Easy vegan thanksgiving main dish
This vegan stuffed butternut squash is the perfect main dish for thanksgiving or the holidays. Filled with grains, meaty mushrooms, chickpeas and kale that have been seasoned and cooked to perfection.
This recipe is
- Full of healthy ingredients
- The perfect thanksgiving or holiday main course or side dish
- The ultimate fall comfort food
- Great to serve your vegan friends for a special occasion
- Butternut squash - this is my favorite squash to use because it's the most sweet, but you can use any type of winter squash like acorn squash or any other large squash as well.
- Grain of choice - I used farro in this recipe because I liked how chewy it is, but you can also use brown rice, quinoa, wild rice or white rice.
- Fresh herbs - I used sage and thyme
- Red onion
- Poultry seasoning
- Vegetable broth
- Dairy free feta - this is optional, but will elevate this dish to the next level.
Make sure not to over-cook the squash too much before adding the rice mixture. You want to slightly under-cook it so the squash skin doesn't get too soft. This depends on the size of your squash so check on it after 30-40 minutes and you want it to be just fork tender.
You can use whatever grain you'd like for this. I chose farro, but feel free to use rice or quinoa as well.
When you cut the flesh of the butternut squash after it bakes, don't scoop out too much. You want to only scoop out ¾ of it. That way it won't rip the squash skin.
I like to cut the squash into cubes, instead of mushing it up. I like that texture better.
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 with a sharp knife on a flat surface, then de-seed it. Rub on a little bit of olive oil on the inside of the squash and season with a pinch of salt and black pepper. Add the squash halves to a baking sheet.
- 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. The bake time will depend on the size of the squash, so check on it after 30-40 minutes. Smaller squash won't take as long to bake.
- 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 your grocery store 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.
- Sauté the mushrooms with the onions, garlic, sage, thyme, soy sauce, poultry seasoning, kale and chickpeas in a large skillet on medium heat.
- 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. Add the vegan stuffing back into the butternut squash.
- Top the stuffed squash with dairy free feta cheese and some fresh herbs for a beautiful presentation.
- Place the roast back in the oven, at a lower temperature and let the squash bake for 10 minutes to melt the vegan cheese.
This roasted butternut squash will last about five days in the fridge in an airtight container.
I haven't tried freezing it yet so I don't know how that would turn out. Leave a comment below if you've tried freezing it.
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Stuffed butternut squash
- 1 large butternut squash
- ½ cup pearled farro (or your grain of choice)
- 1½ cups vegetable broth
- 5 fresh sage leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried sage)
- 5 fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
- 1 tablespoon vegan butter (or oil)
- 16 oz button mushrooms (finely chopped)
- 5 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 small red onion (diced)
- 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 16 ounce can of chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
- 1 cup of chopped kale
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
- Vegan Violife feta cheese to top with (optional)
Roast the squash
- 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.1 large butternut squash
- Roast in the oven until it's just fork tender. For a medium butternut squash, this will be about 40-50 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.
Cook the grain
- While the squash is roasting, make the farro or your grain of choice. 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 farro and put it in the instant pot with vegetable broth, 3 whole sage leaves and 3 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.½ cup pearled farro, 1½ cups vegetable broth, 5 fresh sage leaves, 5 fresh thyme leaves
- If you don't have whole sage and thyme leaves, just sprinkle in ½ teaspoon 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.
Make the filling
- Add 1 tablespoon of vegan butter or oil to a large skillet on medium heat.1 tablespoon vegan butter
- Saute the diced onion until translucent, about 3 minutes. Season with a tiny pinch of salt.1 small red onion
- 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 sauté for 1 minute.16 oz button mushrooms, 5 cloves garlic
- Add soy sauce, 2 finely chopped fresh sage leaves, 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, poultry seasoning, nutritional yeast, can of rinsed chickpeas, chopped kale and the cooked farro.1 teaspoon poultry seasoning, 1 cup of chopped kale, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, 16 ounce can of chickpeas
- If you don't have fresh sage and thyme, just use ½ teaspoon 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.Vegan Violife feta cheese to top with
- 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.
The nutritional information on this website is only an estimate and is provided for convenience and as a courtesy only. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed. It should not be used as a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.