Both Alex and I have been ridiculously busy with work recently, without much time for making a note of recipes. Which will never do!
However we did have this colourful, pretty salad for work lunches over a couple of days and it really helped to brighten the mood.
I baked the squash and tofu one after another, as there wasn’t quite room for them both in the same tin, the squash was quite large.
But if there’s space cook them both together to save time!
butternut squash, radish and tofu salad
makes 4 servings
1 butternut squash, halved
1 tsp oil
6 – 8 radishes, sliced
4 small cucumbers, diced
4 handfuls rocket
juice of 1/2 to 1 lemon depending on size
salt and pepper
200 g cooked rice (I used a sachet of Tilda whole grain rice and quinoa)
1 400 g tin green lentils
for the tofu
1 400 g block of tofu, cut into cubes
2 tsp oil
2 tsp dried ramsons
2 tbsp tamari
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees c.
Rub the butternut squash halves with a little oil and put cut side up in a roasting tin. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, turning half way through, until tender and cooked through.
Cool a little, and then scoop out the seeds and peel off the skin. Chop into chunks.
In the same roasting tin, toss the tofu with the oil and bake for 20 minutes until starting to brown.
Mix in the tamari and ramsons and cook for a further 10 minutes, cool. To assemble, mix the squash, radishes, cucumber, rocket, rice and lentils together with the lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. Mix the tofu through at the end.
Doesn’t a whole roasted cauliflower look pretty! Even a little one, like in my photo.
I made this colourful roast to have as a work lunch with a little rice, but it would be great served warm too.
The slightly orangey notes of the coriander seed along with the caraway and thyme match very well with the flavours of each individual vegetable.
You could use a larger cauliflower, as it’s essentially cooked before roasting. You would need to make more of the spice mix though, perhaps double the spices, vinegar and oil.
And of course you can also use raw beetroot, just be sure to cook it a bit (steam or roast) before it goes in with the butternut squash as it takes substantially longer to cook through. I like the ready cooked kind for convenience though!
Spice roasted whole cauliflower with beetroot and butternut squash
1 small cauliflower, about 300 g after trimming
a few of the outer leaves of the cauliflower if they’re good
300 g butternut squash, diced
250 g cooked beetroot, diced (the sort you can buy in a vacuum pack in the supermarket, not pickled)
1 tbsp coriander seed
1 tsp caraway seed
1 tsp dried thyme
a large pinch of salt
1 tsp vinegar (I used sherry vinegar)
2 tbsp oil
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees c.
First steam the cauliflower until just tender, I did mine in the microwave for 5 minutes. I find that the texture of roasted cauliflower is more pleasing if it’s steamed first.
Toss in any larger cauliflower leaves for a couple of minutes too, the smaller ones shouldn’t need it.
Crush together the coriander seed, caraway seed, thyme and salt. They don’t need to be powder by any means, a bit of texture is good.
In the corner of a large roasting tin, mix together the spices, vinegar and oil.
Roll the cauliflower in the spice mix until nicely coated and then toss the rest of the vegetables in the remainder.
Arrange the cauliflower prettily in the centre of the tray with the butternut, leaves and beetroot around it.
Bake for 45 – 55 minutes until everything is cooked through and the cauliflower is lightly browned.
Cut the cauliflower into wedges or slices to serve.
Butternut squash is such a versatile vegetable that I tend not to think of stuffing it. It always seems like a bit of a cop out, stuffed squash is rather a veggie cliche!
But this time I couldn’t help myself, I had dried wild mushrooms, olives and tahini, and when I saw pomegranate seeds in the supermarket, the seeds of an idea for a great recipe were sown…
It really is delicious, sweet roasted squash with a stuffing full of earthy savoury flavours with the mushrooms, tahini and olives.
And the pomegranate seeds and pea shoots finish it off very nicely!
It slices ever so well too, Alex and I ate it for a couple of days of work lunches, a quarter squash per portion.
And of course, it’s very pretty. That always helps with the anticipation of a good lunch!
Butternut squash stuffed with mushroom, olive and tahini rice
makes 4 servings
for the stuffed squash
1 butternut squash, I forgot to weigh mine but it was about 18 cm long before cooking, and quite wide
2 tsp oil
80 g rice (or 300 g cooked rice)
10 g dried wild mushrooms
100 g fresh mushrooms, diced
50 g green olives, halved
2 tbsp tahini
salt and pepper
50 g pea shoots
80 g pomegranate seeds
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees c.
Halve the squash and scoop out the seeds and fibrous bit. Rub each squash half with 1 tsp oil and place cut side up in a roasting tray. Cook for 30 minutes, flip over and then cook for a further 15 minutes. The thicker part of the squash should be tender enough to allow a fork to pierce it, but not be completely soft.
While the squash is roasting make the filling.
Cook the rice in about 200 ml water until just soft. There should be a very little liquid left. For this recipe I only lightly rinse the rice, as it’s nice if it’s quite starchy and sticky when cooked, it helps the stuffing hold together.
If you’re leaving the rice a while before stuffing the squash, pop it in the fridge to cool down properly.
When you’re ready mix the dried and fresh mushrooms, tahini and olives with the rice and season well.
Scoop a little of the butternut squash out of the ‘neck’ end and mix that into the rice as well.
Now you should have a good space all along the squash for the stuffing.
Put half of the rice mixture in each squash half and pack it in well. It will make a lovely big mound.
Bake the stuffed squash for 45 minutes if the rice mixture was cold when you put it in, 5 – 10 minutes less if it was warm.
Garnish with the pea shoots and pomegranate to serve.
I wasn’t sure whether to call this a pilaf or not, when the lovely soft butternut squash is stirred through the rice it comes out somewhere between a pilaf and a risotto in texture! But as every cookery pedant knows, it can’t be a risotto if it isn’t arborio rice…
Whatever you choose to call it though, it’s delicious and makes a great work lunch with a salad of flavoursome mixed leaves.
I used dried kidney beans, and the hot soak method (as usual I was still thinking through what to cook the night before so didn’t set anything soaking…). The beans wrinkled and started to split after 30 minutes or so, not a problem particularly but I did a little research on why that happened. It seems that a short soaking time with not enough water could be the issue, but I think the hot water played a part too. Still, I added more soaking water (the amount in the recipe reflects this), and they turned out beautifully!
Butternut squash, herb and kidney bean pilaf