The combination of so many fall flavors (squash, wild rice, cranberries, pecans, maple syrup...) makes this Wild Rice Stuffed Squash recipe a perfect Fall side dish.
And this recipe was the perfect side dish for our Great 8 themed dinner "Friendsgiving!" The flavors, all reminders of Thanksgiving, were delicious!
The eight of us gathered as friends for a Thanksgiving meal ~ my favorite meal to make! I make Thanksgiving dinner for my family every year and have always wanted to have friends over for Thanksgiving and celebrate Friendsgiving!
It was fun to serve this side dish as the presentation is so colorful and looks impressive even though it is quite easy to prepare!
It is always nice to have recipes that you can make the day ahead of time allowing less stress the day of the party. I made the rice mixture a day ahead and baked the squash earlier in the day.
Then shortly before dinner was served, the squash was stuffed and warmed in the oven. This Wild Rice Stuffed Squash could easily be a meal on its own. Enjoy!
More Great Fall Recipes:
- Rosemary and Spice Nuts
- Butternut Squash Soup
- Spicy Pumpkin Soup
- Homemade Pumpkin Irish cream
- Wild Rice with Mushrooms
Wild Rice Stuffed Squash
- 2 acorn squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¾ cup finely chopped onion
- 3 stalks celery, chopped finely
- ¾ cup finely chopped mushrooms, use any mushroom you like
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup wild rice
- 2 cups vegetable stock, chicken stock can also be used
- ½ cup pecans, chopped and toasted (see Gr8 Tip below)
- ½ cup dried cranberries
- 2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Brush the outside edges of the squash with the olive oil and place cut side down on a baking sheet. (I cover the baking sheet with parchment paper for an easy clean up.) Roast for 40-45 minutes until the squash is tender.
- While the squash is baking, heat the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
- Add the onion, celery and mushrooms and season with the salt and pepper. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes just until softened.
- Add the garlic and cook another minute.
- Add the rice and stock and bring the mixture to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to a low simmer, cover the pan, and cook for 45-55 minutes. The liquid will be absorbed when done.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the pecans, cranberries, maple syrup, orange zest, and thyme.
- Spoon the rice into the cavities of the squash and serve or set aside until ready to serve (See Gr8 Make Ahead Tip below.)
Gr8 Tip:You can toast chopped nuts in the microwave, in a dry skillet on your stove-top, or toast them in the oven by simply spreading them on a baking pan and bake at 350°F until golden brown, stirring often. Generally, nuts will be toasted in 6-10 minutes. Be sure to watch them, though, the high fat content can scorch quickly.
Gr8 Make Ahead Tip:Both the squash and rice can be made in the morning to serve later in the day. Follow the instructions above through #8. Cover the squash and rice separately and refrigerate. Before serving, bring the squash and rice to room temperature. Spoon the rice into the cavities of the squash and cover the pan with foil. Bake at 350°F for about 15 minutes just to heat through.