This Christmassy butternut roast is the ultimate vegan & vegetarian Christmas dinner. Jam-packed with festive flavours , it can be made ahead and reheated on the big day, so no last minute rush!
🍽 Why you will love this recipe
This easy vegetarian Christmas centrepiece has wow-factor and tastes amazing, packed full of festive flavours with cranberries, pistachios, red wine, garlic, rosemary and thyme.
It is so easy to make, and perfect for making ahead - you can easily make it and refrigerate for up to 2 days, then just pop in the oven to reheat on the big day.
A stunning visual centrepiece to your Christmas dinner, it is a lovely vegetarian and vegan roast to carve at the table - just watch the meat-eaters tuck in too!
📝 What you need
Butternut Squash Aim for a fairly big squash which will be easier to scoop out and stuff. The long skinny ones with a big bulb at the end will make the job a bit tricker!
Puy lentils Using dried lentils in this recipe gives the roast filling a lovely texture and a bit of 'bite'. I would recommend using dried rather than tinned or pre-cooked lentils to preserve this lovely texture.
Cranberries You can use either frozen or fresh cranberries.
Red Wine If you wouldn't drink it, don't cook with it! But of course, any full-bodied red wine will be fine here, there's no need to spend a fortune or choose anything special.
👩🏽🍳 How to make your Festive Butternut Roast
For a full, printable recipe with ingredients and detailed instructions, scroll to the bottom of this page 👇🏼.
Halve and roast the butternut squash for 40-45 minutes until golden and tender. Meanwhile, fry the red onion then add puy lentils and cranberries.
Add red wine and vegetable stock, then rosemary, thyme and nutmeg. Simmer for 30 minutes. Roughly chop the pistachios and spinach and stir into the mixture. Season well.
Scoop out the flesh of the butternut squash, mash the flesh into the lentil filling, then stuff it into the empty squash halves.
Place the two halves together then tie with up with string. Bake for 10 minutes until piping hot throughout.
🎄What makes a great vegan or vegetarian Christmas Dinner?
For me, a great veggie Christmas centrepiece should be:
- Be full of festive flavours and ingredients I've had Christmas menus including 'Penne with a tomato and Mediterranean vegetable sauce', and 'Asparagus and sun-dried tomato risotto'. These are not Christmassy! Delicious, I'm sure, but give me cranberries, walnuts, nutmeg, port, rosemary and sage any day.
- Create some theatre at the table The turkey turns up at the table to oohs and ahhs, and is ceremoniously carved, whilst you plate up your sorry looking nut roast to pitying looks from around the table…. sound familiar? This Christmas, make some drama with your veggie option too.
- Avoid all the veg you will be eating with it I've had some really tasty spiced winter root vegetable pies as the main event for Christmas dinner, but realised that I was eating potato, parsnip and carrot in a pastry crust, with potato, parsnip and carrot next to it as side dishes. Don't overdo the root veg!
- Indulgent, but not too heavy! Save some space for all the trimmings, Christmas pudding and custard afterwards, and some Vegan Christmas Cake later in the day!
- Relatively simple to make-ahead I'm a great believer that everyone should enjoy Christmas Day from start to finish, including whoever is doing the cooking. Getting as much prep out of the way in the days beforehand means less stress on the big day itself. So choosing a veggie option that can sit happily in the fridge for a day or two then simply be re-heated 10-15 minutes beforehand is a very good idea.
⭐️ Reader Testimonials
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ "My partner made this veggie option for me for xmas dinner and it was sooo amazing I'm having it again this year. It was delicious!" Natalie
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ "I *highly recommend* this stuffed butternut squash. It's hearty, easy, and has all of those festive flavors! Thanks for this awesome recipe 👍🏼 I used dates instead of cranberries and added sage for extra flava flaves!" @thehealthycamper
👩🏽🍳 Top Tips and FAQs
Simmer the filling until all the liquid has bubbled away. It should be fairly dry so that it keeps its shape when stuffed into the squash.
Don't scoop out too much squash. Leave a border all around so that the squash keeps its shape and slices well.
Don't over-fill the squash. If you have too much filling, leave some out and serve it on the side.
Yes! The roast can be made a few days ahead, wrapped in foil and kept in the fridge, then just reheated in the oven for 10-15 minutes before serving.
I wouldn't recommend freezing this as it will change the texture of the butternut squash. If you really need to, I suggest under-cooking the butternut squash a little, then making sure it is fully defrosted before reheating in the oven.
For a full Christmas dinner menu, how about trying:
Starter Porcini & Sherry Soup
Main Festive Butternut Roast, Garlic & Rosemary Roast Potatoes, Orange & Maple Carrots and Ginger & Sesame Brussels Sprouts
Dessert Vegan Christmas Pudding
Teatime Sun-dried Tomato Vegan Pâté with crackers, Vegan Mince Pies
If you liked that...
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Festive Butternut Roast
- 1 large butternut squash
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 red onion
- 2 cloves garlic peeled and crushed or finely chopped
- 100 g puy lentils
- 70 g frozen or fresh cranberries
- 2 stalks fresh rosemary leaves stripped and finely chopped
- 2 stalks fresh thyme leaves stripped
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 75 ml red wine
- 250 ml vegetable stock
- 80 g fresh spinach unsalted, finely chopped
- 50 g pistachios roughly chopped
- Preheat the oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4.
- Slice the butternut squash in half lengthways, and scoop out and discard the seeds. Brush or spray with a little oil, then bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes until the flesh is tender enough to scoop out with a spoon. Remove from the oven and set aside until cool enough to handle.
- Meanwhile, in a large saucepan or frying pan with a lid, heat the olive oil and add the onion and garlic. Cook over a gentle heat for 5 minutes until softened.
- Add the lentils, cranberries, rosemary and thyme leaves, nutmeg, red wine and vegetable stock, bring to the boil, then cover and lower to a gentle simmer. Cook for 30 minutes or until the lentils are tender, (but still have a little bite to them). NB you may need to add a little more water near the end of cooking time if the lentils have soaked up all the liquid - keep an eye on them and stir regularly.
- Take one half of the butternut squash and scoop out most of the flesh with a spoon, leaving a little all the way around so that the squash holds its shape. Be careful not to tear the skin if possible, (though the occasional hole won't be disastrous!).
- Add the squash flesh to the pan of lentils, and mash it into the mixture with a fork. Repeat with the other squash half. Taste the mixture, and add salt as necessary.
- Stir the spinach and pistachios into the lentil mixture, and mix well to combine, then spoon the mixture into both halves of the squash until it is level, there may be a little left over, but keep this aside to serve separately - don't over-fill or you will lose the nice, neat circular shape of your roast.
- Place one half on top of the other, then tie with string every 3-4 centimetres.
- Return to the oven for 10 minutes until piping hot throughout.
Free 4-Week Vegan Meal Plan
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For more quick and easy vegan recipes take a look at my latest book Vegan in 15.
"Brilliant! Chock full of easy recipes and great tips and advice" Hello! Magazine
For more Vegan and Vegetarian Christmas dinner ideas from blogging friends, take a look at:
- Lentil Roast with Gravy from Wallflower Kitchen
- Chestnut and Cashew Nut Roast from Thinly Spread
- Vegan Haggis Stuffed Peppers from Planet Veggie
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