Vegan Stuffed Butternut Squash

This vegan stuffed butternut squash makes the perfect holiday plant-based entrée. Stuffed with flavorful smoky tempeh and sweet diced apples.

Two halves of stuffed butternut squash out of the oven with melted vegan cheese.

As soon as I start seeing butternut squash more prominently displayed in my local grocery stores, I know it’s time to think of holiday recipes. It’s like that subtle switch in my brain to also accept that the days are getting shorter and that I will have more of an urgency to keep a cup of warm tea in my hands at all times. And that’s okay. In the grand scheme of things, this time of year tends to have my favorite foods, and butternut squash is a gem. It can be thrown into soups and stews, but also be the perfect vessel for a Thanksgiving main and easy enough to do any weeknight for dinner. This vegan stuffed butternut squash has all those cozy fall feels and manages to be equally nourishing too!

Sautéing apple, onion and celery together in a pan with garlic.

Why you will enjoy this stuffed butternut squash

  • This recipe vegan and gluten free! Just make sure to check your soy sauce/tamari to make sure it’s gluten free.
  • A perfect main option for Thanksgiving that is allergy friendly.
  • Easy to put together and just as hearty and tasty as any other main thanks to the tempeh crumble filling.

Tempeh being sautéed together with onion, apple, ginger, and soy sauce.

Star Ingredients

  • Butternut Squash: when baked it has a lovely buttery taste to it when cooked properly
  • Tempeh: the hearty meaty base without the meat
  • Shallots, Celery and Garlic: aromatics
  • Apples: help to counteract some of the bitters from the tempeh
  • Tomato Paste: more concentrated flavor for our tempeh
  • Maple Syrup: another counter measure for the tempeh and to balance some of the spices
  • Soy Sauce: a great boost of umami flavor
  • Vegetable Broth: helps to cook off the bitterness of the tempeh and infuse a little more flavor when simmered in it
  • Chinese Five Spice: enhances some of the sweeter notes of the apples and maple syrup
  • Cumin, Paprika and Thyme: some herbs and spices to infuse more holiday vibes

Butternut squash scored and brushed with olive oil, pepper, and salt.

How to make vegan stuffed butternut squash with tempeh

  1. Prep your butternut squash by cutting them in half length wise, removing the seeds and cutting a cross hatch pattern into the inside of the squash. Rub each half with some olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper then bake at 425F for 45-50 minutes.
  2. While waiting for your butternut squash, prepare the stuffing. Bring a pan to medium heat and add a tsp of olive oil and sauté shallots and celery together.
  3. Stir in apples and garlic and sauté until fragrant, then add in tomato paste, tempeh and spices.
  4. Continue to sauté tempeh until fragrant, then add in tamari, maple syrup and vegetable broth. Bring tempeh to a simmer and allow liquid to cook off completely and then set aside.
  5. Remove squash from the oven and spoon a generous amount of tempeh mixture into each cavity.
  6. Optional, but sprinkle with some cheese and thyme and pop back into the oven for another 5-10 minutes. Serve each half and enjoy.

Tempeh simmering in a flavorful broth with some sweetness coming from the apple and sweetener.

Tips for making vegan stuffed butternut squash with tempeh

  • You can make the tempeh mixture in advance and store prepped in your fridge for easy assembly and prep during the holidays. When ready to use, spoon mixture into baked butternut squash halves and reheat in the oven.
  • If not a fan of tempeh, feel free to use ground up tofu, seitan or vegan meat crumbles. If using tofu, do not add vegetable broth, instead add an additional tbsp of tamari. If using seitan or meat crumbles, reduce broth to just 1 cup and follow instructions the same.
  • Feel free to replace the cheese with a simple dressing. One I love is a tahini dressing with 4 tbsp tahini, juice of one lemon, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp mustard, pinch of salt and 1/4 or more of water mixed together until smooth and at desired consistency. Serve by pouring over the squash.
  • To ensure that your recipe is gluten free, make sure to check your soy sauce or tamari is gluten free on the label.
  • Chinese Five Spice is a blend of spices that includes fennel, clove, Chinese pepper corn, cinnamon and star anise. If you do not have this spice, instead use 1/4 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp ground fennel to replace.

Butternut squash halves topped with minced tempeh and topped with thyme and vegan cheese.

More Holiday Main Recipes

Roasted stuffed squash topped with vegan cheese.

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Vegan Stuffed Butternut Squash

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  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 60 minutes
  • Total Time: 70 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: Main Course
  • Cuisine: American


This vegan stuffed butternut squash makes the perfect holiday plant-based entrée. Stuffed with flavorful smoky tempeh and sweet diced apples.



Butternut Squash Prep

  • 2 small butternut squashes
  • 4 tsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Tempeh Prep

  • 1 medium stalk celery (diced)
  • 2 shallots (diced)
  • 6 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 apples (diced)
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 blocks tempeh (crumbled)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Chinese Five Spice
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 2 tbsp tamari
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • Optional: 4 tbsp vegan shredded cheese and extra thyme


Prep Butternut Squash

  1. Set oven to 425F. Cut each butternut squash in half length wise, then scoop out seeds with a spoon.
  2. With a knife, create a cross hatch pattern in the inside flesh of the butternut squash.
  3. Rub 1 tsp of olive oil over each butternut squash half and then sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Place butternut squash in the oven for 45-50 minutes.

Prep Tempeh

  1. While butternut squash bakes, add 1 tsp olive oil, shallots and celery to a skillet with a pinch of salt. Sauté until shallots have softened.
  2. Stir in apples and garlic and sauté until fragrant.
  3. Add in tomato paste, tempeh, spices and herbs and continue to sauté for about 3 minutes.
  4. To the pan add soy sauce, maple syrup and vegetable broth to deglaze the pan. Stir well and bring pan up to a medium high heat to boil.
  5. Allow liquid to cook off completely, while occasionally stirring to prevent any sticking.
  6. Once liquid has cooked off, set aside and wait to remove squash from oven.

Prep Stuffed Squash

  1. When squash is fully cooked, spoon a generous amount of the tempeh mixture into each butternut squash half cavity.
  2. Optional, but sprinkle a little vegan cheese and extra thyme overtop if feeling fancy.
  3. Place butternut squash back into the oven and bake for another 5-10 minutes. Remove from oven and serve while warm.


  • Brands of tempeh can impact the level of bitterness. By boiling the tempeh in this broth, the bitterness should reduce significantly. It also pairs well with the apple and maple syrup to help further tone down those bitter notes.
  • Feel free to use vegan ground meat in place. Reduce broth to 1 cup of vegetable broth and follow same cooking method.

Did You Try This Recipe?
Then let me know what you thought! Share your creations by tagging me on Instagram with the hashtag #plantbasedrdeats


This vegan stuffed butternut squash makes the perfect holiday plant-based entrée. Stuffed with flavorful smoky tempeh and sweet diced apples.
This vegan stuffed butternut squash makes the perfect holiday plant-based entrée. Stuffed with flavorful smoky tempeh and sweet diced apples.


  1. Am kinda afraid to go on gluten-free diet. So, if you can provide good resource or reference to find good information about the pros and cons of Gluten-Free diet will be much appreaciated.

    1. Hi Jack. I am so sorry I am just seeing this comment. Unless you are dealing with a medical need that requires you to be gluten free (diagnosed with Celiac’s Disease or dealing with gluten intolerance symptoms), all other reasoning is unnecessary. Hope this helps.

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