once the squash is roasted, use a spatula to carefully flip it over. Stuff each squash with some of the filling, then place it back into the oven and continue cooking for 10-15 minutes.

  • To make the béchamel: melt butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, then add the flour and whisk for 20 seconds before pouring in the milk. Continue to whisk until the sauce thickens, then remove from the heat.

  • Drizzle the stuffed squash with some of the béchamel sauce and enjoy!

Notes

*Calories are per serving and are an estimation
*To make this recipe quicker, cook the rice ahead of time and store it in a sealed container in the refrigerator so it’s ready to go.
*Storage: Wrap stuffed acorn squash (leftovers) individually in foil or plastic wrap, then store them in the refrigerator for up to 4 days
*See full blog post for different variations of this recipe

Nutrition

Calories: 535kcal | Carbohydrates: 101g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 7g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.003g | Sodium: 28mg | Potassium: 2302mg | Fiber: 14g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1615IU | Vitamin C: 50mg | Calcium: 205mg | Iron: 6mg

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