(Note: this post was originally published on December 4, 2020. The date above reflects migration to the new platform.)
This holiday season, I'm excited to be sharing with you one of my absolute favorite dishes to make for a special late fall or winter occasion: these festive, comforting, and nourishing wild rice stuffed delicata squash halves. These can easily act as a main dish for plant-based eaters and a side dish for meat eaters, so they're the perfect addition to any holiday meal.
Everything about this dish is so festive and special because all of the ingredients are such classic winter holiday symbols. Citrus! Pomegranate! Decadent fresh figs! Walnuts! Rosemary! Everything here reminds me of the holiday table at my Italian grandmother's house.
There's something about stuffing a squash that's so symbolic of a special holiday meal. In reality, stuffed squash is pretty easy and hands-off to prepare, but yet it just seems so intricate. This is definitely a meal that you can make all winter long, yet also pull out for a special get-together because it's such a show-stopper.
Are you familiar with delicata squash? It's my secret winter squash weapon! Their long shape and striped skin are really beautiful, but perhaps more importantly they're the easiest, fastest winter squash to cook. The skin is edible, so there's no peeling, and they cook much faster than other types of winter squash. Just scoop out the seeds and roast away!
The other main ingredient here is wild rice, which takes a little while to cook but is completely worth it. You'll toss the wild rice in a flavorful dressing while it's still hot, which is my favorite way of encouraging rice to soak up flavor. Add in dried cranberries for sweetness, crunchy walnuts, and some very festive garnishes and you have yourself a totally holiday-worthy centerpiece.
I'm very happy to be collaborating with Saratoga Olive Oil to bring you this festive winter recipe. This is actually our second recipe together; remember to check out our Grilled Peach and Farro Salad too!
This stuffed squash makes use of two of Saratoga Olive Oil's most decadent, cozy, wintry products: Vermont Maple Balsamic and Rosemary Olive Oil. The combination of the two is utter winter perfection, and the sweetness of the balsamic is the most wonderful complement to the earthiness and herbaceousness of the oil.
Looking to get your hands on these beauties?? Saratoga Olive Oil ships! They have a gorgeous assortment of infused olive oils, dark balsamic vinegars, and white balsamic vinegars, as well as single-origin oils and infused sea salts. I'm very lucky to work about a mile from the store, and I walk down all the time with my empty bottles for refills.
Looking to change this recipe up? I've made it with great success using all sorts of other winter squashes (kabocha is my favorite alternative). I highly suggest adding some caramelized onions to the filling if you don't mind an extra step. You can use pecans instead of walnuts, switch up the garnishes, or use brown rice instead of wild rice. If I'm feeling really over the top, I mix in some veggie sausage that I've browned in a skillet. This recipe is really flexible, so do what you love!
If you're planning to serve this at a big holiday meal, you can easily double the recipe. The leftovers are absolutely divine, so don't hesitate to make more than you think you'll need. I've also included suggestions below for how to prep this dish in advance in order to make things more efficient on the day of the big meal.
This dish is make-ahead friendly for easy holiday entertaining. If you want to prepare these festive squash halves ahead of time, you can easily make the stuffing (rice, dressing, cranberries, and walnuts) and roast the squash a day or two in advance. Store them separately for best results. To reheat, a microwave works great and keeps them moist; otherwise, stuff the squashes and put them in a 350 degree oven in a covered baking dish until warmed through. Add the garnishes (pomegranate, citrus slices, figs) just before serving.
Here's what you'll need for this recipe, as well as some thoughts, tips, and possible substitutions. If you make any substitutions, I'd love to hear about it in the comments section below.
Isn't special holiday food just the best?? I think dishes like this are so nostalgic and comforting. Having a platter of these stuffed squash halves at your holiday get-together will be such a treat for any plant-based eaters but will also be loved by non-herbivores just as much. This dish is such a celebration of seasonal produce and special holiday ingredients.
Happy holidays! Hope your Solstice and everything else you celebrate are filled with happiness and love.
It makes me so happy to hear from you and see your creations! Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think about this recipe. If you post a photo on Instagram, hashtag #TheRogueBrusselSprout and tag me (@TheRogueBrusselSprout) in the post text so that I'm sure to see it.
Disclosure: This recipe has been developed through a paid partnership with Saratoga Olive Oil. However, all opinions and thoughts are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep The Rogue Brussel Sprout running.
This festive main course is a celebration of seasonal produce in all its glory. Sweet delicata squash gets stuffed with chewy wild rice, crunchy walnuts, juicy holiday fruits, and lots of fragrant herbs for an unforgettable holiday centerpiece.
I love to create colorful, veggie-filled, seasonal dishes that celebrate the beauty and diversity of plants. Take a look around at all my favorite recipes, there's so much to explore here!