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How to Feed Vegetarian and Gluten-Free Friends: Roasted Squash Gratin

Feeding people with dietary constraints is both rewarding and challenging. It can be tough to find recipes that suit restricted diets but are still delightful enough for a weekend dinner with friends. But when the recipe turns out and the guests are raving, that is the rewarding part.

As someone who is lucky enough to be free of dietary restrictions, I can only imagine how it must feel to go to a friend’s house for dinner and have to navigate around the dinner table with caution. And with more and more diet types appearing every day, the importance of knowing how to handle them becomes even more prominent.

Over the years, I’ve learned how to ensure a delicious meal is tailored to multiple dietary constraints. Granted, I’m also someone who cares tremendously about eating together. For me, being able to feed someone, and feed them dishes they really enjoy, is one of the most satisfying things about cooking!


Because of the stress I’ve had in the past about serving a meal to those with dietary restrictions or allergies, I’ve decided to do a series of recipes that you can serve when hosting a dinner party and you’ve got some diets to work around. The series, entitled “How to Feed,” will be something I’ll publish about once a month, tagging the post with the “How to Feed” tag. As the series builds, I encourage you to check it out to see a more comprehensive look at feeding people!

My other goal with this series is to make dishes that are both low-stress for the cook and delicious for everyone. As the host, it is up to you if you want to serve one menu to everyone, or tailor a particular dish to those with the restricted diet.

For my first recipe in the “How to Feed” series, I’m going to talk about Squash. But not just any squash! I want to talk about creamy, sweet, orange-coloured squash stuffed to the brim with a garlic-y wild rice mixture filled with stringy mozzarella cheese and sauteed mushrooms. This dinner is perfect for guests that are gluten-free and vegetarian guests (general definitions are provided below if you aren’t sure!).

Squash is one of my favourite vegetables, particularly because they’re delicious and can store for a long time if kept in the right conditions. Depending on the variety, you can get squash that is slightly sweet and creamy, or more mild and stringy. For this recipe I’ve chosen Delicata Squash, which is slightly smaller than Butternut Squash and slightly sweeter. The stuffing, a mix of wild rice, mushrooms and mozzarella, is a perfectly savory contrast to the sweet squash, and is choked full of good-for-you fiber to fill you up! Stuffing a squash is actually really easy to do, and always look impressive. Best of all: you can pre-bake the squash halves in advance, and then stuff and re-heat right before serving!


Serves 1 squash half

Roasted Squash Gratin with Mushrooms and Mozzarella

20 minPrep Time

40 minCook Time

1 hr

Save RecipeSave Recipe


  • two medium delicata squashes, sliced in half length-wise and the seeds and pulp scooped out
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsps butter
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped button mushrooms (about 200g)
  • 1/2 cup wild rice, cooked
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella, cubed in 1-cm thick pieces
  • 1/3 cup gluten-free bread crumbs


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Brush the squash halves with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place them on a baking sheet, cut side down, and bake for 20 minutes or until soft but firm when pierced with a fork.
  2. Meanwhile, add the butter to a frying pan and melt over medium heat. Add the garlic, cook for 30 seconds, then the mushrooms. Cook for another 2 minutes then add the balsamic vinegar and wild rice. Remove from heat and stir in the cubed mozzarella.
  3. Remove the squash from the oven and flip it over so the cut-side is facing up. Stuff the middle with the mushroom mixture, sprinkle with the panko crumbs, and season again with salt and pepper. Put them back into the oven for about 20 minutes or until golden and the cheese has melted.


You can also make this recipe in advance. Following the instructions right until you've stuffed the filling into the squash, then keep them in the fridge before you do the second and final bake. Feel free to swap the wild rice for other whole grains (barley also works well).


Quick check

Gluten-free: someone on a gluten-free diet avoids anything that includes gluten (most breads, pasta, and cereals). Try serving dishes with lots of vegetables, potatoes, sweet potatoes or rice. Meat, poultry and fish do not include gluten (but be wary if they come pre-seasoned!).

Vegetarian: someone who is vegetarian does not eat meat, poultry or fish. Try serving dishes with lots of vegetables, fruits, eggs or dairy products.

  • Jen
    Those look delicious and I'm not gluten free/vegetarian!! Love this idea, as I do have many, MANY friends who are at least one of the two and it's always one more thing to think about when planning menus for dinner parties!! Thanks for posting this! I'll be following along to see what you do next!
    • Thanks Jen! :) It's true, there are now so many different types of diets sprouting up everywhere!
  • Oh my gosh, yum! I love squash but I don't think I've ever tried delicata. It looks so good with that cheesy gratin!
  • Hey Hilary....we are like you, we don't have restrictions. However, I do love to experiment in the kitchen, and like posting GF recipes too. We even prefer GF pasta to regular pasta. We love squash, and this recipes sounds wonderful for anyone. We have friends that prefer GF...and then there are the people that don't have restrictions...but don't LIKE anything....drives me NUTS!! (P.S. The people that don't like anything don't get invited over very often....makes my wine consumption go up!!)
    • If you have recommendations on a GF pasta, send them my way! I've found them to be too dense and stiff... And I'm with you, picky eaters are a whole different ball game!! haha!
  • Colleen Milne
    Hi Hilary! What a great recipe. I don't have any restrictions, either, but have lots of family and friends that do. I also try to cook so that everyone can be happily fed. It's never that difficult with delicious recipes like this stuffed squash, which looks so good!
  • I believe this is a right on vegetarian recipe but also great for the "wanna be's vegetarian" like me! I always search for those vegetarian recipes that resemble or fake the umami of the meet and mushrooms are great for that. I also love that you add a crunchy texture on top, makes it so much funner! Great work!
    • I'm with you! I definitely eat like a vegetarian, but I would hate to not have the flexibility... I must be a foodie :)
  • Jared Kovacs
    I recently did a cleanse. (I know, why!?!?! and possibly TMI???) Anyway, stuffed squash recipes got me through a week of starvation and other interesting things. I wish I had yours to help me get through that week!
    • Wow, good for you! I've never done one before. Would you do it again? I'm not sure if this recipe is cleanse worthy (the cheese might throw it for a loop) but if it does, that's the sort of cleanse I want to be on! :)
  • Diana Leblanc
    I'm always looking for delicious recipes for my gluten free friends. I'm keeping this recipe close by for next time they come for dinner.
  • Cassie Hendry
    What a lovely series, Hilary. I find it interesting that most hosts would accommodate their guests' personal tastes like "ew, I hate mint/cilantro/lasagna/etc." but feel exasperated when their guests say they have food allergies/sensitivities/special diets. I just feel that it's a fun new challenge! Though I guess not everyone is a food blogger. ;) I've never made a squash gratin before and this looks AMAZING even for those like us without restrictions. Thanks for sharing!