Roast squash

I was trying to think of a Halloween themed recipe but in all honesty I almost never cook pumpkins. When my children were small we loved growing our own pumpkins to carve for Halloween, or getting them from the local pick your own farm. But unlike other people who made soup or desserts out of the discarded pumpkin flesh, I used to throw mine away as it was so bland and looked unappealing. I know that sounds really wasteful and these days I would make more of an effort.

I do like buying butternut squash though, and browsing among different shaped squash or the really small pumpkins (especially the baby pumpkins which look so cute). Here I’ve used a whole butternut squash with a range of different vegetables. Using ingredients of different colours is so healthy (especially the yellow and orange foods which are rich in Vitamin A). Eating a balanced diet to ensure you’re not deficient in any key nutrients has always got to be a good idea, especially during a pandemic.

This recipe is dead easy to make as it’s basically chopping up chunks of the vegetables and roasting them for about 30/40 minutes. In fact it’s barely a recipe at all, more like a very basic instruction for food preparation. Make sure you don’t cook the vegetables for too long as they can shrink and burn very easily.

This is a hearty vegan recipe. A very generous portion of nuts and seeds sprinkled over the top provides protein. Include griddled halloumi or cubes of feta cheese for a standard vegetarian option.

I like to serve this on a big sharing platter (either for a first or main course), over a bed of mixed salad leaves and drizzled with a dressing of good olive oil, Dijon mustard and balsamic vinegar.

There’s no need to be accurate with ingredient quantities – it’s personal choice and depends how many people are eating. Make a big batch to use as leftovers.

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, deseeded and cut into chunks
  • 2 or 3 beetroot, peeled and chopped
  • 2 or 3 peppers – I like to use yellow, red and orange
  • 2 or 3 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 4 or 5 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 or 3 onions, roughly chopped
  • Nuts and seeds (I’ve used walnuts, sunflower seeds and pine nuts)
  • Mixed salad leaves
  • Olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C
  2. Arrange all the chopped vegetables in a large oven tray
  3. Drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper and mix well.
  4. Roast in the oven for about 30/40 minutes until cooked but not too caramelised.
  5. Toast the nuts and seeds in a dry frying pan until they start to turn brown (a few minutes).
  6. Lay the vegetables over a bed of salad leaves, dress with the oil and vinegar and sprinkle the nuts and seeds on top.

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