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Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash is full of everything you crave for Thanksgiving or a cozy winter night. Wild rice is combined with mushrooms, cranberries, shallots, and sage for a hearty vegan main dish.
When it comes to Thanksgiving dinner, I am most excited about the sides. Anyone else?
The sides are where all the flavor and fun are!
But it's nice to have a main dish option, too. Stuffed acorn squash fits both of those requirements.
This meal was born from leftover gluten-free wild rice stuffing and an acorn squash that was already on hand. So, it's kinda like a main dish and side dish all in one!
Wild rice stuffed acorn squash is vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, nightshade-free and gives a substitute for nuts.
You will need these simple ingredients to make vegan stuffed acorn squash:
- Acorn Squash is the perfect size for a main dish meal. It provides a sweet and nutty flavor, the ideal vessel for the wild rice stuffing. Look for a squash that has no apparent blemishes and is mostly dark green (just a little orange remaining is ok). Picking a squash that is dark green ensures it is picked when ripe and will have a good flavor.
- Wild Rice offers a hearty and nutty base for the stuffing with robust flavor. You can use wild rice or a wild rice blend for this recipe. Adjust the cooking time according to package directions if you're using a blend.
- Shallots and Garlic provide a savory and aromatic base for the stuffing, enhancing its overall depth of flavor. Diced onion would also work in place of the shallots.
- Mushrooms add an earthy and meaty texture to the stuffing. White or cremini mushrooms both work well. If you aren’t a fan of mushrooms, vegan sausage would work great.
- Celery is essential in any stuffing for a refreshing crunch.
- Thyme and Sage boost the flavor of this dish, complementing the other ingredients.
- Dried Cranberries introduce a sweet and tart element to the stuffing. Chopped apples would also work great.
- Cannellini Beans provide a creamy and protein-rich addition to the stuffing. You could substitute your favorite beans, such as chickpeas, navy beans, and lentils.
- Almonds add a crunchy texture and nutty flavor to the stuffing. Pecans are also excellent. Use sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, or popped quinoa for a nut-free option.
Please see the recipe card at the bottom of this post for the complete list of ingredients with measurements plus recipe instructions.
How to Make Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash
Start by preheating the oven to 400°F and lining a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Carefully cut the acorn squash in half. Scoop the seeds and any stringy bits out of the squash.
Place the squash cut side down on the prepared sheet pan and roast for 25 to 30 minutes or until the skin is easily pierced with a fork.
If you're having a difficult time cutting the squash in half, place the whole squash in the preheated oven for 10 minutes or the microwave for 4 minutes.
This will soften the exterior and make it easier to cut. Reduce the roasting time by 5 to 10 minutes if you use this method.
Next, cook the wild rice in a medium pan. Using vegetable broth in place of water infuses the rice with more flavor.
While the squash is roasting and the wild rice is cooking, sauté shallot, mushrooms, celery, thyme and garlic in a little bit of water, adding more water as necessary to prevent sticking.
Once the mushrooms have started to release their liquid and are becoming tender, remove from the heat.
When the wild rice is done cooking stir it into the mushroom mixture, along with the sage, almonds, dried cranberries and cannellini beans. Cook until all ingredients are heated through.
Turn the acorn squash over and spoon the wild rice mixture into the cavity of the acorn squash.
Place back in the oven for 5 to 10 minutes if the squash needs to be rewarmed.
Serve with gluten-free gravy poured over the top if desired. Enjoy!
Make Ahead & Storage
This wild rice stuffed squash recipe can be made ahead of time. Make as directed above but refrigerate the squash and wild rice mixture separately for up to three days.
When you are ready to eat, stuff the squash and reheat in a 350°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until heated through.
What to Serve with Stuffed Acorn Squash
Acorn squash pairs well with so many wonderful fall sides, here are some ideas:
- Maple Dijon Roasted Carrots and Apples or Brussels Sprouts - The tangy and rich flavors of maple and Dijon, can complement the savory and slightly sweet notes of the stuffed acorn squash.
- Mashed Cauliflower - This mash is creamy and comforting contrasting the texture of the stuffed acorn squash nicely.
- Fall Harvest Salad - This delicious fall salad with apple chips complements the warm and hearty stuffed acorn squash.
- Zoe's Braised White Beans - Creamy rosemary garlic beans are a substantial side that offering a satisfying and comforting element to the meal.
- Gluten Free Cornbread - Is any meal complete without some bread? This light and fluffy quickbread provides a textural contrast.
Looking for more ideas for your Thanksgiving menu? Check out the Vegan Gluten-Free Thanksgiving Recipes roundup!
More Vegan Fall Dishes
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Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash
- 3 acorn squash, halved
- 1 ½ cups wild rice
- 2 ¼ cups vegetable broth
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ cup shallots, diced
- 8 ounces white or cremini mushrooms, chopped into ½” pieces
- 3 stalks celery, diced
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons sage, minced
- ½ cup sliced almonds, toasted, or sunflower seeds for nut-free
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- 2 cups cannellini beans, (or 1 15-ounce can drained and rinsed)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Carefully cut the acorn squash in half lengthwise. (Squash can be tricky to cut, so if you’re having a hard time use my pro tip below.) Scoop the seeds and any stringy bits out of the squash. Place the squash cut side down on the prepared sheet pan and roast for 25-30 minutes or until the skin is easily pierced with a fork.
- In a medium saucepan, combine the wild rice, broth and bay leaf. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 40-45 minutes, or until rice is al dente (soft, but still slightly firm when bitten). Remove from the heat, allow to sit for 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork and set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat a few tablespoons of water over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the shallot, mushrooms, celery, thyme and garlic and cook until shallot and celery have softened and the mushrooms have started releasing their juices, about 6-8 minutes. Add more water as necessary during cooking to prevent sticking. When the wild rice is done cooking stir it into the mushroom mixture, along with the sage, almonds, dried cranberries and cannellini beans. Cook until all ingredients are heated through.
- Turn the acorn squash over and spoon the wild rice mixture into the cavity of the acorn squash. Place back in the oven for 5-10 minutes if the squash needs to be rewarmed. Serve with gravy poured over the top if desired. Enjoy!