This vegetarian stuffed butternut squash recipe features wild rice, lentils, fresh mushrooms, kale and cranberries and makes the perfect addition to your holiday table.

A wedge of sliced stuffed butternut squash on a plate with a fork.


This stuffed roasted butternut squash makes delicious main course or side dish for holidays or everyday, especially served with the zesty parsley salsa verde.

It looks beautiful on a Christmas or Thanksgiving table and though there are a few steps involved, overall it’s an easy recipe and can even be prepared in advance to save time.

Stuffed squash is the ultimate healthy comfort food and sure to be loved by the whole family. It’s warm, nourishing, satisfying, flavourful and so delicious.

This dish works well with side dishes like Easy Vegan Stuffing, Roasted Golden Beets, Healthy Vegan Mashed Potatoes and Sautéed Green Beans.

For more main dish recipes, this Best Vegan Lentil Shepherd’s Pie, Mediterranean Stuffed Peppers and Chickpea Meatloaf all work well for holiday meals or a hearty fall dinner.

Ingredient Notes

All of the ingredients needed for making a rice and lentil stuffed butternut squash recipe. Each ingredient is labelled with text.
  • Butternut Squash: You’ll need a large, approximately 3 lb squash. You could also use 2-3 large acorn squash or other winter squashes (not spaghetti squash) for an alternative. If you can’t find a larger squash, 2 smaller ones work. You can also use 5-6 small squashes to make individual servings which are fun for serving.
  • Maple Syrup: This can be substituted with agave syrup.
  • Kale: I like kale over other leafy greens in this recipe but you can substitute baby spinach, Swiss chard or collard greens if needed.
  • Wild Rice: You can use wild rice or a wild rice blend. If you can’t find those, white rice or brown rice are also suitable or you could substitute quinoa or couscous for a variation.
  • Green Lentils: Be sure to use brown or green lentils. This recipe is not suitable for red lentils.
  • Mushrooms: White, shitake or cremini mushrooms work. You can use a variety for more depth of flavor.
  • Shallot: Shallot is really nice in this recipe but you could use white or red onion in a pinch.
  • Cranberries: If you can’t find dried cranberries, raisins would work but tart cranberries work best here.
  • Pumpkin Seeds: Use toasted pumpkin seeds if you can find them, otherwise raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas) work, or you could use slivered almonds, pecans or walnuts. These can be mixed into the filling or sprinkled on top.

This list is not complete. Please see the recipe card at the end of the post for the complete ingredient list with measurements and detailed instructions.

Variations & Serving Ideas

There are lots of fun ways to customize this recipe. Here are some ideas:

  • Curried Stuffed Squash: Omit the thyme and bay leaf and add 2 tsp curry powder, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and a pinch of cayenne when you add the kale.
  • Apple: You can add 1 peeled and diced apple when you start cooking the mushrooms. This can be added as an alternative to cranberries or an addition to the recipe. Green apples like granny smith work well but any apple variety can be used.
  • Cheesy: For extra flavor and creaminess in the filling or for serving, you can sprinkle the finished stuffed squash with vegan parmesan cheese, feta cheese or goat cheese or mix up to 1/4 cup into the stuffing.
  • Tahini Sauce: Instead of the salsa verde, the squash would also be yummy drizzled with this lemon maple tahini sauce or miso tahini sauce.
  • Gravy: Serve with mushroom gravy or miso gravy instead of the salsa verde.
  • Savory Herbs: Fresh sage and rosemary make a nice addition. Try adding 1 tbsp of either of them along with the the thyme and oregano.
  • Beans: Try adding 1/2 cup chickpeas or black beans to the filling for added texture.
  • Vegan Sausage: To add vegan sausage, brown it in the pan before cooking the shallot and mushroom. Remove from the pan and then mix into the filling when you mix everything up.

Step-by-Step Instructions

There are a few steps to the recipe, but if read it over before you start, you should have a good grasp of the flow so you can keep things moving and efficient.

For the full written recipe be sure to scroll down to the recipe card.

Step 1: Roast the butternut squash.

Step by step photos for preparing a butternut squash for roasting on a pan.

For the roasting process, cut the bottom and top of the squash off so you have a flat surface on either end.

Place the bottom half of the squash on your cutting board and carefully cut it in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds out from inside of the squash and discard.

Rub the squash flesh with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the maple syrup, season with salt and black pepper and place it cut sides down on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Roast the squash for 35-45 minutes, flipping over halfway through, until the flesh is tender when pierced with a fork. The baking time will vary depending on the size of squash used.

Step 2: Cook the rice and lentils.

Bring the rice, stock and bay leaf to a boil in a medium pot, then cover and reduce to medium-low heat.

Cook for 15-20 minutes, then add the lentils and cook for another 20 minutes, until the rice and lentils are tender. If there is any remaining liquid you can drain that off and discard the bay leaf.

Note that if you’re using a different grain such as white rice or quinoa, it won’t need the extra cooking time that wild rice does, so you can add the lentils and grain at the same time.

Step 3: Cook the vegetables.

Kale, mushroom and shallot cooking in a large pot with a wooden spoon.

While the rice is cooking, heat the remaining 1 tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium heat. 

When the pan is hot, add the shallots and mushrooms. Season them with a pinch of salt and pepper and cook for 5-7 min, stirring occasionally until softened and golden-brown. 

Add the garlic, thyme, kale and dried cranberries and cook for 2-4 min, stirring often, until the kale is tender.

Add the white wine or additional stock and cook for 1 min, stirring often and scrapping any brown bits off the bottom, until the liquid has evaporated.

Step 3: Mix the filling.

Transfer the kale-mushroom mixture to a large bowl and add the cooked rice and lentils.

Mix the dressing ingredients together in a small dish until combined, then add that as well and mix everything up.

Balsamic maple dressing in a small dish.

Step 4: Stuff the squash.

Once the squash is finished roasting, carefully scrape a spoon down the “neck” of the squash, removing some of the flesh, to create more space for the filling. 

Half of a cooked butternut squash on a roasting pan with some of the flesh scooped out.

Roughly mash the removed squash into the bowl with the rice mixture.

Wild rice, lentil, squash and kale mixed together in a glass mixing bowl.

Spoon the rice mixture into squash halves and sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds.

Pop the squash back in the oven for 5-10 minutes to heat through.

Two stuffed butternut squash halves on a roasting pan.

Step 5: Optional parsley salsa verde.

The parsley salsa verde is optional but makes an excellent addition to the final dish.

If you’d like to make it, add the shallot and vinegar to a bowl and let it sit for a few minutes, then add the rest of the ingredients and mix well.

Serve on the side to spoon over your squash.

Parsley salsa verde with shallots and chili flakes in oil in a small speckled bowl.

Once the squash comes out of the oven, sprinkle with the remaining parsley and serve with the salsa verde.

Stuffed butternut squash filled with a rice and lentil filling topped with salsa verde.

Storing & Making Ahead

If you’re making this the day ahead for a holiday meal, I’d suggest roasting the squash and making the filling the day before and storing them separately.

About 30 minutes before serving, add the filling to the squash and reheat in the oven for 20-30 minutes at 350 F until heated through.

If you’re making the salsa verde, it’s best prepared shortly before serving, though the shallots and chopped up a few hours in advance.

Leftover stuffed squash can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Leftovers are delicious reheated in the microwave or oven for a quick lunch or dinner.

Hands using a knife and fork to slice a stuffed butternut squash on a plate.

Did you try this recipe? I’d love to hear about it! Scroll down to the comment section to leave a star rating and review.

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Sliced rice, lentil and kale stuffed butternut squash on a parchment paper-lined baking tray.

Vegan Stuffed Butternut Squash

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 5 reviews
  • Author: Deryn Macey
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan
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This stuffed butternut squash makes a beautiful presentation for a meatless holiday main or side but is wonderful anytime of year for a healthy, comforting meal.


  • 1 large butternut squash (3 lb/ 1365 g or 2.88lb/1155 g after cutting and deseeding)
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup (15 g) 
  • 2 tbsp oil, divided (30 g)
  • ¾ cup wild rice blend (145 g) – I used Lundberg Wild Blend
  • ½ cup green lentils (100 g)
  • 2 ½ cups vegetable stock (591 mL)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups mushrooms, diced (170 g/6o z)
  • 2 shallots, finely diced (98 g/⅔ cup)
  • 3 clove garlic, minced or grated (18 g/1 tbsp grated)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 cups packed kale, chopped (58 g)
  • ¼ cups dried cranberries (30 g)
  • ¼ dry white wine or vegetable stock (60 mL)
  • ¼ cup toasted pumpkin seeds (35 g)
  • ⅓ cup parsley, chopped (8 g)

For the Dressing

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • Salt and pepper

For the Parsley Salsa Verde (Optional)

  • 1 shallot, finely chopped (55 g/scant ½ cup) 
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar (60 mL)
  • ½ cup parsley, finely chopped (34 g)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (6 g)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp chili flakes
  • ⅓ cup olive oil (78 mL)
  • generous pinch of salt


  1. Preheat Oven: Preheat the oven to 425 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Prepare Squash: Cut the stem side  and bottom side of squash so you have a flat surface on either end. Place the bottom half of the squash on your cutting board, then carefully cut in half lengthways. Use a spoon to scoop out and discard the seeds.
  3. Rub squash with 1 tbsp oil and drizzle with 1 tbsp maple syrup. Season well with salt and pepper. Place cut side down on the prepared baking sheet.  
  4. Roast Squash: Roast on the middle rack in the preheated oven for 35-45 mins, flipping halfway through, until flesh is very tender when pierced with a knife. 
  5. Cook Rice and Lentils: To a medium pot, add wild rice blend, vegetable stock and bay leaf.  Bring to a boil.  Once boiling, cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook rice for 15 mins, then add lentils and cook for another 20 mins, until rice and lentils are tender. Drain off any remaining liquid if needed.
  6. Cook Vegetables: While rice is cooking, heat the remaining 1 tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  When the pan is hot, add shallots and mushrooms.  Season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5-7 min, stirring occasionally until softened and golden-brown.
  7. Add garlic, thyme, kale and dried cranberries.  Cook for 2-4 min, stirring often, until kale is tender.
  8. Deglaze Pan: Add white wine or additional stock. Cook for 1 min, stirring often and scrapping the brown bits from the pan, until evaporated. Season with salt and pepper.
  9. Mix Filling: Transfer kale mixture to a large bowl. When rice and lentils are cooked, remove bay leaf, then transfer to the bowl with the kale.  
  10. Make Dressing: To a small bowl, add oil, balsamic, maple syrup, dijon and garlic.  Season with salt and pepper, then whisk to combine. (Note: you could also add dressing ingredients to a jar and shake really well to combine.)
  11. Pour dressing over kale and rice mixture. Add half the parsley. Season with salt and pepper, then toss to combine. 
  12. Fill Squash: Once the squash is finished roasting, carefully scrape a spoon down the “neck” of the squash, removing some of the flesh, to create more space for the filling.  Roughly mash the removed squash into the bowl with the rice mixture. Spoon rice mixture into squash halves. Sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds.
  13. Heat Through: Return the squash to the oven for 5-7 min, to warm through.
  14. Make Salsa Verde: If you’re making the optional salsa verde, add the shallots and vinegar to a small bowl and let sit for 10 minutes to soften (this takes the sharp bite out of the shallots but is optional). Stir in the rest of the ingredients until fully combined.
  15. Serving: Transfer squash to a platter.  Sprinkle remaining parsley over top and serve with the parsley salsa verde, if using.


If you can’t find a large butternut squash, two smaller ones work!

To make ahead: make the filling and squash the day before serving. Assemble 30 minutes before serving and reheat in the oven at 350 F for 20-30 minutes until heated through. Leftover squash can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave.

Nutrition facts are estimated for 1 serving of 6 as a main dish. I think this could serve 8-10 for a side dish, depending on the size of your squash. Sodium content will vary based on stock used and amount of salt added. without the broth and added salt, it’s 39 mg per serving.


  • Serving Size: 1/6 of recipe
  • Calories: 353
  • Sugar: 14 g
  • Fat: 11 g
  • Carbohydrates: 60 g
  • Fiber: 8 g
  • Protein: 12 g