Easy vegan thanksgiving and holiday main dish
Looking for a plant based roast for the holidays? This stuffed butternut squash has you covered. It’s filled with chewy farro, meaty mushrooms, chickpeas and kale. Perfect thanksgiving or holiday vegan main dish idea.
What is farro?
Farro is an ancient whole grain that can been traced back to 20,000 years ago. It’s been popular in Europe for a while, especially in Italy, and has recently become more popular in the United States.
Farro is chewy in texture and nutty in flavor and is full of protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber, according to this article.
Farro goes great in soups, risottos, salads and as a rice replacement. If you have a gluten allergy, be careful. Farro is not gluten free.
How to cook farro
There are three types of farro, but the most common type of farro is pearled farro. This one cooks the fastest.
There is also semi-pearled farro and whole farro.
To cook pearled farro in an instant pot:
- rinse the farro, then place 1 cup of farro in the pressure cooker with 2.5 cups of water or vegetable broth.
- Cook on high pressure for 7 minutes. Let it slow release for another 7 minutes, then quick release.
To cook pearled farro on the stove top:
- Rinse 1 cup of farro
- Bring 2.5 – 3 cups of water to a boil
- Add the farro and any seasonings you’d like
- Simmer for 20-30 minutes until it’s chewy and al dente.
How to make stuffed butternut squash
Cut the squash in half, then de-seed it. Rub on a little bit of olive oil on the inside of the squash and season with a little bit of salt.
Roast the butternut squash until it’s just fork tender. Make sure not to over cook the squash until it becomes super soft. It will make it hard to keep its shape once we stuff it.
Make the farro according to the directions below.
If you can’t find pearled farro, you can also use semi-pealed or whole farro. It will just take a little longer to cook.
If you can’t find farro at all, you can substitute for barley. Follow directions of package of how to cook barley and seasoning with the same seasonings as in the recipe below.
I like to use a blend of baby bella mushrooms and white button mushrooms. I buy an 8 oz package of baby bella and an 8 oz package of white button mushrooms.
Chop up the mushrooms finely.
Saute the mushrooms with the onions, garlic, sage, thyme, soy sauce, poultry seasoning, kale and chickpeas.
This would taste really good to deglaze it with a little bit of dry white wine if you have it on hand.
Scoop out a little bit of the butternut squash flesh once it’s baked and add it to the farro mixture. Stuff the butternut squash.
If you’re able to find Violife feta cheese, top the roast with this.
Place the roast back in the oven, at a lower temperature for 10-15 minutes to warm everything through together.
More vegan thanksgiving and holiday recipes:
Stuffed butternut squash
- 1 medium or large butternut squash
- ½ cup pearled farro (if you can’t find farro, you can use barley)
- 1.5 cups water or vegetable broth
- ½ veggie bouillon cube (if you’re not using veggie broth)
- 5 fresh sage leaves (or 1 tsp dried sage)
- 5 fresh thyme leaves (or 1 tsp dried thyme)
- 16 oz button mushrooms (finely chopped)
- 5 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 small red onion (diced)
- 1 tsp poultry seasoning
- 1 16 oz can of chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
- 1 cup of chopped kale
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
- Vegan Violife feta cheese to top with (optional)
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
- Cut your butternut squash in half, lengthwise. Clean out the seeds and guts.
- Rub a little bit of olive or avocado oil over the squash insides and season with a pinch of salt.
- Roast in the oven until it’s just fork tender. For a medium butternut squash, this will be about 50 minutes. Make sure not to over cook the squash, so that it doesn’t just fall apart when we try to stuff it.
- Once butternut squash is cooked, let it cool for 10 minutes before handling it.
- While the squash is roasting, make the farro. Directions for instant pot below. If you don’t have an instant pot, follow the directions on the farro package on how to cook it on the stove.
- Rinse a ½ cup of farro and put it in the instant pot with 1.5 cups of water, ½ a veggie bouillon cube and 3 fresh, whole sage leaves and 3 fresh, whole thyme leaves. Just set the fresh herbs on top of the farro and water. We will take them out whole once the farro is cooked.
- If you don’t have whole sage and thyme leaves, just sprinkle in ½ tsp each of dried sage and dried thyme.
- Cook farro on high pressure for 7 minutes. Let it naturally release for another 7 minutes, then quick release. Remove the whole sage and thyme leaves. Set aside.
- Add 1 TBL of vegan butter or oil to a saute pan on medium heat.
- Saute the diced onion until translucent, about 3 minutes. Season with a tiny pinch of salt.
- Add the finely chopped mushrooms to the pan and cook until mushrooms start to shrink and extract their liquids, about 5 minutes.
- Add 4 cloves of minced garlic and saute for 1 minute.
- Add 2 TBL of soy sauce, 2 finely chopped fresh sage leaves, 1 tsp fresh thyme, 1 tsp of poultry seasoning, 2 TBL of nutritional yeast, can of rinsed chickpeas, 1 cup of chopped kale and the cooked farro.
- If you don’t have fresh sage and thyme, just use ½ tsp each of dried sage and thyme.
- Stir well to mix everything together.
- Cook for 5-8 minutes or until the kale is wilted. Give it a taste and add more salt or seasonings as needed.
- Once you’ve let the roasted butternut squash rest for 10 minutes, scoop out a little bit of the insides of the squash, but make sure not to scoop all the way to the bottom. Leave a bit of flesh in there.
- Mix the squash with the farro stuffing. Add the farro stuffing to the insides of the butternut squash halves.
- Optional – top with crumbled vegan Violife feta cheese.
- Turn oven down to 350 degrees and put the roast in the oven for another 10-15 minutes to warm everything through.
- This tastes really good topped with a little bit of vegan gravy.