Small sweet dumpling squash stuffed with lemony rice make adorable individual side or main dishes for any holiday celebration.
One of my favorite ways to cook winter squash is to roast it simply with lemon, salt, and pepper, as I did in this dish featuring quinoa. So when I brought home several beautifully striped sweet dumpling squash and started thinking about how to use them, my first impulse was toward the simple lemon treatment.
But these little cuties were just the perfect size for stuffing, and it would have been a shame not to take advantage of that. I decided to combine the two impulses and stuff them with a old favorite—lemon-herb rice.
I start by roasting the squash in the oven so they get a delicious, caramelized flavor. Then I stuff them with brown rice seasoned with fresh lemon and herbs—parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme, of course!
I served these stuffed squash as a side rather than a main dish, alongside baked tofu. But if you’d like to make them the centerpiece of a meal, try sautéing cubes of lemon-marinated tempeh along with the onion and increase the amount of soy sauce and herbs a little.
If you’re preparing them for your holiday meal, they can be made ahead of time: After you fill the cooked squash with the rice mixture, cover them tightly and refrigerate. Put them into the oven about a half hour before serving.
More Winter Squash Recipes
If you like this dish, be sure to check out all of my pumpkin and winter squash recipes. Currently I have over 35 of them, from soups to breakfast dishes to desserts!
Sweet Dumpling Squash Stuffed with Lemon-Herb Rice
- 3 Sweet Dumpling or other small winter squash
- 1 onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 3 cups cooked brown rice
- 1/4 cup water
- juice of 1/2 large lemon (such as Meyer)
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce or coconut aminos
- 1/8 cup minced fresh parsley
- 1/8 cup minced fresh sage
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or 1 tablespoon fresh, minced
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts lightly toasted (may omit for nut-free diets)
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 400F. Cut the squash in half and remove seeds and strings. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place face-down on an oiled baking sheet (I used a silicone sheet liner). Bake for 30 minutes, or until tender. (Different types of squash will take different lengths of time. Test by piercing with a fork in thickest areas.) Remove from oven but keep oven turned on.
- While the squash are cooking, prepare the lemon-herbed rice. Heat a non-stick pan and sauté the onion until it begins to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the rice, 1/4 cup water, lemon juice and zest, soy sauce, and herbs. Stir well, cover, and cook on low heat just until warm. Add the toasted pine nuts and salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
- Stuff the rice into the cavities of the squash. Place them upright in a baking dish and drizzle about a teaspoon of water over each. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for about 20 minutes, until hot throughout. Serve warm, garnished with additional fresh herbs, if desired.
Nutritional info is approximate.
See these stuffed squash on the cover of Nava Atlas’s Vegan Holiday Kitchen, featuring photos by me!
Please Pin and Share:
mxtineJuly 17, 2010 at 2:07 pm
This was my first time trying sweet dumpling squash. It’s mild and creamy. This recipe is delicious!!!
TriciaSeptember 27, 2010 at 7:40 pm
What a wonderful recipe! The rice was full of flavor and the squash was a divine combination. Thanks for sharing!
MareileNovember 19, 2010 at 2:14 pm
Now I finally know what those tiny pumpkins and squashes are good for! Delicious =D
April at Kitchen Blender ReviewsNovember 22, 2010 at 9:38 pm
I have had two little acorn squash setting on my counter for some time. The cute winter squash are so cute, but my creative recipes for cooking it are few. I love that they are nice serving bowls too. Beautiful pictures.
I can’t wait to try this recipe. I think I may sub millet for the rice. I am trying that grain out and need ideas to use it up.
SharonNovember 26, 2010 at 3:56 pm
Thank you! This was the star of our newly vegan Thanksgiving table.
When does your cookbook get published?
Carolyn McGoldrickDecember 12, 2010 at 8:21 pm
Thank you so much for this recipe. I’m always looking for new ways to make Fall/Winter Squash because I love them. This one was so good! Absolutely loved it and will definitely make it again and again. The one thing I did differently was use Braggs Liquid Aminos instead of soy sauce and didn’t use the pine nuts because I’m allergic, but other than that, I pretty much stuck to the recipe. Thanks again!
ZirconiaNovember 6, 2011 at 12:19 am
do you think subbing quinoa (sp?) for the rice would work well in this?
Susan VoisinNovember 6, 2011 at 6:21 am
I think it’d be delicious!
GingerNovember 14, 2011 at 6:07 pm
I just bought one of these and will prepare it this way. Plus, I’m going to save the seeds to plant in my garden next summer.
ErinNovember 16, 2011 at 8:51 am
Isn’t this the cover shot for Nava Atlas’ new book?
Susan VoisinNovember 16, 2011 at 9:15 am
Yes! It’s one of several in the book that appeared first on this blog. I shot the rest of the photos specifically for Nava.
ErinNovember 16, 2011 at 12:05 pm
It’s gorgeous, and was a big part of getting me to buy the book without being able to look inside — sounds like I should be buying your book instead! Is the recipe in there? Mine should be waiting when I get home, but I haven’t seen it yet!
Susan VoisinNovember 16, 2011 at 12:13 pm
Thanks! They didn’t use my recipe for this (though I have 5 others in the book) but Nava has at least two stuffed squash recipes and one is so similar that it looks like this photo. It’s called Rice and Pecan-Stuffed Squash and it’s on page 24. I hope you like the book!
B'klynHeartNovember 19, 2011 at 3:55 pm
I can’t wait to try that! I’m getting to know all of my squashes and that just looks so beautiful… and the recipe sounds like it also *tastes* beautiful! Thank you!
ColleenNovember 5, 2012 at 6:27 pm
This was great! We cooked extra squash and added two cans of Navy Beans and had leftover for the next day lunch.
Thanks for the great recipe that the whole family loved.
KorineNovember 20, 2012 at 7:16 pm
I’m embarrassed to even be asking this question because I think I know the answer, but I’m just learning to cook with winter squash… You do eat the fleshy inside part of the squash, right? So as you go to get a bite of rice, you scrape off some squash with the spoon?
Hoping to do a trial run of this recipe for Christmas dinner on Thanksgiving!
Susan VoisinNovember 20, 2012 at 7:27 pm
That’s exactly right, Korine! I always try to get a bite of both when I eat stuffed squash. I hope you enjoy the recipe!
KorineNovember 22, 2012 at 2:01 pm
They were delicious! I couldn’t decide if I wanted the squash stuffed with brown rice or quinoa, so I used a mixture of both. 🙂 These adorable squash will be joining your seitan roulade on the table for Christmas! Thanks so much!
NadiaOctober 1, 2021 at 5:24 pm
The rice is totally undercooked ! I am going to take it off from the squash and cook it through back in the pan.
TasOctober 20, 2021 at 10:07 am
Recipe calls for cooked rice…..