This butternut squash bake recipe is the perfect Christmas main course for the vegetarians in your life and can also be adapted for vegans. Spinach pesto and a delicious tofu ‘ricotta’ make this dish a delicious and satisfying veggie festive feast.
– 2 butternut squash
– ½ tsp red chilli flakes
– 1 tbsp olive oil
– 250g mushrooms, chopped into small pieces
– 300g spinach
– ½ tsp nutmeg
– ½ cup crumbled feta cheese (optional)
– Sea salt and black pepper to season
For the tofu ‘ricotta’
– ¼ cup sunflower seeds
– 300g organic tofu
– 1 cup fresh basil leaves
– ¼ cup nutritional yeast
– 4 tbsp olive oil
– Juice of half a lemon
– 4 cloves of garlic, minced
– Pinch sea salt
For the spinach pesto
– 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
– 1/4 cup raw cashew nuts
– 4 cups baby spinach leaves
– 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
– 2 cloves garlic
– 1 tbsp lemon juice
– Black pepper and sea salt
1. Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6. Half the squash lengthways and remove the seeds. Place the squash halves, flesh side up on a roasting tray. Pierce the flesh with a knife. Drizzle with olive oil and red chilli flakes and brush to coat the flesh of the squash. Roast for about an hour until soft.
2. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the mushrooms and cook for 4 minutes. Add half the spinach and a pinch of sea salt and cooking for about three minutes until the spinach is wilted. Add the remaining spinach and another pinch of sea salt and continue to cook for another three minutes until all the spinach is wilted. Grate the nutmeg on top. Remove from the heat and set to one side.
3. To make the tofu ‘ricotta’ add the sunflower seeds to a food processor and blitz until ground. Add the tofu, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, garlic, basil and nutritional yeast and blitz until smooth.
4. To assemble the bake scoop out the flesh of the butternut squash and roughly chop into bite size pieces. Place in a large baking dish. Add the tofu ‘ricotta’ and the mushroom and spinach mix and toss to combine. Season well with sea salt and black pepper.Sprinkle crumbled feta cheese on top and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until golden.
5. While the bake is in the oven, make the spinach pesto. Place all the ingredients save for the oil in a food processor or blender and pulse until broken down into a course consistency. Add the oil and pulse until combined. Ideally the pesto should be course as opposed to smooth.
6. To serve, spoon the bake onto plates and drizzle the pesto on top.
Adapt to Vegan: For a vegan version of this main course, leave out the feta cheese.Frances Walsh is the creator and writer behind healthy lifestyle blog, The Honest Project. The Honest Project focuses on plant based eating and cooking, using vegetables, fruits and wholefoods. Frances’ interest is in preparing and eating foods that are made from scratch but are practical and easy to make for even the most inexperienced cook.
For more information visit thehonestproject.com.