Filled with all the flavours of the festive season, this Holiday Stuffed Squash recipe is a completely delicious but lighter twist on the Christmas Roast. Slow roasted butternut squash rounds filled with a lightly spiced chestnut, quinoa and lentil stuffing scattered with dried cherries. This Christmas main is vegan, gluten-free and so wonderful.
I planned to make a nut loaf pie this year but just before the big recipe test, I pivoted. Pie pan in hand, it dawned on me; I can keep my holiday recipe simple this year. I can choose to not spend hours upon hours in the kitchen and instead choose to spend more time with my little tribe. What a revelation! Christmas…without the fuss.
Having said that, I still want a festive lunch with all the trimmings. What can I say? I am a fickle pickle. But, I have discovered, it is possible. Over the coming weeks I will continue to post my Christmas dinner menu complete with crunchy smashed potatoes, grilled fennel with parmesan, a killer vegan gravy and to finish, lovely white chocolate creams with boozy cherries. We started with vegan truffles three-ways and today it’s stuffed squash. All of these are wonderfully Christmas-table worthy and they are all simple and fuss-free.
Lazy Christmas with the family, here I come.
I am completely smitten with this simply festive stuffed squash recipe. It’s a little bit nut loaf without all the nuts, a little bit Christmas roast without the turkey and a little bit fancy without the fuss. It begins with a wonderfully sweet and savoury lentil, quinoa and chestnut stuffing littered with dried cherries and tinged with nutmeg and thyme. Nestled within a ring of soft roasted butternut squash, the flavours happily combine in a perfect Christmas-y bite. The tinsel on the tree? This Christmas main is vegan, gluten-free, completely yum and ready in under an hour. If you want a simple but awesome holiday recipe, this might just do the trick.
I love to cook and most days I answer the call of the kitchen but sometimes a girl needs to put down the spoon and just…be. While Christmas seems an odd time to dial back the kitchen time – it’s non-traditional, I know – it is the perfect time to reconnect with family, friends and, wait for it, yourself. I don’t know about you but my oven and I are solid, we are simpatico. SMEG knows I will be back, I always am. In this house tis the season for three-year old elves full of wonder, overly enthusiastic puppies and Husbands who work too hard. Tis the season for us.
Simply Festive Stuffed Squash
- 1 - 2 medium butternut squash pumpkin
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 brown onion finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 3-4 sprigs fresh time leaves removed and chopped
- 60 grams cooked chestnuts I use the vacuum sealed variety, roughly chopped
- 120 grams cooked quinoa
- 1 400 gram can of brown lentils drained and rinsed
- 20 grams dried cherries or cranberries
- a pinch of nutmeg to taste
- 30 grams vegan butter
- 50 grams baby spinach
- a good pinch of sea salt
- black pepper
- Pre-heat the oven to 190 degrees C. To prepare the squash, lay each on its side and carefully cut 1 and 1/2 inch thick slices. Using a small cookie cutter, cut a circle in the centre of each round to create a ring. It may take some grunt to push the cutter through and the rings may break; no matter. Discard any seeds and cut the inside round in to cubes.
- Place the squash rounds in a roasting pan and drizzle with olive oil. Season with sea salt and place in the oven for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet or fry pan and add the garlic, onion and fresh thyme leaves. Sauté for around four minutes or until soft.
- Add the chestnuts, cherries, squash cubes and the butter and cook until the butter is melted before adding a pinch of nutmeg. Stir well.
- Finally, add the cooked quinoa and the drained lentils and continue to cook for another five minutes before stirring in the baby spinach. Season with sea salt to taste and a good crack of black pepper and when the spinach has wilted remove the stuffing from the heat.
- Keeping the oven on, take the partially cooked squash rings from the oven and place them on your kitchen counter. Carefully, fill each ring with a good amount of stuffing, drizzle each with a small amount of olive oil before placing them back in the oven for a further 20 - 30 minutes or until the squash is cooked through.
- Remove from the oven and serve with a vegan gravy and sides.