Creamy Lentil Stuffed Butternut Squash

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Roasted butternut squash gets stuffed with the most flavorful, umami-packed lentil filling, then drizzled with a creamy sauce made from the scooped out butternut squash. A hearty and satisfying main course for any winter dinner, especially holiday meals!
Prep Time: 25 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr 10 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 35 mins
5 from 20 votes

When it comes to the holidays, I always appreciate a hearty and meaty main dish that is meat-free (obviously). It’s a great way to show your family and friends that vegan recipes can be incredibly satisfying and don’t require your tastebuds to sacrifice anything. Which is why I’m sharing Creamy Lentil Stuffed Butternut Squash!

It’s hearty and creamy and packed with so much flavor, but it’s completely vegan, gluten-free, and won’t weigh you down. The lentil filling is rich, creamy, and packed with such incredible flavor (sticky browned onions, lots of garlic and fresh herbs, red wine, tahini, and balsamic vinegar).

The filling honestly tastes meaty, which is crazy because there’s no meat or meat substitute in it. My partner said this recipe gets a 10 out 10 on the “umami meter.” The trio of ingredients at the end—tahini, miso, and balsamic vinegar—bring so much flavor to this dish so please don’t skip them!

The tahini brings creaminess and nuttiness, the miso brings a punch of savory richness, and the balsamic vinegar bring a slightly sweet and tangy bite.

lentil stuffed squash closeup (1 of 1).jpg
 

How to Make Creamy Lentil Stuffed Butternut Squash

First, slice your butternut squash in half, lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and gunk, then transfer the squash halves to a large baking sheet, cut side up. Brush each squash half with oil and season with salt and pepper.

Roast the squash at 425°F for 45-50 minutes until fork tender and lightly browned.

Meanwhile, make the creamy lentil filling. Dice the onions and chop the garlic, rosemary, and sage. Heat the olive oil in a deep sauté pan and add the diced onions. Cook 8-9 minutes until browned. Then add the garlic, sage, and rosemary and cook 2 minutes.

Add the tomato paste and cook for 2 minutes, then deglaze the pan with the red wine.

Pour in the vegetable broth, lentils, paprika, and bay leaf.

Simmer the lentils for about 30 minutes, or until al dente and most of the liquid is absorbed. Finally, stir in the tahini, miso, and balsamic vinegar. Add salt to taste.

When the butternut squash is cool enough to handle, scoop out most of the flesh from each half, but leave a border around the sides and bottom and don’t scoop too deeply.Add the lentil filling into each squash cavity. Bake at 350F° for 15 minutes until warmed through.

Vegan Sausage Stuffed Butternut Squash with creamy white sauce

Tips for making Creamy Lentil Stuffed Butternut Squash

When you scoop the flesh out of the roasted butternut squash, be gentle so that you don’t scoop too deeply or forcefully, or you’ll cut through the skin of the flesh.

If used rosemary and sage in this recipe, but you can use any combination of sturdy woodsy herb, including thyme and oregano.

How to make this recipe ahead of time: Make the lentil filling a day or two in advance, and store in an airtight container in the fridge. Roast the squash halves a day or two in advance, and store tightly covered or in an airtight container in the fridge. Make the butternut-tahini sauce the same day you roast the squash. On the day of serving, stuff the squash and bake in the oven for just 15 minutes!

Vegan Sausage Stuffed Butternut Squash

Creamy Lentil Stuffed Butternut Squash

5 from 20 votes
Roasted butternut squash gets stuffed with the most flavorful, umami-packed lentil filling, then drizzled with a creamy sauce made from the scooped out butternut squash. A hearty and satisfying main course for any winter dinner, especially holiday meals!
Prep Time: 25 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr 10 mins
Total Time: 1 hr 35 mins
Cuisine: American
Diet Vegan
Keyword: gluten-free, nut-free
Serving size: 6

Ingredients

  • 3 medium butternut squash
  • Regular olive oil or avocado oil for roasting
  • Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Creamy Lentil Filling

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (you will need more oil if not using a nonstick pan)
  • 2 large yellow onions, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh sage leaves
  • 2 teaspoons roughly chopped fresh rosemary leaves
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup (80 mL) dry red wine (such as Pinot Noir, Shiraz/Syrah, or Malbec)
  • 1 cup (190g) green or brown lentils
  • 2 ⅔ cups (640 mL) vegetable broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon sweet or hot paprika
  • 2 ½ tablespoons tahini
  • 2 teaspoons white miso paste
  • 2-3 teaspoons good-quality balsamic vinegar

Butternut-Tahini Sauce

  • 1 cup roasted butternut squash (from the scooped out halves)
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3-6 tablespoons water or vegetable broth, more as needed to thin the sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

Instructions

  • Roast the squash. Preheat the oven to 425°F (218°C). Slice each butternut squash in half and scoop out the seeds and sticky stuff with a spoon. Place each squash half, cut side up, on a large baking sheet and rub each with a bit of the oil and season well with salt and pepper. Roast for 45-50 minutes, or until the flesh is fork tender and lightly browned.
  • Make the Creamy Lentil Filling. Heat the 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat until hot. Add the onions and season with a pinch of salt and sauté for 8-9 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent burning but not too often so that they can brown, or until most of the onions are browned. Add the garlic, sage and rosemary and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent burning. Add the tomato paste and stir to combine into all of the ingredients, and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to medium and pour in the red wine and deglaze the pan, stirring up any browned bits, until the liquid has evaporated and the smell of alcohol has dissipated, about 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the vegetable broth, along with the lentils, bay leaf, and paprika. Stir to combine and increase the heat to bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to maintain a rapid simmer, and simmer until the lentils are just tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed, about 30 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to low. Add the tahini, miso, and balsamic vinegar, and stir until well incorporated. Taste for seasonings, adding about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon kosher salt and black pepper to taste. Set aside.
  • When the roasted squash is cool enough to handle, use a large spoon to scoop out the flesh from each squash half, leaving a ½ to ¾-inch -thick border around the sides and bottom.
  • Transfer 1 cup of the butternut squash flesh to a food processor (set aside the rest for another use, such as a risotto, pasta, oatmeal, or smoothie).
  • Reduce oven temperature to 350F° (175°C).
  • Stuff the lentil filling into each squash cavity. Add the stuffed squash halves to the oven and bake for 15 minutes, or until everything is warmed through.
  • Meanwhile, make the butternut tahini sauce. To the food processor with the 1 cup squash flesh, add the tahini, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste, and blend until smooth. Stream in the water or broth, scraping down the sides as you go, until you have a pourable but thick sauce.
  • To serve, drizzle the butternut tahini sauce on top of the stuffed baked squash. Garnish with chopped parsley, if desired.

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20 comments on Creamy Lentil Stuffed Butternut Squash

  1. Paula Ladero

    5 stars
    Lovely recipe!!! It’s very difficult to find decent-priced miso here in Spain (at least where I leave), so I had to omit it, as well as the sage leaves. Nevertheless, it still tasted amazing. My non-vegan partner absolutely loved it and we were astonished by the taste and texture of the sauce.
    And just in case anyone wants to know, I can’t eat onion, so I subbed it with carrot and some celery I had in the fridge. Works good!

    Thank you for your work! Looking forward to my bday so I can get to have your book in my hands! :)

  2. Jenny

    5 stars
    I have been searching for more vegetarian meals to make because we have a teen who no longer eats meat. I wasn’t sure about this dish because I’m just not familiar with some of the flavors, but it was so good. The depth of flavor was amazing. I will definitely make this again!

  3. Monika

    5 stars
    I didn‘t have Miso, so I skipped it. I used Puy lentils and it‘s really delicious. It‘s a keeper for me. Thank you, Monika

  4. Isabelle Senkus

    5 stars
    Really good! At first, my family were ceptical but th we y loved it

  5. Kerry

    This was delicious! The lentils were extremely rich and flavorful.

  6. Samantha

    This looks delicious! If I don’t have red wine on hand, is there a recommended substitute? Red wine vinegar? Additional vegetable broth?

    1. Nisha

      Hi Samantha, I’d just go ahead and deglaze with the vegetable broth.

  7. Anna

    5 stars
    This recipe is fan-freaking-tastic!
    I have now made at least 5 times and it tastes SO good. My husband says the taste reminds him of his moms brisket. High praise.
    Once I used dark rum to deglaze the pan as I had run out of wine and it still tasted amazing, maybe even better.

  8. Mike Graff

    Looks interesting. Do you offer cooking times to do this in Instanpot?

    1. Nisha

      Hi Mike, I have not made this recipe in the instant pot, but if you’re thinking of just cooking the lentils in the IP, I would suggest pressure cook / high pressure for 13-16 minutes.

  9. Nicole

    5 stars
    This dish is perfection! I made it after watching the youtube video. So good!

  10. Nancy Reich

    4 stars
    I made this yesterday. I used dry green lentils, next time I might use canned. I liked the hint of red wine. My husband gave it a thumbs up, kids turned up their fussy noses.

    1. Malak

      5 stars
      Thank you for this recipes, i did it 2 times now and it tastes TOP!!

  11. Maneesha

    5 stars
    Excellent recipe, Nisha! I loved it!! Thank you for posting so many tasty plant based recipes! I love the new website layout as well!

  12. Mirae

    5 stars
    Made this as a part of a Christmas lunch. It was an absolute fav from my omnivore and herbivore friends! I will definitely be remaking this recipe if I’m intending to impress some people’s socks off at a potluck or have a tasty, cozy indoor party to myself.

  13. Alison Delaney

    5 stars
    So flavorful! Made as a vegan option for Thanksgiving!

  14. Olivia Felker

    5 stars
    YUM. Content is always on point!

  15. Patrice

    Made this for Thanksgiving. The directions worked perfectly for an excellent result. Thank you Nisha!

  16. Jen

    5 stars
    I made this for thanksgiving. It was yummy and very filling.

    Thank you for making savory dishes that are never boring.

    I enjoy trying your recipes.

  17. Sebastian Daly

    5 stars
    Loved loved loved this. Perfect for thanksgiving or any cold evening.

    The lentils by themselves is now my go-to way to cook lentils. So creamy and decadent yet not heavy. Highly recommend!

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