Recipe of the day: Joyful Stuffed Butternut Squash

For vegetarians or vegans, festive dishes are not too kind to their dietary needs. For Meatless Mondays and future Christmas dinner or lunch recipe ideas, cater to them by making this delicious stuffed pumpkin that can be made throughout December as a meal or side dish.

The ingredients in this stuffed butternut squash are pretty cheerful, including cranberry sauce, blueberries, and chestnuts.

Chestnuts can be hard to find in South Africa, you can use pecans, macadamia nuts, hazelnuts or pistachios to make the stuffed pumpkin.

Stuffed Christmas pumpkin


3 medium-sized pumpkins

For the filling:

  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1/2 cup chestnut mushrooms
  • 1 cup of chestnuts
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic flakes or powder
  • 1 onion
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 5-6 sage leaves
  • A handful of parsley
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup just for glazing
  • Cranberry sauce to drizzle

ALSO TRY: Recipe of the day: It’s time to make this Christmas cake


  1. The first step in making this stuffed pumpkin is to make the first roast of the pumpkin. Preheat the oven to 375ºF / 190ºC (or 325ºF / 170ºC fan) and start by cutting the squash in half and scooping out the seeds. I like to use a scoop on the melon baller / ice cream scoop. Anything similar to a spoon works amazingly, I’ve found.
  2. Lightly brush the pumpkin flesh with maple syrup, then season lightly with a little salt and pepper.
  3. Then put it in the oven for about 40 minutes. Check the squash after 30 minutes to see how soft the flesh is. Although it will be put back in the oven later, I like the meat to be cooked until tender at this point.
  4. Meanwhile, while the pumpkin is roasting in the oven, it’s time to prepare the filling.
  5. To prepare the rice, first make sure to rinse it well in a colander a few times, until the water runs clear.
  6. Next, bring 1.5 liters of water to a boil. Add the rice and cook for 30 minutes. Turn off the heat and drain the remaining water from the pan, then cover the pan with a lid and steam for 5-10 minutes.
  7. While the rice is cooking, you can prepare the rest of the filling. Start by finely chopping the onion, mushrooms and chestnuts.
  8. Heat some olive oil in a large pan and add the garlic and onion. Fry them for 1-2 minutes so that they sweat and start to soften.
  9. Add the mushrooms and chestnuts and stir well. fry for another minute and then add the parsley and cinnamon. Stir well.
  10. Finally, add the blueberries and the cooked rice. Stir well and cook for another 4-5 minutes until the blueberries have softened.
  11. Once all the elements are ready, simply let the pumpkin cool until you can handle it. You’ll need some kitchen twine or other oven-safe yarn at this point.
  12. Fill half of the squash with the filling, making sure to fill it generously. Then cover with the second half.
  13. Use the string to tie the pumpkin. This will depend on the size of the pumpkin, but I like to do this in 3-4 different places.
  14. Glaze with maple syrup and return to the oven for another 10-15 minutes. If you’re feeling cheeky, you can even add a final glaze when you take it out of the oven.
  15. This vegan stuffed pumpkin Christmas dish is ready to serve! Simply leave the string in place and with a sharp knife you can slice into portions – a wonderful vegan roast!

This recipe can be found at

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