Stuffed Butternut Squash

published Oct 4, 2023
Stuffed Butternut Squash Recipe

Make stuffed butternut squash filled with mushrooms, greens, and whole grains as a hearty vegetarian main or a delicious side dish.

Serves2 to 4

Prep20 minutes

Cook1 hour 5 minutes

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Overhead view of one and a half pieces of the stuffed butternut squash on a white oval platter, topped with cheese and kale.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: Rachel Perlmutter

Stuffed butternut squash is the ultimate vegetarian showstopper. Served in roasted squash halves, its hearty filling of whole grains, leafy greens, mushrooms, and dried cherries will leave you feeling cozy and nourished. As an added bonus, it looks absolutely gorgeous on a serving platter.

This dish is great (and filling!) on its own, but stuffed butternut squash could also make a fantastic side dish at your next gathering or weeknight dinner. And because it’s endlessly customizable, you should think of this recipe as a delicious starting point. Add crumbled sausage, swap in veggies you have on hand, or add spices to make it your own.

Ingredients in Stuffed Butternut Squash

Butternut squash. Choose a large butternut squash with a wider neck so it has maximum space for all that delicious filling.
Cooked grains. You can use wild rice, farro, brown rice, or any whole grain you prefer! Cook it ahead of time for easier prep.
Mushrooms. Use a blend of cremini and shiitake or oyster mushrooms for a deep umami flavor.
Hearty greens. Cut curly kale into bite-sized pieces before stirring it in so the filling is evenly distributed.
Herbs. Fresh sage and dried oregano work together to bring the fall flavor.
Dried fruit. Dried cherries or cranberries add a touch of sweetness to balance out the savory filling.
Acid. Lemon juice adds brightness and cuts through the rich filling.

Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: Rachel Perlmutter

Should I Peel My Butternut Squash Before Roasting?

While you would normally peel butternut squash before cutting it into pieces, you should leave the skin on for stuffed butternut squash dishes. The skin helps trap heat during cooking, which steams the squash and cooks it evenly throughout. Plus, it provides structure, helping to hold all of the filling. Without the skin, the tender cooked squash wouldn’t hold up to the toppings.

How to Make Stuffed Butternut Squash

  • Roast the squash. Halve a large butternut squash and scoop out the seeds. Drizzle with olive oil and roast, cut-side down until tender and caramelized.
  • Make the filling. Sauté mushrooms until browned, then add walnuts, dried cherries, and kale. Finish off the stuffing with cooked whole grains.
  • Prep the squash. Use the back of a spoon to create a well in the center of the squash so you can get as much filling on top as possible.
  • Fill the squash. Load the squash halves up with as much filling as possible. You can serve any extra filling on the side.
  • Warm the filling. If needed, return the stuffed squash to the oven for a few minutes until everything is warmed through.

Ways to Customize Stuffed Butternut Squash

  • Add protein. If you aren’t vegetarian, sweet Italian sausage or crispy crumbled bacon would fit in perfectly with this flavor profile.
  • Switch up the greens. Dark leafy greens like chard, Tuscan kale, collard greens, or spinach can stand in for curly kale.
  • Add leftovers. Think of this recipe as a blueprint and fill it in with whatever bits and bobs are in your refrigerator. Cheddar or goat cheese would be delicious in place of Parmesan, and you can add leftover vegetables and herbs you have on hand.
  • Make it vegan. Skip the Parmesan for a filling plant-based meal.

Stuffed Butternut Squash Recipe

Make stuffed butternut squash filled with mushrooms, greens, and whole grains as a hearty vegetarian main or a delicious side dish.

Prep time 20 minutes

Cook time 1 hour 5 minutes

Serves 2 to 4

Nutritional Info


  • 1

    large butternut squash (about 2 pounds)

  • 4 tablespoons

    olive oil, divided

  • 1 teaspoon

    kosher salt, divided, plus more as needed

  • 1 pound

    assorted fresh mushrooms, such as cremini, button, shiitake, or oyster

  • 1

    medium shallot

  • 2 cloves


  • 1/2

    medium lemon

  • 1/2 cup


  • 8 ounces

    curly kale (about 1 small to medium bunch)

  • 2 sprigs

    fresh sage

  • 2 ounces

    Parmesan cheese (about 3/4 cup freshly grated or 1/2 cup store-bought grated), divided (optional)

  • 1 teaspoon

    dried oregano

  • 1/4 cup

    dried pitted cherries or cranberries

  • 1 cup

    cooked farro, wild rice, or brown rice

  • 2 tablespoons

    soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon

    maple syrup

  • 1/4 teaspoon

    freshly ground black pepper


  1. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 400ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Trim the stem end from 1 large butternut squash, then halve the squash lengthwise. Scrape out the seeds and any stringy bits with a spoon and discard. Brush the cut sides of squash with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and season with 1/2 teaspoon of the kosher salt. Place the squash cut-side down on the baking sheet.

  2. Bake until fork-tender and browned around the edges, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, peel and thinly slice 1 medium shallot (about 1/2 cup). Trim the stems from 1 pound assorted fresh mushrooms, then cut into small dice (about 4 1/2 cups). Thinly slice 2 garlic cloves. Juice 1/2 medium lemon until you have 1 tablespoon.

  3. Coarsely chop 1/2 cup walnuts. Pick the leaves from 8 ounces curly kale and discard the stalks. Stack the leaves and chop into bite-sized pieces (about 3 packed cups). Pick the leaves from 2 fresh sage sprigs, then coarsely chop (about 2 tablespoons). Finely grate 2 ounces Parmesan cheese (about 3/4 cup), or measure out 1/2 cup store-bought grated if using.

  4. When the squash is ready, remove the baking sheet from the oven. Using tongs, carefully flip the squash halves so they are cut-side up.

  5. Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the shallot and mushrooms and toss to coat in the oil. Spread the mushrooms into an even layer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms and shallots are browned, about 10 minutes.

  6. Add the garlic, walnuts, and 1 teaspoon dried oregano. Cook, stirring frequently, until the walnuts are fragrant and lightly toasted, about 3 minutes. Add the kale, 1/4 cup dried cherries or cranberries, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the kale is wilted and bright green, about 3 minutes.

  7. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the sage, lemon juice, 1 cup cooked farro, wild rice, or brown rice, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, 1/4 teaspoon black pepper, and half of the Parmesan cheese if using. Stir to combine. Taste and season with kosher salt as needed.

  8. Using the back of a spoon, gently press down on the flesh of the squash in the neck to make a boat-like cavity for the filling. Divide the filling between the squash halves, filling the cavity and covering as much of the squash as you can (you may have leftover filling).

  9. Return the baking sheet to the oven. Bake until the filling is warmed through, 5 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan cheese, if using. Serve with any remaining filling on the side.

Recipe Notes

Make ahead: The squash can be roasted and the filling can be made up to 1 day in advance. Refrigerate in separate airtight containers. Assemble and bake as directed, it will need more baking time to warm through.

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.