Ingredients: The perfect Vegan centerpiece. Prep Time: 30 min Cook Time: 1 hr 30 min Total Time: 2 hrs.
For the Butternut Squash:
- 1 Butternut Squash
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (evoo/first cold pressed)
For the Stuffing:
- 1 tablespoon e.v.o.o.
- 2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 ribs celery, finely chopped
- 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup wild rice
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 cup white rice (I used arborio)
- 1/2 cup walnuts chopped (optional)
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries (raisins, dried cherries, or dried apricots)
- 1 teaspoon fresh sage, chopped
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- Preheat your oven to 350F (180C)
- To make the butternut squash: Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out and discard the seeds, then put both halves on a baking tray, cut side up. Drizzle the olive oil on top of each squash, spread evenly all over to coat. Bake 50-60 minutes, until fork tender. Be careful not to overcook the squash as it will still bake more when assembled and reheated later.
- Once baked, remove the squash from the oven. Let it cool enough so you can handle it. Gently scoop out the flesh in the center of squash halves, leaving about 1-inch border all around. I like to score a line with the tip of my spoon, before I start scooping. Set aside the scooped out squash flesh and chop it up into small bite size pieces.
- To make the stuffing: In the meantime when the squash is baking, you can prepare the stuffing. In a large pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. When hot, sauté the carrots, celery, onion, and garlic until the veggies soften and begin to brown. Add the wild rice and veggie broth to the pan, give it a stir, then cover and bring to a simmer. Cook for 15-20 minutes. Now add the white rice to the pan, cover, and continue cooking another 15-20 minutes. until the rice has cooked and fully absorbed the broth.
- Add in the walnuts, dried cranberries, sage, thyme, salt and pepper. When ready, add in the scooped out and chopped squash flesh. Stir gently to combine all ingredients.
- To stuff the squash: Pack in as much of the stuffing into both sides of the squash as you can. You will likely have leftovers. At this point you can choose to let it cool, cover with foil and store in fridge up to 3 days until ready to bake. Or you can bake it right away.
- Ready to bake, lightly brush top with more olive oil. Bake for 20-35 min until heated all the way through. Season the top with cracked pepper, and a sprinkle of chopped sage. Serve and enjoy!
NOTES: The squash and stuffing can be made separately ahead of time, then assembled when ready to bake and serve.