Annie Rigg’s butternut squash nut roast
Nutritious and filling, this flavoursome dish makes a great centrepiece for a vegan feast.
“The butternut squash is roasted and then filled with rice, nuts and dried fruit and baked again on a bed of woody herbs,” says food writer Annie Rigg. “The squash can be fully prepared in advance, the halves filled and chilled until ready to bake.”
Butternut squash nut roast recipe
1 butternut squash2½tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling1 large onion, finely chopped1 leek, trimmed and finely chopped125g chestnut mushrooms, quartered2 fat garlic cloves, crushed100g brown basmati rice, rinsed and drained300ml vegetable stock75g cooked chestnuts, roughly chopped50g walnut pieces, toasted50g hazelnuts, toasted and roughly chopped50g dried cranberries1tbsp balsamic vinegar3tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley1 bushy sprig of thyme, leaves picked2 bushy sprigs of bay leaves2 bushy sprigs of rosemary2tbsp breadcrumbs1tbsp grated vegan Italian-style cheeseSalt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 170°C fan/190°C/gas mark 5. Cut the butternut squash in half lengthways and place, cut side up, in a smallish roasting tin. Scrape out the seeds and fibres, score the flesh, season, drizzle with one tablespoon of the olive oil, cover with foil and roast for about 45 minutes until the flesh is tender all the way through when tested with the point of a knife.
2. Meanwhile, prepare the filling. Tip the onion and leek into a sauté pan, add one-and-a-half tablespoons of olive oil and cook over a low–medium heat, stirring often, until softened and just starting to turn golden at the edges.
3. Add the mushrooms and garlic to the pan, stir to combine and cook for a further five minutes until the mushrooms are tender. Tip in the drained rice, pour in the stock and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
4. Cover the pan with a disc of baking paper, or half-cover with a lid, and simmer very gently for about 30 minutes until the rice is al dente and there is still a little stock remaining in the pan. Remove from the heat and tip into a large bowl.
5. Add the chestnuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, cranberries, balsamic vinegar, parsley and thyme leaves to the rice mixture. Use a spoon to scoop out the cooked flesh from the butternut squash halves, keeping the skin intact and leaving a shell of about 1cm thick on all sides. Roughly chop the squash, add to the rice and season well.
6. Lay the bay leaves and rosemary sprigs in the roasting tin and place the butternut squash halves on top. Spoon the rice mixture to fill each half – any left over can be cooked alongside in another baking tin. Cover with foil and bake for 30–35 minutes until piping hot. Remove the foil, scatter with breadcrumbs, Italian-style cheese and drizzle with olive oil and return to the oven for a further 10 minutes until crisp. Cut into slices and serve.
Eat More Vegan by Annie Rigg is published by Pavilion Books, priced £16.99. Photography by Nassima Rothacker. Available now.
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