Wild rice stuffed acorn squash is an easy, healthy and nutritious vegetarian dish featuring roasted acorn squash halves filled with wild rice, mushrooms and cranberries. A show-stopping dish for the holidays that also makes a cozy weeknight dinner. Note that the recipe is naturally gluten-free and can easily be adapted in a vegan version too.
I bet you will love everything about this vegetarian stuffed acorn squash recipe. The texture of course, the earthy flavors, and all the vibrant colors. Whether you’re vegetarian, gluten-free, both, or simply want to enjoy a warm comforting meal that is simple enough to put together on a relaxed weeknight, this dish is for you.
The recipe comes in two parts: the mushroom and wild rice stuffing on one hand, and the roasted acorn squash halves on the other hand. The first one can be prepared ahead of time to spare you some precious time, and it can also make a whole dish on its own. The roasted acorn squash halves can also be enjoyed separately, as a side to another dish. Consider this three recipes in one!
What goes into wild rice stuffed acorn squash?
- Acorn squash. This is where you’ll put the wild rice stuffing in. Alternatively, you can use butternut squash instead.
- Wild rice. I use a wild rice blend consisting of long grain brown rice, sweet brown rice, wild rice, red rice and black rice. It has a more nutty, earthy flavor than white rice, bringing a special touch to the stuffing. The recipe also works with white or brown rice.
- Wild mushrooms. Any mushroom would do in this recipe, from the white button mushrooms to the oyster mushrooms, including shiitake, trumpet, or cremini to name just a few.
- Dried Cranberries. Add them to the rice just before all the cooking water is absorbed. The fruit will be plumper, juicier, and softer.
- Shallots. This brings out the flavor in the wild rice stuffing. Red onion could do too, but I find that shallots have a more subtle and delicate flavor.
- Spices. Both nutmeg and cinnamon go into this wild rice casserole.
Optional: If you happen to have some cooked diced butternut squash leftovers from another recipe, add them to the rice stuffing. It’s delicious!
A simple 5-step recipe
This wild rice stuffed acorn squash recipe requires five simple steps. Find more detailed instructions in the recipe card below.
- Start with making the seasoned olive oil mixture.
- Roast the acorn Squash halves, generously brushed with half of the olive oil mixture, and placed cut side up onto the baking sheet. Make a few slits in the flesh to ensure an even roasting.
- Then cook the rice, adding the dried cranberries at the very end and just before all the cooking water is absorbed. Add the remaining olive mixture off the heat, cover, and let sit until liquid is absorbed.
- Saute the shallots and the wild mushrooms in a large saute pan with some butter. Then add the rice and stir.
- Stuff the acorn squash halves with the mushroom wild rice stuffing, and bake for about 5-10 minutes. Then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and bake 5 additional minutes.
My favorite way to slice acorn squash
There are two ways to cut acorn squash in half. You can stand your acorn squash vertically and cut from top to bottom, or you can cut lengthwise. This last option is my preferred method because it creates some lovely flower-shape halves.
I recommend using a sharp chef’s knife and a sturdy cutting board. Cut off the very top and bottom of each squash to create a flat base on each side (being careful not to cut through the center cavity), and then slice the squash in half, scraping out the seeds to create individual bowls for the stuffing. Easy!
What can I use instead of acorn squash? I find that acorn squash is just perfect for stuffing. It has the right portion size for one serving, with a tender and sweet flesh. Another option is to replace acorn squash with butternut squash, cut halfway lengthwise.
How to eat this wild rice stuffed acorn squash? While acorn squash skin is edible, it can be quite tough, so I usually dig in with a fork, grabbing the squash flesh and the rice stuffing, and simply leave the shell of skin behind.
How to eat this wild rice stuffed acorn squash? This recipe could be served as a side or as a main, vegetarian dish. I would rather go for the second option as the halves are really filling so you don’t really need to add much more to your plate in my opinion. A side of lettuce with vinaigrette would be a perfect complement to this wild rice stuffed acorn squash.
Can I make it vegan? You sure can. The only ingredient that is not vegan in the recipe is the grated Parmesan cheese. You can simply skip it to make the recipe vegan, or alternatively use nutritional yeast to recreate the cheesy flavors.
Can I make it ahead of time? Yes, you can definitely prepare the wild rice stuffing ahead of time, up to 2 to 3 days in advance. Then, you can simply roast the acorn squash and assemble the recipe the day you are planning to serve it. It goes also to prepare everything the day before but I find that the acorn squash flesh is better when roasted the same day.
More recipes with roasted vegetables:
- Cranberry Quinoa Stuffed Roasted Butternut Squash
- Soy Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Cashew Sauce
- Fall Harvest Chickpea Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
- Maple Roasted Root Vegetables with Parsnip Puree
- Balsamic Brussels Sprouts with Goat Cheese Polenta
- Cauliflower Steaks with Harissa Tahini Sauce
- To go further, browse these 20 Vegetarian Pumpkin Recipes
Lastly, if you make this Wild Rice Stuffed Acorn Squash recipe, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating, letting me know how you liked it. And of course, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Thank you and enjoy!Print
Wild rice stuffed acorn squash is an easy, healthy and nutritious vegetarian dish featuring roasted acorn squash halves filled with wild rice, mushrooms and cranberries.
- 2 medium acorn squash
- 3 to 4 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 3 Tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 cup (200g) wild rice, rinsed
- ¾ cup (100g) dried cranberries
- 1 Tablespoon (15g) unsalted butter
- 2–3 shallots, chopped
- ½ pound (220g) wild mushrooms, rinsed and dried
- 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
- Optional: 1 cup (200g) diced butternut squash, diced*
- ¼ cup (30g) shredded parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Combine 3 Tablespoons olive oil, maple syrup, vinegar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper in a bowl. Set aside.
- Using a sharp knife cut off the very top and bottom of each squash to create a flat base on each side (being careful not to cut through the center cavity). Slice the squash in half, scraping out the seeds to create individual bowls for the stuffing. Generously brush each squash half with about half of the olive oil mixture. Place cut side up on the prepared baking sheet, make a few slits in the flesh using a pairing knife (this will ensure an even roasting), and roast for 40-50 minutes, or until fork tender.
- Place the rinsed rice in a pot with 3 times its volume of water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover, and continue to cook until all water is absorbed, adding the dried cranberries a couple of minutes before you turn off the heat. Remove from heat, add the remaining half of the olive oil mixture, cover again and let sit covered, so the steam will plump the rice and fruits. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.
- In a large skillet, heat one Tablespoon butter on medium heat. Once hot, add the shallots and cook until soft and translucent, about a minute or two. Add the wild mushrooms and sauté for one more minute, until soft. Sprinkle with thyme, stir, and cook for another minute. Add the mushroom mixture to the cooked rice and stir well.
- Once Squash has finished roasting, remove from the oven and fill each half with prepared stuffing mixture.
- Bake for about 5-10 minutes, then remove and sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top. Bake 5 additional minutes, until the cheese is melted. Serve warm.
* I like to use butternut squash leftovers to add to my wild rice stuffing. This could also be a great option if you decide to serve the wild rice on its own. It will make it more nutritious and loaded with flavors.
Keywords: Wild rice stuffed acorn squash