Persian Lamb-Stuffed Butternut Squash

Dried cherries, pistachios and ready-cooked rice make an easy, flavorful stuffing. Roasted butternut squash is the perfect cooking vessel, with extra-easy cleanup!


  • 1 ½ cups basmati rice
  • 2 butternut squash, halved lengthwise
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ large yellow onion, minced
  • ½ lb ground lamb
  • ¾ cup roasted pistachios or almonds, coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup finely chopped green onions
  • ⅓ cup chopped dried cherries
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¾ tsp ground cumin


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Boil the rice according to the package instructions, and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, using a metal spoon, scrape out seeds and membranes from squash halves. Using a sharp knife, score the flesh. Place squash, cut side up, on prepared pan, spacing evenly. Brush cut sides with 2 tbsp oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in preheated oven for 35 minutes.
  3. Remove pan from oven and add red pepper alongside squash. Drizzle pepper with 1 tbsp (15 mL) oil. Roast for 10 minutes.
  4. Heat some oil in the bottom of a heavy saute pan, and cook the onions until they are brown and soft. Add the ground lamb and cook until it begins to brown. Add the rice, pistachios, green onions, cherries, cinnamon, cumin and the remaining oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Remove pan from oven and spoon rice mixture into squash cavities. Roast for 15 to 18 minutes or until squash is fork-tender and stuffing is warmed through.

About the Chef

Stephanie Goldfarb is a Chicago-based chef and national food television personality specializing in seasonal, globally-inspired cuisine. Recognized as the winner of Food Network’s America’s Best Cook competition, and a celebrity chef on Kitchen Inferno and NBC’s Food Fighters, Goldfarb delivers unique and relatable culinary experiences to discriminating and casual diners alike. As the owner of the successful Seven Species Supper Club & Catering, she enjoys the challenge of building brand new menus each month that inspire both repeat clients and newcomers, and seeks opportunities to utilize new ingredients, techniques, and approaches in accessible ways.