Harvest Stuffed Balsamic Butternut Squash


This Balsamic Lentil and Mushroom Stuffed Butternut Squash is so delicious, hearty, and filling. It is the perfect vegan and comforting dish for the holidays, packed with flavor and good nutrients. It has the caramelized and buttery butternut squash, the protein and heartiness from the lentils, the flavor punch from the mushrooms, the caramelized onions, and as the cherry on top: the delicious and crunchy chickpeas. You are going to love it. Actually… everyone’s going to love it! (Ruben, that doesn’t like butternut squash really enjoyed it, so it can only mean it is really good!)


To make this dish you are going to need:

Butternut Squash: did you know that one cup of this orange-fleshed squash of cooked butternut squash provides more than 450% of the RDI for vitamin A and over 50% of the RDI for vitamin C? Both vitamins work as strong antioxidants, protecting your cells from damage caused by free radicals.

Lentils: for this dish, I chose brown lentils, which hold their shape well after cooking. Lentils are an inexpensive substitution for animal protein, as they are made of 25% protein and one cup of cooked lentils gives you ~ 18g of protein, 90% of the RDI of folate, and 37% of the RDI of iron. But, I always recommend the ingestion of at least two types of plant protein per meal, ideally a grain/nut/seed and a legume, in order to ingest a sufficient amount of each essential amino acid. In this dish, you can find two types of legumes (lentils and chickpeas) and one grain (Portuguese cornbread).

Mushrooms: full of umami flavor, mushrooms are also a great source of non-nutritive plant substances – polysaccharides, indoles, polyphenols, and carotenoids that have shown antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer effects, in cell and animal studies.

Chickpeas: for this dish, we’re going to roast them in the oven, along with the butternut squash, until they get delicious and crispy. They are going to add an amazing crunch to the dish. You can find the full recipe for Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas right here!

Portuguese cornbread or “broa de milho”: The Portuguese cornbread is a traditional bread made with cornflour, with a thick and crunchy crust and a slightly moist golden inside. It has nothing to do with the well known sweet cornbread. It is salty but slightly sweet at the same time, and I would dare to say this is my favorite Portuguese bread. And I have to be honest, during cold times there’s nothing better than eating traditional and local foods, so this is why I couldn’t leave this bread out of this dish. If you can’t find cornbread you could substitute it with crusty rustic whole-grain bread.

Teriyaki sauce: I know, I know. This ingredient seems like it doesn’t belong in this ingredient list. But for me, oh if it does! It’s sweetness and umami flavor pairs so well with the rest of the flavors. Just give it a try.

Balsamic vinegar: to glaze the pumpkin and add to the filling. The right amount of tartness and smokiness.

Onion and garlic: nothing to say. A staple in Portuguese cuisine and you’ll find them in almost every single one of my dishes. Beginners’ cooking tip: start by sauteing the onions and only when they’re getting golden and translucid add the garlic. This way the onions will cook thoroughly and the garlic won’t burn.

Herbs and spices: cumin, fresh parsley, salt, pepper, paprika…


More pumpkin / squash recipes:

Butternut Squash Oasis Salad
Pumpkin Cornmeal Porridge
Pumpkin Pie Overnight Oats

Lentils and Mushroom Stuffed Balsamic Butternut Squash

Flavorful and hearty balsamic roasted butternut squash filled with a delicious mushroom, lentil, and cornbread teriyaki filling. Comforting and so filling.
Servings 2 people
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour


Balsamic-Glazed Butternut Squash

  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • half tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • pinch salt
  • 1 butternut squash

Mushroom and Lentil Filling

  • 1 cup of green lentils
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves chopped
  • 200 g mushrooms
  • 100 g Portuguese cornbread or rustic crusty bread crumbled
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp teriyaki sauce
  • half tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 3 tbsp fresh chopped parsley and more to top
  • pepper to taste

To top

  • Roasted crunchy chickpeas
  • Fresh chopped parsley


  • Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Without peeling the squash, cut it lengthwise from tip to root and remove the seeds with a spoon.
  • Mix all the ingredients from the glaze and coat the butternut squash with them.
  • Prepare the chickpeas to roast – according to the recipe linked above (in the text body).
  • Place the squash and chickpeas in a baking tray and roast them for 30 to 40 minutes or until tender.
  • While the squash roasts, prepare the filling, starting by cooking the lentils in boiling salted water for 15 to 20 minutes.
  • In the meantime sauté the chopped onion and garlic cloves in the olive oil until translucid and golden.
  • Cut the mushrooms into cubes and add them to the frying pan, along with the bread, letting everything sauté in medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes.
  • Season the mushrooms with salt, cumin, pepper, chopped parsley, balsamic vinegar, and teriyaki sauce and let cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  • Once the squash is cooked, fill it with the filling and top with the crunchy chickpeas and more fresh chopped parsley.
  • Enjoy!
Author: Ana Rebelo
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Mediterranean
Keyword: Easy, Healthy, Plant-based, Vegan

I love seeing pictures of your remakes of Zest’s recipes. If you try this recipe take a picture and tag @zest.andthecity on Instagram or use the hashtag #zestandthecity, so I can see and share your remakes. Join our community on InstagramFacebook and, YouTube! Love, Ana.


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