18 vegetarian winter squash main dishes for all through Autumn and Winter. They're not just for Thanksgiving!
"What's your favorite winter squash?"
I posed this question on my Facebook page recently, and got a huge response. Readers listed everything from the familiar, like butternut squash, to the wildly unfamiliar, like sweet meat and onion squash. As a result, now I want to find them and red kuri squash, to see how it might be different from the rest.
Thanks to that informal polling, I started thinking about ideas for vegetarian winter squash main dishes. And that got me thinking about ideas for vegetarian Thanksgiving dishes.
Winter squash is super-healthy and makes a hearty dish
Besides its health attributes, winter squash is robust enough to be served as a vegetarian main dish. Not all vegetables can make that claim. We stuff their hollowed bowls, spiralize it, layer slices into casseroles like lasagna, and throw it into salads for a main dish. And with their luscious, rich coloring, winter squash can easily be just as much a show stopper (or more!) as those reclining roast turkeys that shine from so many magazines this time of year. If you question that, just check out some of the stuffed winter squash dishes below. They're gorgeous, healthy AND delicious.
If you're still looking for some ideas for your vegetarian Thanksgiving table, check out this roundup of ideas. If not, then be sure to make them after the holiday. They're good all season long. This round up offers recipes for the four most mentioned winter squash in my little poll, but feel free to substitute your favorite squash into these recipes. They can often be interchangeable.
Vegetarian Winter Squash Main Dishes
Delicata Squash Main Dishes
Kale and Wild Rice Salad with Maple Roasted Squash by Vanilla & Bean
This salad can easily be a healthy entree for the vegetarians at the table, as well as a hardy side salad for the meat lovers. The dressing, which incorporates mustard, maple syrup and apple cider vinegar is fabulous!
Stuffed Delicata Squash by The Wimpy Vegetarian
Sometimes, having a thin skin is good. Delicata's thin skin makes it easy to prep and eat, since it doesn't need to be peeled, and the skin is edible. This stuffed winter squash is made with wilted spinach, apples, chili pepper, and quinoa for a satisfying entree.
Roasted Squash with Apple Salsa by Love and Lemons
This dish may be more side dish than main at first glance, but the fresh apple salsa will keep you coming back for seconds and thirds. Before you know it, it's a main dish.
Delicata Squash Tacos with Black Beans by Naturally Ella
This is a perfect entree for the kids, or for the night after Thanksgiving when you're craving something lighter. So, if you make a delicata dish for Thanksgiving, be sure to save some for this dish.
Butternut Squash Main Dishes
Caramelised Onion & Butternut Pumpkin Crostata by Delicious Everyday
At one point, a few years ago, I made crostadas out of just about anything. They're quick and easy to make, and do a beautiful job of framing roasted vegetables. Butternut pumpkin is the same as butternut squash in the States. You can purchase a jar of caramelized onions, which further simplifies this easy recipe, or make your own. They're not difficult to make, but good ones do take awhile on the stove.
Fig Basted Roast Butternut Squash with Quinoa, Apple & Fig Stuffing by The Wimpy Vegetarian
The bulbous ends of butternut squash make perfect bowls for stuffing. I first cut the squash in half lengthwise, and roast it, basted with a fig jam. While it's roasting, I make the stuffing of apples, quinoa and dried fruit separately. This is perfect for any dinner party - not just Thanksgiving - or for a special dinner at home. If you're in a rush, make the stuffing the day before, and refrigerate.
Butternut Squash Risotto with Pears & Sage by The Wimpy Vegetarian
Butternut squash risotto is an ideal vegetarian main dish, as it needs only a salad to complete it. In my cookbook, Simply Vegetarian, I experimented with making risotto in my Instant Pot. It was a huge success, and I'll be updating this recipe soon for using that appliance.
Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Chickpeas, Kale, and Pearl Couscous by An Edible Mosaic
This hearty, gorgeous salad is packed with goodness, and dressed with a honey, mustard, apple cider vinaigrette. If you're bringing a dish to a potluck Thanksgiving dinner, this is a dish that travels well!
Kabocha Squash Main Dishes
Vegetarian Stuffed Kabocha Squash Recipe by Fearless Dining
Now this is a show stopper for any table at any time. The kabocha squash is roasted whole, and stuffed with corn, tomatoes, black beans, spices, and cheese. Sandi at Fearless Dining recommends Daiya as a cheese substitute for the vegans at the table. I bet even the meat-lovers will want some of this one.
Kabocha Squash Lasagna: Vegetarian Thanksgiving Main by Umami Girl
The beauty of this dish for Thanksgiving is that it can be made ahead of time, and reheated for the big dinner. It's stuffed with mushrooms, garlic and radicchio, sage, thyme, and a béchamel sauce, so much deliciousness.
Kabocha Squash Salad by Honestly Yum
More grains and kabocha salad than a greens salad thank to the generous portions of wheatberries, this fits solidly in the vegetarian winter squash main dish category. There are shiitake mushrooms for depth of flavor, toasted hazelnuts for crunch, and feta for a creamy tart addition.
Roasted Kabocha Squash and Grapes by Eating Well
Grapes make this dish an unexpected hit. The contrast of the juicy, sweet-tart of the grapes is the perfect foil for the dense, rich kabocha.
Kabocha Squash Lentil Curry by Pinch of Yum
Whether you serve this at Thanksgiving, or make it the following week, this is a curry that may become a family favorite. The squash is simmered with onions and then pureed into a velvety sauce. A little coconut milk, red curry paste, curry powder, and cinnamon, and bingo, you will fall in love.
Acorn Squash Main Dishes
Spiced Acorn Squash with Charred Poblano Pepper – Cornbread Stuffing by The Wimpy Vegetarian
Stuffed with charred peppers, apples cooked in spiced butter, and cornbread crumbles and pepitas, this is a total southwest take on stuffed acorn squash.
30-Minute Mexican Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash by Healthy Seasonal Recipes
These beauties are stuffed with quinoa, scallions, cilantro, Mexican spices, salsa, and sharp cheddar cheese. And they're ready in 30 minutes if you microwave the acorn squash halves. I need easy dishes like this during the week. Don't you?
Roasted Acorn Squash Salad with Spicy Pepitas & Cranberries by Foolproof Living
This recipe is a perfect example of not needing to peel acorn squash. And really, how would you? It's thin enough to be perfectly edible, and makes for a beautiful presentation in the salad like this one. While the squash roasts, toss together arugula, whole grains, spice pepitas, pomegranate seeds, and goat cheese. It's a perfect acorn squash main dish - or a side dish for the meat eaters at the table.
Maple Butter Roasted Acorn Squash with Pecans by Recipe for Perfection
This might be more side dish than main, but with the pecans and melted blue cheese, it could be an acorn squash entree for many. For me, I would only need a salad and an onion roll (or two) to make this a meal.
Mushroom & Quinoa Stuffed Acorn Squash by Dishing Out Health
Hollowed out acorn squash halves are roasted and stuffed with quinoa, baby bella mushrooms, garlic, pomegranate seeds, and Parmesan cheese to pay homage to autumn. And as if this isn't delicious enough, it's finished with a drizzle of a rich balsamic reduction.
So there you have it. 19 fabulous winter squash main dish ideas for Thanksgiving, and beyond, all waiting to be made. I hope you give a few of them a try. And I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner with your loved ones.