The perfect vegan centrepiece main dish for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any holiday. Stuffed with super flavourful wild rice, cranberries, walnuts, and sage filling. Can be made up to 3 days ahead of time and warmed up before serving. Gluten free, vegan, vegetarian, dairy free.
To make the butternut squash: Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out and discard the seeds, then put both halves on a baking tray, cut side up. Drizzle the olive oil on top of each squash and rub around to coat. Bake for 60 to 75 minutes until the squash is cooked and fork tender. The timing may vary a bit depending on the size of your squash. Be careful not to overcook the squash as it will still bake more when assembled and heated later on.
Once baked, remove the squash from the oven. Let it cool enough so that you can handle it. Scoop out the flesh in the center of both squash halves, leaving about a 1-inch border all around. I like to score a line with the tip of my spoon 1-inch from the edges before I start scooping so I have a guide to follow. Set aside the scooped out squash flesh and chop it up.
To make the stuffing: In the meantime when the squash is baking, you can prepare the stuffing. In a large pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. When hot sauté the carrots, celery, onion, and garlic until the veggies soften and begin to brown. Add the wild rice and veggie broth to the pan, give it a stir, then cover and bring to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes. Now add the white rice to the pan, cover, and continue to cook another 8 to 10 minutes until the rice has cooked and fully absorbed the broth.
Add in the walnuts, dried cranberries, sage, thyme, salt, and pepper. When ready, add in the scooped out and chopped squash flesh. Stir well to combine.
To stuff the squash: Pack in as much of the stuffing into both sides of the squash as you can. You will likely have leftovers, but I like to pack it in nice and firmly and make both sides heaping full. Pick up one squash half and flip it on top of the other. Use kitchen string to tie up the squash in 3 or 4 places holding it together. At this point you can choose to let it cool, cover with foil and store in the fridge for up to 3 days until ready to bake. Or you can bake it right away.
When you are ready to bake, lightly brush the top with more olive oil. Bake for 20 to 35 minutes until hot all the way through. Season the top with cracked pepper, and a sprinkle of chopped sage. The slices are tender and will easily fall apart, to help hold them together use a wide spatula, and carefully transfer them to the plate. Serve hot with Quick Onion Gravy.
*Different types of wild rice may vary the cooking time. The wild rice I used required 20 minutes of cooking time, so I cooked it for 10 minutes, added the basmati so it could cook, and continued to cook it for 10 minutes more. Look at your package of wild rice to see if it needs longer cooking time. If it does, cook longer as directed before adding the basmati.*Nutrition is based on one serving (⅛th of the recipe)