Recipe of the Day: Happy Stuffed Butternut Squash

For vegetarians or vegans, festive dishes aren’t too kind to their dietary needs. Furnish recipe ideas for meatless Monday and future Christmas dinners or lunches by making this delicious stuffed butternut squash that can be made as a meal or side throughout December.

The ingredients for this stuffed butternut squash are pretty fun, including cranberry sauce, cranberries, and chestnuts.

Chestnuts can be hard to find in South Africa, you can use either pecans, macadamias, hazelnuts or pistachios to make the stuffed butternut squash.

Stuffed Butternut Squash for Christmas


3 medium butternut squash

For the filling:

  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 cup chestnut mushrooms
  • 1 cup chestnuts
  • 1/2 cup cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon garlic flakes or powder
  • 1 onion
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 5-6 sage leaves
  • Handful of parsley
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup just for glazing
  • Cranberry sauce for drizzling

ALSO TRY: Recipe of the day: It’s time to bake the Christmas cake


  1. The first step in making this stuffed butternut squash is to first roast the butternut squash. Preheat the oven to 190°C (or 170°C fan oven), then cut the squash in half and remove the seeds. I like to use a spoon on the melon baller/ice cream scoop. I’ve found that anything spoon-like works amazingly.
  2. Lightly brush the flesh of the butternut squash with maple syrup and then season lightly with a little salt & pepper.
  3. Then put in the oven for about 40 minutes. Check the squash after 30 minutes to see how soft the flesh is. Although it goes back in the oven later, I like it when the meat is cooked tender at this point.
  4. While the squash is roasting in the oven, it’s time to prepare the filling.
  5. To prepare the rice, first rinse it well in a colander a few times until the water runs clear.
  6. Then bring 1.5 liters of water to a boil. Add the rice and cook for 30 minutes. Turn off the heat and drain the remaining water from the pan, then cover the pan with a lid and let it steam for 5-10 minutes.
  7. While the rice is cooking, you can prepare the other elements of the filling. Start by finely chopping the onion, mushrooms and chestnuts.
  8. Heat some olive oil in a large pan and add the garlic and onion. Fry for 1-2 minutes so they sweat and soften.
  9. Add the mushrooms and chestnuts and stir well. Fry for another minute, then add the parsley and cinnamon. Mix well.
  10. Finally add the cranberries and the cooked rice. Stir well and cook for another 4-5 minutes until the cranberries are soft.
  11. When all the elements are ready, simply allow the squash to cool until ready to use. At this point, you’ll need some kitchen twine or other oven-safe thread.
  12. Fill one half of the squash with the filling, making sure to overstuff generously. Then cover with the second half.
  13. Use the twine to tie the pumpkin. This depends on how big the squash is, but I like to do this in 3-4 different spots.
  14. Glaze with maple syrup and place in the oven for another 10-15 minutes. If you’re feeling cheeky, you can even add a final glaze when you take it out of the oven.
  15. This Vegan Stuffed Butternut Squash Christmas Meal is now ready to serve! Simply leave the yarn and cut portioned slices with a sharp knife – a wonderful vegan roast!

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