Stuffed Butternut Squash with Quinoa and Mushrooms
This simple quinoa and mushroom stuffed butternut squashmakes a delicious vegetarian main dish that's perfect for the festive season. With only a handful of ingredients this dish is bursting with flavour and goodness!
Preheat the oven to 190 C. Cut the butternut squash in half lengthways, scoop out the seeds, season and drizzle the halves with a little oil (about 1-1.5 tbsp).
Roast for about 55-65 minutes until golden brown. It is ready when it starts caramelizing around the edges and is tender (check with a fork).Start making the filling whilst the butternut squash is roasting. That way when the squash comes out of the oven you’ll be able to stuff it straight away.
Cook the quinoa according to packet instructions. In the meantime fry the mushrooms with 2 tablespoons of oil over a high heat for 4-5 minutes until the water has been absorbed (the mushrooms release lots of moisture). Season to taste and set aside until the butternut squash is cooked.
Remove the butternut squash from the oven (keep the oven on). Scoop out some of the pulp from the middle (not too much, just to create more space for the filling) and chop roughly. Combine the pulp with the cooked quinoa, mushrooms, dried cranberries, onion granules and parmesan. Season generously.
You are now ready to stuff the squash. Scatter the pine nuts, drizzle over the melted butter and place on the top oven shelf for about 10-12 minutes (200 C). Remove from the oven, set aside for 5 minutes then serve.
Roasting the butternut squash: The time needed to roast the butternut squash will depend on the size of your vegetable. Ensure it's tender before removing from the oven.
Make the quinoa ahead: To save time you can make the quinoa ahead and once cooled, refrigerate it, covered, for up to 3 days. If you prefer to cook and use the quinoa straight away it’s absolutely fine to add it into the filling while still warm.
Cheese: I used a sprinkle of parmesan for more depth of flavour. I do not advise using more than the recommended amount as it may be a little overpowering in this recipe. You could also use a hard cheese of your choice, not necessarily vegetarian-friendly Parmesan.
You could swap chopped chestnuts, brasil nuts or almonds for the cranberries or omit these ingredients altogether.
Herbs: The roasted butternut squash and mushrooms make a deliciously rich flavour combination, one which for me did not need any herbs, but you could add a touch of sage, thyme or rosemary if you like (½ teaspoon should be enough).
Make it vegan: Use vegan parmesan and vegan spread instead of butter.
Best served hot. Refrigerate leftovers, covered, for up to 3 days.