A quinoa and chestnut dressing stuffed into roasted butternut and kabocha squash. This hearty Thanksgiving entree is a great vegan alternative to turkey that even your non-vegan friends and family will love. All you need are 10 simple ingredients and 60 minutes to get this main dish from the cutting board to your serving platter.
Does it seem odd to anyone else that this is my very first recipe using quinoa? I mean, considering this is Cashews & Quinoa…oh well…better late than never. Anyway, I’m actually glad that this is my first quinoa recipe! This meal is outrageously simple, incredibly flavorful, and oh so satisfying. That is, after all, what we want from our main course on Thanksgiving.
Butternut and Kabocha Squash
To prepare the butternut and kabocha squash, preheat your oven to 400*F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise. Slice the kabocha squash around the middle and remove the seeds from both. Save the squash seeds for later use in this recipe.
Optional: brush or spray the cut-side of the squash with olive oil. I skipped this step and I didn’t miss the oil at all. There are so many other flavors going on that it’s no necessary. Do make sure, however, that you sprinkle the cut-side of the squash with dried sage, salt and pepper to taste. You can also add some coconut sugar as well, but I find that this squash gets a lightly sweet flavor from roasting so it’s not really necessary. Also, the kabocha squash has a slightly sweet taste on it’s own. So if you skip the coconut sugar you’ll still have a delicious piece of squash.
However you decide to season it, place the squash cut-side down on the prepared baking sheet and roast for 40-60 minutes depending on the size of the squash. The squash is finished when it is soft and caramelized. Flip the squash over and allow to rest and cool slightly.
Quinoa and Chestnut Filling
While the squash is roasting, prepare the quinoa and chestnut filling. If you haven’t already done so, rinse, drain, and cook your quinoa. Warm a large skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil or vegan butter. Cook finely diced onion and celery over medium-high heat until the onion is translucent and soft. About 3-4 minutes. At this point your celery will have a bit of a crunch still. I enjoy the texture of celery this way, however, if you want softer celery just sauté it longer. About 6-7 minutes total.
Once your onions and celery are cooked, add the seasoning: sage, truffle salt, and pepper. Don’t worry, if you don’t have truffle salt, regular salt or sea salt is a fine substitute. Also add to the pan the cooked and cooled quinoa as well as the roasted and peeled chestnuts.
Once the dressing is heated through it’s time to stuff the squash. The kabocha squash is already going to have a good sized hole left from scooping out the seeds. Depending on the size of your butternut squash, you might need to remove some of the flesh to make more room for the quinoa and chestnut dressing. Any butternut or kabocha squash that you remove can be cubed and added to the dressing or removed and used in another recipe.
Top off the squash with roasted squash seeds, dried cranberries, pomegranate arils, pecans, walnuts or any other festive and seasonal items that you might have on hand.
As always, I hope that you love this simple vegan quinoa and chestnut dressing stuffed squash as much as I do. Be sure to let me know what you think of this Thanksgiving meal down in the comments below.
Ingredient Health Benefits
Celery- vitamin A, vitamin C, B vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium
Quinoa- complete protein; rich in iron, potassium, riboflavin, B6, niacin, and thiamine; good source of magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese; anti-cancer & anti-inflammatory properties
Olive oil- monounsaturated fats
Onion- antioxidants; fiber; vitamin C; folate
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Quinoa and Chestnut Stuffed Squash
- 1 small-medum butternut squash, cut lengthwise and de-seeded
- 1 large kabocha squash, halfed and de-seeded
- 1-2 tsp coconut sugar optional for butternut squash
- 2 tbsp olive oil or vegan butter use water if oil-free
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 4 stalks celery, finely diced
- ½ tsp sage, plus more for sprinkling on squash
- truffle salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 6.5 oz chestnuts, cooked and peeled
- 3 cups cooked quinoa
- roasted squash seeds, for topping
- Preheat oven to 400°F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Sprinkle cut-side of squash with dried sage, salt, and pepper to taste (optional: spray squash with olive oil and top with 1-2 tsp of coconut sugar for sweetness). Place cut-side down on the prepared baking sheet and roast for 40-60 minutes depending on size of the squash. When fork tender, remove from the oven and allow to cool. While squash is cooking prepare the quinoa and chestnut dressing.
Quinoa and Chestnut Dressing
- Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil (or water if oil-free) or vegan butter. Once hot, add diced onion and celery. Cook for 3-4 minutes until soft.
- To the onion and celery, add sage, truffle salt, pepper, chestnuts, and cooked quinoa. Cook just long enough to warm up the quinoa and chestnuts. Once warmed fill squash with dressing. Top with roasted squash seeds.