stuffed butternut squash
This is a perfect dish when you want a vegetarian meal that looks a bit special. Can easily be doubled to provide a meal for four if needed. It’s very easy to make, but still looks impressive. I am always looking for ways to include more mushrooms in my diet as they are so highly nutritious for us. See the tip below for all the benefits.
1 butternut squash, halved lengthwise and deseeded
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
2 leeks, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1 red chilli
360g chestnut mushrooms, chopped
large bunch of parsley, chopped
a handful of mixed nuts - I use almonds and walnuts
prep time: 20mins
cook time: approx 1 hour
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Place the squash cut side up on a large shallow baking tray and create a diagonal pattern with a knife to ensure cooked through at the same time and drizzle with the oil, then season with salt and pepper.
Bake in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour until soft when tested with a knife.
Meanwhile sautés the leeks, garlic and chilli in a pan on the hob until soft - about 8-10 minutes.
When the leeks are soft add the mushrooms until they too are soft.
Take off the heat and add the parsley.
When the butternut squash is cooked remove from the oven and add the mushroom mixture to the top of the butternut squash.
Top with some chopped nuts for a protein hit. A small bit of feta cheese sprinkled on top is also delicious if not serving a vegan.
the health boost tip
Mushroom used to be called “food of the gods” and for good reason! They are packed with health promoting nutrients. Mushrooms help support the immune system by helping the function of white blood cells. Mushrooms also offer great antioxidant support, especially the nutrient selenium, which is often lacking in a Western diet. In addition, they are a rich source of the B vitamins, which play an important role in maintaining cardiovascular health. Some mushrooms will contain B12 due to the bacteria found growing on them - however this cannot be relied on as a source. Putting your mushrooms out in the sun before you cook with them helps to enhance the vitamin D levels.