This vegan wild rice stuffing with lentils, butternut squash, and seasonal flavors is a wholesome alternative to the traditional bread and butter stuffing with all the beloved autumnal ingredients.
Vegan Wild Rice Stuffing for Thanksgiving
If you’re looking to build a vegan Thanksgiving menu with a mix of family favorites and a few twists on tradition, you’ll love this wild rice stuffing! It’s an incredibly versatile dish—serve it baked with a meatless roast, or as a side dish on its own.
Not only is this dish hearty, delicious, and full of seasonal flair and color, it’s a wholesome, heart-healthy dish.
Whole grain, fiber-full wild rice and protein-packed brown lentils give the dish a chewy, tender texture with bits of sweetness from dried cranberries, crunch from toasted pecans, and savory goodness from the sautéed vegetables.
A mix of dried and fresh herbs add a pop of green with the intense flavor of dried seasonal herbs like sage and thyme.
The texture and flavors differ enough from regular bread cube stuffing that you can serve it in place, or alongside a more traditional stuffing as a gluten-free option.
Can’t wait for Thanksgiving? This wild rice stuffing is simple enough to prepare as a side dish for any meal, or you can prepare it as a main course, treating it like a rice bowl. Top it with tofu, mushrooms, or your favorite meat alternative to round out the meal.
Ingredients for Vegan Wild Rice Stuffing
This wild rice stuffing is full of healthy grains, legumes, and seasonal vegetables that are accessible and easy to find at any well-stocked supermarket.
- Wild rice
- Vegetable broth
- Garlic powder
- Brown lentils
- Butternut squash
- Vegan butter
- Dried cranberries
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Dried herbs: sage, thyme
- Fresh herbs: sage, parsley
How to Make Vegan Wild Rice Stuffing
Combine wild rice, 3 cups vegetable broth, and spices in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 30-40 minutes, until almost tender.
Add lentils and cook until rice and lentils are tender, 20-25 more minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
In the meantime, preheat the oven to 400°F.
Toss butternut squash with olive oil and sprinkle with salt on a prepared baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, until tender.
While the squash is baking, heat the vegan butter in a large pan on the stovetop over medium heat.
Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and celery and cook for 4-5 more minutes, stirring frequently.
Add salt and pepper.
Transfer wild rice and lentil mixture, roasted butternut squash, veggie mixture, cranberries, pecans, parsley, sage, and thyme to a medium large casserole dish and stir to combine.
Add additional salt, pepper, or herbs to taste.
Cover and bake for 20 minutes, then uncover and bake for 10 more minutes.
Remove from the oven, top with fresh herbs, and serve.
Serve as a delectable addition to your Thanksgiving table, or enjoy as a healthy rice and veggie bowl throughout the season!
What should I serve wild rice stuffing with?
This wild rice stuffing is best served as a side dish on your vegan Thanksgiving table alongside other side dishes like vegan mashed potatoes, dairy-free green bean casserole, dinner rolls, cranberry sauce, and roasted Brussels sauce, as well as plant based main dishes like vegan meatless roasts. It can also be enjoyed as a main dish rice bowl topped with tofu or other meat alternatives.
Should I soak wild rice before cooking?
It is not necessary to soak wild rice before cooking, but a quick 15-20 minute soak in water or vegetable broth can soften the chewy exterior of the grain and cut down on cooking time. If you choose to soak your wild rice prior to preparing the rice and lentils for this stuffing, be sure to check on the rice earlier since it may cook faster.
Can you make stuffing ahead of time and reheat?
I would not recommend preparing this dish in advance because rice can get dry and chewy when stored and reheated, and rice has a short shelf life once prepared since bacteria grows quickly in lukewarm rice. It’s best to prepare this dish at the time of serving.
Leftovers can be enjoyed for 2-3 days. For the best texture, scoop single-serving portions into a bowl, sprinkle with a bit of water or vegetable broth for tenderness, and microwave on high until thoroughly reheated.
Health benefits of wild rice
Wild rice and wild rice blends are a healthy choice because this whole grain is chock full of fiber, iron, antioxidants, and dietary vitamins and minerals. Wild rice can be used in recipes like this stuffing, in place of white or brown rice, and as an alternative to other grains.
Health benefits of butternut squash
Butternut squash is a healthy winter squash full of key nutrients like fiber, potassium, and essential vitamins and minerals, while being low in fat and calories. It’s delicious roasted with root vegetables, mashed and used like pumpkin, and baked and stuffed with seasonal veggies and grains.
- 1 1/4 cups uncooked wild rice
- 4 1/2 cups vegetable broth or vegan “chicken” broth
- 3/4 teaspoon dried sage
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 3/4 cup dry brown lentils
- 2 cups chopped butternut squash about ½ squash
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 3 tablespoons vegan butter
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 stalks celery diced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ¾ cup dried cranberries
- ⅔ cup chopped pecans
- ½ cup chopped parsley
- 1 tablespoon fresh sage
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- Chopped fresh herbs for garnish
- Combine wild rice, 3 cups vegetable broth, and spices in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 30-40 minutes, until almost tender.
- Add lentils and cook until rice and lentils are tender, 20-25 more minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In the meantime, preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Toss butternut squash with olive oil and sprinkle with salt on a prepared baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, until tender.
- While the squash is baking, heat the vegan butter in a large pan on the stovetop over medium heat.
- Add the onion and sauté for 5 minutes.
- Add the garlic and celery and cook for 4-5 more minutes, stirring frequently.
- Add salt and pepper.
- Transfer wild rice and lentil mixture, roasted butternut squash, veggie mixture, cranberries, pecans, parsley, sage, and thyme to a medium large casserole dish and stir to combine.
- Add additional salt, pepper, or herbs to taste.
- Cover and bake for 20 minutes, then uncover and bake for 10 more minutes.
- Remove from the oven, top with fresh herbs, and serve.
- If you can’t find fresh sage, you can replace 1 tablespoon of fresh sage with 1 teaspoon of dried sage. Avoid replacing the fresh parsley–it adds a ton of flavor to the dish that can’t be replicated with dried parsley.
- It’s fine to use a wild rice blend or replace the wild rice with brown rice if you prefer. Be sure to check the cooking instructions in case the cook time varies. Avoid using white rice—it will make the dish bland and gummy.
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