When you first go vegetarian or vegan, it can be a bit stressful, especially if you are short of time. That’s because we’re so used to being able to ‘stick a steak under the grill’ or ‘put a chicken in the oven’ or ‘grill a chicken breast’ and so on and so forth. I got stressed about it myself when I first went fully veggie this time last year, which is why I try to come up with EASY vegetarian meals. I still have to cook meat for my husband, so it would be a hell of a lot of work if I was making highly intricate meals for me along with his meals. What I try to do is either a variation of whatever he’s having, or something simple, especially during the week when it’s all rush rush rush. But on nights like last night, he is more than happy to be part of vegetarian night because the food is so good!
I love butternut squash, I probably cook it in some variation at least once a week (by the way, speaking of butternut squash, you must try Raine’s Butternut Gnocchi!) Butternuts are high in fibre, low in calories and high in Vitamin B Complex which I need lots of for my nerve problems caused by long-term arthritis. They are also high in polyphenols (like acai berries and blueberries) which are great anti-oxidants. An all round brilliant vegetable!
1 butternut squash (half per person)
1 small bag of spinach
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
Preheat your oven to 180. Cut the ends off the butternut and cut it in half, lengthways. Place it on a baking tray and bake for about an hour.
Take it out the oven after an hour and remove the seeds with a spoon – they should come out really easily now – and throw them away. Drizzle a little olive oil and salt over it and put back in the oven for half an hour.
Meantime, cook the spinach by heating 1 tsp of the oil in a saucepan. Once it’s hot, add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, then add the spinach, in small batches, along with some salt. It wilts to nearly nothing so a whole bag will end up just about filling the holes of the butternut. It shouldn’t take more than five minutes (should be less) for the spinach to be ready. Leave to the side, remove the butternut halves from the oven and fill the holes with the spinach. Serve on its own or with any accompaniments you choose. I served it with my vegan falafel, homemade tahini and some avocado.
Peace and Love!