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 very satisfying main course for any winter dinner, especially holiday meals!
Prep 25 mins
Cook 1 hr 10 mins
Total 1 hr 35 mins
5 from 66 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

Looking for more vegan holiday side dishes?

Creamy Lentil Stuffed Butternut Squash

5 from 66 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 very 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
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.

Calories: 447kcal | Carbohydrates: 60g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Sodium: 554mg | Potassium: 1392mg | Fiber: 17g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 27077IU | Vitamin C: 60mg | Calcium: 183mg | Iron: 5mg

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98 comments on Creamy Lentil Stuffed Butternut Squash

  1. Dalida O’Connor

    5 stars
    Can’t wait to try it!!!!
    Definitely I am going to, this week, sounds yummy!!! Thank you! Will get back to you guys:)))!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hope you enjoy this recipe, Dalida!

  2. Leo

    5 stars
    I am going to make this with 2 small round pumpkins instead (will cut the top to create a bowl and lid) and add some basmati rice mixed with the cooked lentils :-))

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Great, enjoy Leo!

  3. Alex

    Could you make the filling in the Instant Pot? I love the instant pot and your cookbook but haven’t quite mastered taking regular recipes to the instant pot yet.

  4. Jacqueline

    How do you serve this? Scoop it out on your plate? Cut it into slabs? Eat the outer skin?

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Jacqueline, you can cut the butternut squash into a few slabs and serve with a variety of sides. We personally love eating this stuffed squash with mashed potatoes and mac and cheese for a wonderful holiday or cold weather meal. You can definitely eat the outer skin! Enjoy!

  5. Lois

    This recipe sounds good but I do not do processed oil. I know I can brush the squash with aquafaba instead of the oil. ls the oil necessary in the butternut-tahini sauce since there is already natural oil in the tahini or is there something else I could add? Also I don’t drink alcohol so I never have wine in the house. Is this a necessary ingredient or is there some small bottle of wine I can use instead? Thanks for your help.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Lois, you can do without the oil in the tahini sauce if you’d like. You can also omit the wine and use vegetable broth instead. Because the wine is an acidic component, you may want to substitute the wine by adding a bit more of the balsamic vinegar. Enjoy!

  6. Rebecca

    Really want to try this but have quick question- developed wine allergy few years ago 🥲- is there a substitute for the red wine you’d recommend? Thanks!

    1. Lizette

      Someone asked this earlier in the comments I think they said you could deglaze the pan with extra veggie broth in place of wine

    2. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Rebecca, you can just omit the wine and add vegetable broth instead. Because you’re removing an acidic component, you may want to add a bit more additional balsamic vinegar than the recipe calls for.

  7. Scott

    5 stars
    Just made this again for Thanksgiving as a delicious main course, balanced flavor, creamy, butternut squash stuffed with rich satisfying lentils, with the Tahini sauce, full of umami. Tastes like home, a new tradition, my partner’s favorite dish. You are a goddess, Nisha!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Awesome, Scott. Thank you for your comment and for taking the time to review!

  8. Nicole

    5 stars
    I made this as a side dish for an omnivore thanksgiving at a friend’s house. It was easy enough to make while watching two little kids. :) It looked really festive — we loved it, and loved that it gave us plenty of hearty and delicious vegan thanksgiving leftovers! Thanks so much! I’ll make this again.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Nicole, So glad to hear you loved this recipe!

  9. Lesia

    5 stars
    Made the recipe this Thanksgiving and both my meat-eating boyfriend and vegetarian myself loved it. It’s fairly easy to make and it’s packed with flavor

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Lesia, So glad to hear you loved this recipe!

  10. Deb

    5 stars
    What an absolutely wonderful dish! I made it as my main for Thanksgiving yesterday and wow. My husband took one bite and gave me “the look”. I knew I’d hit it out of the park. He was floored by the the combination of flavors and textures. He said this is the first time since changing his diet that he did not miss Turkey! This is officially a mainstay for Thanksgiving going forward. Thank you so much for sharing your delicious recipes. Hope you had as great a Thanksgiving as we did.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for the lovely feedback, Deb! We are so happy to help you and your family in your plant-based journey! :)

  11. Smitha Parekh

    5 stars
    Made your Lentils for Thanksgiving w/ butternut tahini sauce and it was a big hit for everyone! Thank you for sharing this recipe.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Smitha, So glad to hear you loved this recipe!

  12. Allison Perrett

    What do you think about subbing chickpea miso for white miso? Will it make a noticeable difference?

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Allison, it shouldn’t be noticeable, as it’s not a primary ingredient!

  13. Alicia Lee

    Is there any substitute for the tahini and miso paste? I’m eating low to no fat, due to cholesterol problems.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      From Nisha: “I’m not a nutritionist, but just wanted to share that I too had high cholesterol since I was a teen, and going vegan (without eating low-fat) significantly dropped my cholesterol and it’s been normal now for 5+ years :) As for miso paste, it’s virtually fat-free. For tahini, there’s no real substitute for that if you’re on a low-fat diet, so I think you’d just need to omit it.”

  14. Meg

    5 stars
    This was amazing. My mom who is not vegan asked if there was meat in it! Tried the recipe before Thanksgiving (just to make sure we liked it) and it was a hit. So I will be bringing this dish to our Thanksgiving family dinner.

    Do you have a link to a recipe I can use the leftover butternut squash flesh with? this was my first time ever having it so I have no idea what to make with the leftover.
    Thanks!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Meg, we actually just released this recipe that would be great with the leftover butternut squash: https://rainbowplantlife.com/roasted-butternut-squash-and-cabbage-salad/

      It would also be a tasty addition to grain and veggie bowls or could even be put into a food processor to make a delicious pasta sauce: https://rainbowplantlife.com/one-pot-pumpkin-pasta/ (use the butternut squash instead of pumpkin)

  15. Brooke

    Ahhh this recipe is really really really good. My partner and I are testing out a bunch of recipes to share with our (non-vegan) family that is very wary of vegan food, and I think this may be the winner to bring for them! Roasted butternut squash is always great but combined with the creamy filling AND creamy sauce?? 10/10

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      That’s so great to hear, Brooke. We are honored! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating alongside your review? Star ratings are big help to readers who are thinking of making the recipe. Thanks!

  16. Jennifer Sumner

    Another delightful recipe! I used one fairly large squash. It’s reminiscent of the lentil shepherds pie recipe which we also like very much.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Jennifer, we’re thrilled to hear you enjoyed this recipe! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating alongside your review? Star ratings are big help to readers who are thinking of making the recipe. Thanks!

  17. Kristin Proffitt

    Out of curiosity, do you think it would still work if you subbed the garbanzo beans for the lentils?

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Kristin, yes you could do that. If using dried garbanzo beans instead of lentils it will take about twice the amount of time to cook, just FYI!

  18. Nicole

    This looks amazing! I’d love to make this for my family this year for thanksgiving. I’ll be watching my two young kiddos that day. Can you advise on which aspects of this I could prep the night before? Thank you!

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Nicole, thanks! You can prepare the filling, roast the squash and make the butternut-tahini sauce the day before and complete step 9 the day of. You may want to cook through an additional 5-10 minutes or so, because at that point all of the ingredients will be warming up from refrigerator temperatures. Happy cooking!

  19. Jennifer

    I want to try this as it sounds delicious! Is there a substitute for the red wine or can it be left out?

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Hi Jennifer, you can substitute the red wine with an equivalent amount of vegetable broth to deglaze the pan. We hope you enjoy!

  20. Shilpa Sharma

    5 stars
    This was delicious Nisha, thank you! I made the lentils in the IP to speed things up and added a tsp of marmite for extra umami.

    1. Support @ Rainbow Plant Life

      Thanks for sharing, Shilpa! So glad you enjoyed it!

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