Butternut squash stuffed with mushroom, olive and tahini rice

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
for garnish
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.

By E.


Miso mushroom and quinoa bake

Last week both Alex and I had a couple of days off work (yay!). And while doing a bit of gardening and spidery conservatory clearing (I am eternally grateful to Alex for his help with this!), we discovered the joy of miso mushrooms on toast for breakfast.
It was back to the office yesterday (boo!), So for lunches I made this lovely bake with the flavours we’d so enjoyed.
It’s hearty and healthy and full of good things, and tastes delicious too.
You could definitely vary the vegetables, I just used what I had in the fridge. But there must be mushrooms!


Miso mushroom and quinoa bake

makes 4 servings

375g mushrooms, sliced
1 small courgette, diced
1 celery stick, diced
stalk from a head of broccoli, sliced
2 tbsp oil
150 g quinoa, washed and dry toasted
50 g red lentils, washed
1 400 g tin of kidney beans (240 g drained weight)
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp brown rice miso
1 tsp dried oregano
500 ml hot water

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees c.
Put the courgette, celery and broccoli stalk in a large roasting dish with the oil and cook in the oven for 10 minutes.
Add the mushrooms, stir and cook for a further 5 minutes.
Next add the tomato paste, brown rice miso and oregano to a corner of the roasting dish and mix with a little of the hot water to loosen. Add the quinoa, red lentils, kidney beans and the rest of the water and mix together well.
Cover with foil and pop it in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and cook for a further 15 minutes.
By this point the liquid should have been absorbed and the lentils and quinoa cooked through.

By E.


Mushroom and lentil soup

There’s no getting away from it, this soup is brown. Unashamedly, intensely, dark dark brown.
I was going to artfully strew something green over the top to pretty it up a bit, but then I though no, it’s mushroom soup and it’s mushroomyness should be celebrated!
It’s a gorgeously velvety soup, which doesn’t need any oil to help with the richness. And as well as the intense colour, happily the mushroom flavour is lovely and intense too!


Mushroom and lentil soup

serves 4

350 g large flat mushrooms, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
2 celery sticks, sliced
125 g urad chilka lentils, rinsed (split black urad dal)
1 litre light vegetable stock (hot), I used marigold vegan and gluten free stock powder made to half strength
2 bay leaves
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp ground allspice
2 tbsp tamari
a good big pinch of black pepper
a small wedge of lemon per person

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees c.
Put the vegetables, lentils, stock, bay leaves, thyme and allspice in a large ovenproof casserole pan. Mine is 22 cm in diameter and it was pretty full! Stir, cover, and put it in the oven.
Cook for 1 hour 20 minutes, stirring a couple of times. When the soup is cooked ladle around half of the vegetables and lentils into a blender, along with as much of the stock as you can (do it in a couple of batches if you need to). Blend until smooth, and then return to the pan.
Add the tamari and black pepper and stir well. Reheat if needed and then serve with the lemon wedges to squeeze into the soup at the table.

By E.


Mushroom pate

When I first stopped eating dairy it was mushroom pate that I turned to to replace cheese in sandwiches. It has a richness and savoury depth that helped with retraining my tastebuds! I think the key when replacing something that has been a staple in your diet, is to find something just as satisfying, even if it’s made with completely different ingredients.

I used to buy the granovita shiitake mushroom pate, the one in little tins, but I don’t seem to be able to get it anywhere around here at the moment. So today I thought I’d try making my own.

I’ve used a mixture of fresh mushrooms and dried shiitake, with plenty of the sort of seasonings that go so well with mushrooms.

It’s delicious spread on toast!

I’m going to try it as a topping for a baked potato too, I think it’ll work very well. Ooh and in a sandwich with avocado and tomato…

Mushroom pate

Mushroom pate

makes 4 servings

200 g mushrooms

1 tsp oil

salt and pepper

7 dried shiitake mushrooms

2 tsp dried marjoram

1/4 tsp green peppercorns (the kind in brine)

1 tsp brown rice miso

3 tbsp nutritional yeast

1 tbsp tamari

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees c.

Put the fresh mushrooms on a baking tray and drizzle with the oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast for 30 minutes. A little less time if they’re small, but they should look quite wrinkled when they’re done.

While the fresh mushrooms are in the oven, soak the shiitakes in around 300 ml of hot water.

Cool the fresh mushrooms a little, and drain the shiitakes, (reserving the soaking water if you like, it’s great for soups and sauces).

Put all of the mushrooms, along with the rest of the ingredients, into a bowl and blend together using a stick blender. Or a small processor would be even better if you have one.

By E.


Mushroom and pepper rosemary kebabs with vegan basil mayo

I’ve got some very pretty pots at either side of the front door at veganbungalow filled with lavender, petunias and rosemary. The scent is beautiful as it greets me when I get home from work! The rosemary though, is doing rather too well and needed a bit of a trim…

So we thought how lovely it would be to use it instead of skewers for vegetable kebabs as part of our barbecue lunch yesterday!

We went for mushrooms and peppers as our vegetables, as the mushrooms cook fairly quickly and red pepper charred at the edges but still crisp in the middle is delicious. The basting sauce uses lime powder, but you could substitute lime zest if you like, it won’t be the same but will still be tasty.

The vegan basil mayo is a lovely indulgent sauce to go with them, it uses xanthan gum and lecithin powder to thicken and hold the volume of a soy milk, vinegar and oil mix. The recipe makes more mayo than you’ll need for the kebabs, but it keeps well for a couple of days in the fridge and is tricky to make in smaller quantities. We used the extra to make a simple potato salad, which was delicious.

Mushroom and pepper rosemary kebabs

Mushroom and pepper rosemary kebabs

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Sweet and smokey roast vegetables

We’ve both got a couple of day off work (hurrah!), so made these simple roast vegetables to go on cheese on toast for a quick tea (for those not from northern England, tea is the evening meal.. We have breakfast, dinner and tea round here!)

They’re so delicious though that we just had to share!

The marinade with maple syrup, liquid smoke and lemon thyme is gorgeous, we’ll be using it as a dressing for bean salads too I think!

Sweet and smokey roast vegetables

Sweet and smokey roast vegetables

serves 2

for the vegetables

1 small sweet potato, in 1 mm slices

1 courgette, in 2-3 mm slices

2 large flat mushrooms, in 6-7 mm slices

for the marinade

1 tbsp tamari

1 tbsp liquid smoke

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

2 tbsp maple syrup

2 tbsp chopped lemon thyme

a large pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees c

So easy this one… put all of ingredients in a large roasting tin, mix together well and bake for 45 minutes, turning half way through. Yum!

By A. and E.


Olive, mushroom and basil spread

This little recipe is another happy accident governed by what was left lonely in my fridge after making other things. I wanted something to have on a sandwich to take to work tomorrow and the half a pot of hummus wasn’t nearly exciting enough on its own! But the olives had potential…

The spread is rather like a pesto, with olives replacing the cheese and adding the requisite salty richness. It’s a good job I made more than I needed, as it’s going to be great swirled through white bean soup, mixed with grains as a salad base, baked with tomatoes and aubergines… all sorts!

The bread in the photo is D S Gluten Free’s brown ciabatta rolls, which are my favourite by far of the vegan and gluten free breads available in the supermarkets. They have a lovely flavour, and a great texture, particularly when toasted.

Olive, mushroom and basil spread

Olive, mushroom and basil spread

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