These sesame stuffed squash make an attractive centrepiece for a vegan Christmas dinner. The Asian-inspired flavours from the sesame oil and soy sauce might not seem immediately festive, but the rich savoury flavours go perfectly with roasted vegetables, potatoes and even gravy!
Being someone who absolutely loves experimenting with new flavours and ingredients, I actually relish the freedom you get with a vegan Christmas dinner. While the omnis are eating their turkey year after year, us vegans can push the boat out as much or as little as we want with our mains… and have something different every year if we want. Why on earth would anyone think we miss the turkey!?
To make these festive sesame stuffed squash, I used a mix of locally grown winter squash that I found in my local greengrocer’s: a harlequin squash, an ambercup squash and (I think) a casperita pumpkin. I must confess that I made my selection based on looks alone! If you’re not able to get hold of these, you can substitute them for any other small squash varieties.
Alternatively, if you can’t find any winter squash, you can use a large butternut squash instead. You’ll need to cut it in half lengthways, scoop out the seeds and remove enough flesh from the “neck” of the squash to make room for the stuffing. Any butternut squash flesh that you scoop out needn’t go to waste: you can chop it finely and add it to your stuffing mix. The butternut squash itself should cook in the same amount of time as stated in the recipe – as even though it’s bigger, it tends to be softer than the smaller ones so things balance out – but please be mindful and adjust as needed.
- *For the squash*
- 3 small winter squash (can be subbed with a large butternut squash)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- *For the filling*
- 2 tbsp sesame oil + 1 tbsp to drizzle at the end
- 6 chestnut mushrooms, chopped
- 4 shallots, finely chopped
- 6 vine tomatoes, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- Spring fresh rosemary
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds, plus extra to sprinkle
- Preheat the oven to 190C/gas mark 5/375F.
- Cut each squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Brush with olive oil, season with the salt and pepper then place into the oven in an ovenproof dish. Roast for around one hour (depending on your oven) or until tender and browned.
- In the meantime, add the sesame oil to a frying pan and heat over a medium high heat. Once hot, add the mushrooms and sautée until they release their water and start to brown.
- Add the shallots to the mushrooms. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add the tomatoes, soy sauce, garlic, rosemary, seasoning. Turn down the heat, simmer for five minutes.
- Remove any thick rosemary stalks, stir in the sesame seeds and set the filling mix aside.
- Once the squash have cooked, scoop the filling into each squash, top with extra seeds and drizzle with the extra tablespoon of sesame oil.
- Return to oven for five minutes.
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