Gluten Free / Main Course / Rice / Vegan

Spiced Rice and Cranberry Stuffed Coquina Squash: Vegan and Gluten Free!


Leave the skin on the pumpkin for a perfectly edible shell to that creamy rice filling

I’ve been going through my first year of posts on the blog and sorting them into virtual piles of ‘trash’, ‘recycle and ‘keep’, kind of like an online version of the seasonal wardrobe clear out! Which posts still fit? Which are slightly out of date but a few cute alterations would make it last another summer? Which are mistakes that need hiding! 😉

It’s been fun but difficult because I find it hard to be brutal with the building blocks of this wonderful blogging adventure I’m on. So I have found that my ‘recycle’ list is extremely large! Recipe ideas I had 2-4 months into Veghotpot are still good ideas, but with everything I’ve learnt I would now cook them differently and definitely photograph them differently!


Pomegranate seeds add a splash of colour and sweetness

This stuffed pumpkin has been recycled from a warm autumnal rice salad I first posted in 2011. It was a delicious mixture of rice, onion, leeks, cranberries, pumpkin and feta cheese. But it was lacking the vibrant colours which I love about vegetarian food.

So I decided to take the principles of the rice, add a Moroccan twist (which lets admit, makes everything better!) and stuff it inside a beautiful roasted coquina squash. I removed the feta cheese because I find vegan foods fresher and lighter and I scattered it with pomegranate seeds just because! Pretty!


Prepare the squash like this before cooking – it helps it cook quicker and evenly

I leave the skin on when I bake gourds such as butternut or coquina squashes because it gives a lovely nutty flavour to the dish. It also holds everything together nicely in a boat shape so you don’t end up with a messy pile of rice and pumpkin on your plate.

 (serves 2 as a main course or 4 as a lighter lunch)

1 Coquina Squash/ Butternut Squash or Pumpkin of choice
1 Onion
1 Leek
1-2 garlic cloves (I leave this vague because I like adding 2 fat cloves but you may prefer just one!)
1 Large handful Kale
1 Cup Rice (brown or wholegrain is best)
1 tspn Ground Cumin
1 tspn Garlic Powder
Small Bunch Thyme
Sprinkle Chilli Flakes
1 stock cube
1 Small handful Cranberries
Pomegranate Seeds
Salt and Pepper
Drizzle of oil for cooking

Preheat the oven to 180c.

Slice the squash in half lengthways, scoop out the seeds and score the neck in a criss cross (see photo above) without cutting the whole way through. Place it on a baking tray sliced side up and bake in the oven for 30 minutes until the flesh is soft and the skin is softened but still holding shape.

In a saucepan add your rice, spices and stock cube (crumble it in) and then pour in enough water to cover the rice and boil until the water has evaporated and the rice is cooked. See pack instructions for water to rice ratio and keep checking it incase it needs more water adding!

In a frying pan drizzle a little oil. Dice your onion and slice your leek and kale and add them to pan for 5-6 minutes to soften then add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes. Season to taste.

Once the rice is cooked mix it with the leeks/ kale and add the cranberries. The rice will be rich with flavour from those spices and contrast nicely to the sweet leeks.  Stir so everything is mixed well.

Take the cooked squash out of the oven and scoop out the inside so that you are left with a shell. Cut the flesh into bitesize chunks and mix this with the rice too.

Pile the rice mix back into the squash shells and put back in the oven for 10 minutes to make sure the filling is really hot! Then serve with pomegranate seeds sprinkled over the top.

I had a half for dinner with some broccoli and green beans and it was delicious and light yet substantial enough to fill you up!


5 thoughts on “Spiced Rice and Cranberry Stuffed Coquina Squash: Vegan and Gluten Free!

  1. I made this last night and it was wonderful. I subbed spinach for the kale b/c my wife Sandi doesn’t care for kale (!), but everything else was according to your recipe.

    I found that I had to cook the butternut squash waaaay longer than you recommended. Mine took about 90 minutes! Usually, I will turn them upside down first and spray them with pan spray. This accelerates the cooking time substantially. Still, yours was probably a healthier preparation.

    Sandi said it tasted like it had cheese on it, even though it was completely vegan. A real treat. Thanks!

  2. This is my second blog, and I’m finding that it is still evolving with a lot of first quarter posts that I went back and trashed. I think I thought I’d have it all figure out this go round, but I’m still learning and evolving!

I love hearing what you all have to say!

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