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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!

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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.

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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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