This is another one of my famous ‘Meg is at work, let’s cook some weird and wonderful recipes using ingredients that I know she doesn’t like’ posts! Speaking to a couple of vegetarian friends in preparation for this month’s theme it became clear that a popular ingredient was butternut squash and so I of course had to disregard all the advice given to me and instead go on my own journey of creation and discovery. If I’m honest, I had never cooked with butternut squash before so it was a complete, make it up as I go along job, although to fair, so are most of my recipes. Overall, I was happy with the meals I cooked and I now have a drawer in the freezer full of butternut squash meals which I can slowly work my way through although I am disappointed with the photography side of this post. It turns out that it’s fairly difficult to make butternut squash look sexy, which is something I never thought I’d say and hope to never say again. I butter nut ramble for too much longer as I don’t want to squash your enthusiasm for the recipes!
So there I stood in the kitchen staring at a butternut squash not having a clue what to do with it. I knew I wanted to do three different recipes; I wanted two that I would be able to produce freezer meals with and one that I could eat there and then. I did the typical Aaron, look at a few recipes online for inspiration before going off on a complete tangent. I in the end opted for: stuffed squash with rice and mushrooms, curry and a vegan lasagne and before you ask, no I wasn’t convinced by the sound of vegan lasagne either and yes it did actually taste quite nice, although quite nice doesn’t make it sound very appetizing so I’ll instead say it was absolutely delicious!!
For the stuffed squash I used a very similar recipe to the one that we used for our stuffed peppers but obviously using butternut squash instead of peppers, obviously! It is a ridiculously simple recipe that you can adapt according to taste, what you have in the cupboards or how adventurous you are feeling. I used half of the squash for this recipe although realistically it would have quite easily served two people quite easily. The only slight downside that I found to this recipe is that it takes about 40 minutes in the oven to roast the squash, which for someone who in constantly hungry, felt like an absolute eternity. If the fancy stuffing a squash, however, the recipe is here.
I was really undecided over the second recipe I created as wasn’t sure whether to do a chilli or a curry and in the end I let the cupboards decided et voila, butternut squash curry. As I was creating this recipe from scratch, I did decide to keep it fairly simple but I will definitely do this recipe again and be much more adventurous. The sweetness of the squash works so well against the spiciness of the curry and provides a well balanced explosion of flavours on the palette. I really can’t keep that up!! I did try and be a bit posher but it isn’t going to work! The curry was delicious, the recipe is here and I do believe that that is all that needs to be said on the matter!
The final recipe that I would like to share with you is my favourite of the three: vegan lasagne. For this recipe I partnered the squash up with a personal favourite of mine, the classic sweet potato. I won’t give too much of the recipe away here but I purposely made this recipe as easy to prep as I could and I do believe I succeeded. I will be honest enough to say that this recipe may need some tweaking and anyone reading this who is a dedicated vegan may just have the correct answer to this dilemma, but for a complete beginner, I am very happy with how this turned out. I managed to get six decent sized portions out of the lasagne which means that the squash, in total, produced ten meals which I was very pleased about. If you’re as intrigued by vegan lasagne as I was, then the recipe is here.
I wouldn’t say that these recipes are the finished article but I don’t believe that any meal ever is because there are always tweaks and adjustments to be made and that is what I love about cooking. A recipe can be taken and injection with fresh ideas and inspiration and made into something fantastic. I seem to have gotten off topic which isn’t like me at all (note the sarcasm). As an initial journey into the world of veganism, I am happy with the meals that I’ve created although we have some epic vegan recipes ready and waiting to be shared with you over the next couple of weeks and we are very excited about these. Until then though, happy squashing!