Butternut Squash with quinoa, feta, basil & mint
This dish is for those ‘there’s a vegetarian coming for dinner’ evenings. So tasty, all the carnivores will want a piece of it.
2 large butternut squash, halved lengthways and deseeded
Drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bulb of garlic, unpeeled with the top sliced off
310g (11oz) quinoa
2 red peppers, sliced into strips
1 large pinch of fennel seeds
2 handfuls of pine nuts, toasted (see Banana Loaf with rum & pecans)
1 small red chilli, deseeded and finely diced 400g (14oz) feta cheese, crumbled into largish chunks
1 large squeeze of honey
1 bunch of fresh basil
1 bunch of fresh mint
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F), Gas Mark 6.
Place the squash cut side up on a large shallow baking tray and drizzle with the oil, then season with a pinch of salt and a twist of black pepper. Put the garlic on the tray next to the squash and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the quinoa according to the packet instructions then remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool in the pan. Remove the squash from the oven and sprinkle the red peppers over the tray (not on the squash). Sprinkle the fennel seeds over the squash, then remove the garlic from the tray and set aside.
Next, put the squash back in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until the squash is soft when tested with a spoon. Add the pine nuts, chilli, feta, red peppers and honey to the quinoa. Squeeze the garlic flesh from the skins and stir everything together. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Place the squash on individual serving plates and divide the quinoa mix among the squashes. I spread it all over leaving a border of 1cm (½ in) and pile it up high for dramatic effect. Tear up the basil and mint leaves and scatter over the top. Serve immediately.
Have a great day
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