I realise this post would have been more timely back in the autumn, when squash and pumpkin were everywhere in the shops. But if you grow your own squash, as we do, you’ll still have loads left from the autumn (cured properly in a sunny, warm spot squash will keep for many months), and might be looking for some recipe inspiration.
So here’s a rundown of our favourite things to do with squash, all of which are vegetarian or vegan (or easily veganised). Enjoy, and please do share your favourite squash recipes in the comments. Even with this lovely list of recipes, I’m always on the hunt for new things to do with our butternut bounty.
Our favourite squash recipes
In no particular order, here are our absolute favourites. (Note that some of the recipes call for pumpkin but we always use butternut squash instead. I much prefer the firmer flesh of squash, and I’ve never had a problem using it in place of pumpkin.)
- Nigel Slater’s spiced pumpkin soup with bacon (or, in our case, mushrooms)
This is a lovely, velvety soup that isn’t overly thick (my pet peeve with soups). Nigel tops this gently spiced soup with fried bacon, but we top it with marinated mushrooms instead. Simply marinate some thinly sliced mushrooms in 1 tbsp oil, 1 tsp each of smoked paprika, garlic powder and onion powder, and a little smoked salt and pepper. Leave for 20 minutes or so (longer if you have time), then fry until almost crispy. Makes a nice alternative to croutons.
- David Atherton’s butternut pasta bake
In this recipe, half of the squash is cooked with wine (we sometimes use cider) and blended to create a smooth, super-garlicky sauce, while the rest of the squash is cubed, roasted and stirred through the sauce, along with some spinach. It makes a wonderfully filling, creamy, yet good-for-you pasta sauce. We make this meal all the time. There’s a little bit of cheese in the pesto (which we just replace with nutritional yeast), but the recipe is otherwise vegan.
- Our own roasted squash and lutenitsa pasta
Riffing on David’s pasta bake, I sometimes make my own slightly lazier version, pairing roasted squash with jarred lutenitsa (a Bulgarian red pepper and tomato sauce). I struggle to think of the English equivalent of lutenitsa, but I reckon you could just use a jar of red pepper pasta sauce or combine red peppers with passata.
I start by roasting off some cubed squash and whole cloves of garlic. Then I add the roasted garlic and half of the squash to a saucepan with a jar of lutenitsa and a splash of soy cream (use whatever cream you like). Cook gently for a few minutes then blend to a smooth sauce (using some of the cooked pasta water to loosen), then add the leftover roasted squash. Taste and season with salt, pepper and lemon juice to your taste, and add your cooked pasta.
- Pippa Middleton’s butternut squash lasagne
Yes, THAT Pippa Middleton. But, trust me, this recipe is really, really good. It’s a forgiving recipe too, so feel free to add in whatever veg you have handy – we’ve found that leeks, mushrooms and kale all work well alongside the squash. The recipe is also easily veganised by using plant milk for the bechamel sauce and topping with vegan cheese or breadcrumbs.
- Meera Sodha’s pumpkin malai kari
Taken from the book EAST – which I’m obsessed with – this gorgeously silky, mild curry is heaven on its own or as part of a curry feast. (We like it alongside the beetroot curry from the same book, as it cuts through the sweet richness of the pumpkin dish.)
- BOSH! sunny Sri Lankan curry
We’re new to this recipe but it has fast become a favourite of ours. Quick, colourful and delicious, I can see us making this every other week.
I couldn’t do a list of vegetable-leaning recipes and ignore Ottolenghi now, could I? Any of the Ottolenghi books – even the ones that include meat – provide a masterclass in how to worship vegetables. This simple recipe is a great place to start if you’re new to the wonderful world of Ottolenghi.
- Ottolenghi’s parsnip and pumpkin mash
While I’m on the subject of Ottolenghi, I also really like this mash (from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook), which pairs roasted squash or pumpkin with roasted garlic, boiled parsnips, and fried onion rings. It’s great with sausages or would work well as an indulgent topping to a shepherd’s pie (veggie or otherwise). Sadly, I can’t find the recipe online, but you basically fry some rings of onion until crisp, roast the squash along with a whole head of garlic, and boil some parsnips. Then you mash the squash, parsnips and garlic lightly to create a chunky mash. Add butter, crème fraiche (I think we left this out altogether), nutmeg and chives, then top with crispy fried onion rings. Put your heart surgeon on speed dial before tucking in…
- Jamie Oliver’s m’hanncha (Moroccan snake pie)
This savoury filo pie is filled with squash, barley and spices, then curled up to make a beautiful swirl. It’s a bit of a fiddly job, filling and rolling the pastry, but it’s worth it. It’s so good, we even debated having this as our Christmas dinner centrepiece last year.
- BBC Good Food’s beetroot and squash wellingtons with kale pesto
These elegant individual wellingtons (made with readymade puff pastry) are another veggie alternative for the Sunday roast or Christmas dinner. Really tasty and hearty.
- Bulgarian tikvenik (pumpkin strudel)
Traditionally eaten at breakfast time, this Bulgarian pumpkin strudel-type dish is basically another swirly filo pie. We recently made our own version for the first time (see photo) and it was a triumph. Unfortunately, we just winged it and didn’t write down our quantities, so I can’t tell you exactly what we did. But the recipe I’ve linked to looks pretty close.
- Niki Segnit’s squash, bean and rosemary stew
If you have a copy of Flavour Thesaurus, by Niki Segnit (and you really should), you’ll find this delicious and easy stew on page 231. Sadly, I can’t find the exact recipe online, but this one looks similar (we always used canned beans, not the dried beans stipulated in the recipe, and it’s fine).
- BBC Good Food’s butternut and apricot chutney
Finally, if you want to preserve your squash, I recommend this fab chutney recipe, made with squash, dried apricots, coriander seeds and flaked almonds. Great in sandwiches or even as an alternative to mango chutney on a curry…
Bonus: 3 squash recipes that are on my list to try
And now, as the cherry on top, here are three squash recipes that I haven’t yet tried but look right up my street. If you’ve tried any of them, do let me know what you thought:
- Nigel Slater’s warm pumpkin scone
- Nigella’s recipe for a Middle Eastern-inspired minestrone
- Nigel Slater’s pumpkin and tomato laksa
Yes, two of these are soups. What can I say? I’m writing this on a cold March day and it’s snowing outside.
Over to you…
I’d love to hear what you think of this list. Which recipes are you going to try first? Am I missing anything obvious? (Squash risotto springs to mind, but I never use a recipe when making risotto…)
And, of course, I want to hear your favourite squash recipes. Please do share below.
Rob just reminded me that every time one of us picks up a butternut squash we inevitably shout ‘BIG BUTT BUTTERNUT’ – which is a ridiculously fun thing to say. Give it a try next time you fondle a squash and I guarantee it’ll make your day that little bit brighter.
I like big butternuts,
And can not lie
Classic! They will forever be called big butt butternuts in our house…
Thanks for this list! We have literal sacks of chopped butternut in the freezer so am always looking for new recipes too.
Last night I tried Nigella’s minestrone, on your behalf – it was very tasty! Perhaps a little too light and zesty for this time of year (in all this snow anyway) but would be perfect in summer.
Another favourite of mine in butternut gnocchi, have you tried it? It’s soooo delicious and luxurious feeling, but so easy to make. I use this recipe, but you’d need a vegan alternative for the egg and the butter in the sauce. https://www.halfbakedharvest.com/butternut-squash-gnocchi/
Hi Minty, thanks for trying Nigella’s recipe for us 🙂 As it sound like it’s better suited to warmer days, we made a classic minestrone at the weekend using this recipe from Cookie & Kate. We used a whole squash, plus loads of veg from the freezer and it turned out really well:
We have made butternut squash gnocchi before and liked it, so I can’t think why we haven’t made it more often! Have you tried frying gnocchi? It makes an interesting change to the traditional, soft-yet-bouncy gnocchi…
Thanks for the recipe tip – we’ll definitely check it out.