roasted stuffed butternut squash with goats cheese


well, december is here and many of us are starting to think about the festive season and all the parties and celebrations ahead of us. one such person is meeta whose monthly mingle theme is “traditional feasts.”

i don’t celebrate Christmas, or any other feasts, so am exempt from all the madness and rushing about. i won’t shout about it, but i actually find december quite peaceful as everyone else is distracted and i can avoid a lot of the mayhem with a quiet “christmas isn’t my thing” excuse.

however an excuse for a party or a special meal is rarely something i’ll walk away from so here is my offering for meeta’s gathering – a roasted stuffed butternut squash with goats cheese.

this would be a good vegetarian option for a festive meal and it can easily be made vegan by omitting the goats cheese. if you need a wheat-free option try the version i made with black rice earlier this year. seasons greetings!

roasted stuffed butternut squash with goats cheese (serves 4)

2 butternut squash

olive oil

125g bulgur wheat

1 sprig thyme

1 large red onion, finely diced

1 green chilli, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 red pepper, diced

4 tablespoons of slow-roasted cherry tomatoes (or use sunblush tomatoes)

1 teaspoon thyme leaves

1 goats cheese with rind, cut horizontally into 4 discs

preheat the oven to 200c.

half the butternut squash, scoop out the seeds and score the flesh. rub inside and out with olive oil and place them on a baking tray. season and roast for 30 minutes - the flesh should be soft enough to allow you to scoop it out, leaving a 1/2cm rim around the edge (this helps the squash keep its shape). roughly chop the scooped out flesh and put to one side.

meanwhile, cook the bulgur wheat, adding the sprig of thyme to the cooking liquid. when it is ready remove the thyme and drain well.

meanwhile, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan and fry the onion, chilli and garlic until soft. add the red peppers and fry gently for 5 minutes. add this mix, with the slow-roasted tomatoes, thyme and scooped out butternut squash, to the cooked bulgur wheat. season to taste and use this mixture to stuff the hollowed-out butternut squash. place a piece of goats cheese on the lower part of the squash and place them on the baking tray. cover with foil and cook for 25 minutes. remove the foil and cook for an extra 10 minutes – the cheese will have started to colour. we ate this with a rocket and cherry tomato salad.