Jewelled Saffron Rice Stuffed Squash

Cooking time
Serves4-6 people
Vegetarians Vegans Gluten-free diets

This spectacular stuffed squash is flavoured with traditional spices, fruits and nuts. It'll make a stunning centrepiece for your veggie festive feast.

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layout 2 comments


  • 1 large butternut squash (approx. 1kg)
  • 2 red onions
  • A thumb of fresh ginger
  • 25g dried apricots
  • A large pinch of saffron, threads and powder
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • A pinch of chilli flakes
  • 100g white basmati rice
  • 500ml vegetable stock
  • 25g raisins
  • 25g dried cranberries
  • 6 large kale leaves
  • 1 orange
  • A large handful of flat leaf parsley
  • 50g whole almonds
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1. Heat your oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C/Gas 6. Halve the squash lengthways. Scoop out the seeds. Place the squash, cut-side down, on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Roast for 30 mins. Let it cool for 10 mins, then scoop out the squash flesh, leaving a 1cm border. Finely chop the squash flesh and set aside. Turn the oven down to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas 4.
2. Peel and finely chop the onions. Peel and finely grate the ginger. Roughly chop the dried apricots. Soak the saffron in 1 tbsp boiling water.
3. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a large pan. Add the onions. Season. Cook on a low heat for 10 mins, stirring, till soft. Stir in the cinnamon, ginger, chilli flakes and rice. Pour in 500ml vegetable stock. Add the saffron and its liquid, the apricots, raisins and cranberries and the chopped squash. Cover and simmer for 15 mins till the rice is just tender and all the water is absorbed.
4. While the rice is cooking, bring a pan of water to the boil. Slice the stems from the kale, keeping the leaves as whole as possible. Drop them into the boiling water. Blanch for 3 mins. Plunge into ice cold water. Squeeze dry. Set aside.
5. Squeeze the juice from half the orange into the rice. Roughly chop the parsley leaves, stalks and the almonds. Add to the rice. Fold together. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
6. Lay your two squash halves, cut-side up, on a board. Line them with the kale leaves. Spoon in the rice stuffing, pushing it in firmly. Carefully put the two halves together. Tie them up with string ortwine. Place in a baking dish. Roast for 30 mins till soft and the skin has darkened. Rest for 10 mins, then carve in thick slices and serve.
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What a super looking dish! I also made a meat version of this with pork mince, quinoa and herbs. Thanks for the inspiration A&C!


I made this last week and it tasted heavenly. There is so much flavour in this dish it ia by far my favourite stuffed squash recipe. I cannot wait to have it again.