What will you be making for your Christmas main course this year? I always have a dilemma when it comes to deciding what will be the centrepiece of my festive table.
It’s got to look impressive, be packed full of festive flavours, not be so filling that I can’t manage dessert and, most importantly, taste delicious.
This wild rice, cranberry and pecan stuffed butternut squash recipe ticks all the boxes. It’s full of festive flavours, it’s satisfying without being coma inducing and most importantly – it’s vegan.
Here’s how to make Christmas wild rice, cranberry and pecan stuffed butternut squash:
Ingredients (serves 2)
1 medium butternut squash
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 small onion, chopped
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp ground cumin
75g wild rice and basmati or brown rice mix
50g green lentils, cooked (tinned ones are fine)
25g dried cranberries
25g toasted pecan nuts
1 tbsp chopped parsley
Zest of half an orange
1 tsp sumac
Salt and pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (fan)/200°C/gas mark 6.
Cut the squash in half lengthways and remove the seeds. Place on a non-stick baking tray and drizzle with olive oil, maple syrup and a little salt. Roast for 45 minutes – 1 hour until cooked through. If it starts to get too brown cover with foil towards the end of the cooking time.
Meanwhile cook the wild rice according to the packet instructions. Drain and set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a small frying pan. Add the onion and cook over a medium heat until softened and turning brown. Add the garlic and ground cumin, stir well and cook for a further minute.
Add the onion mixture to the rice along with the lentils, the cranberries, pecans, parsley and orange zest.
When the squash is cooked allow it to cool for a few minutes and then scoop out most of the cooked flesh, leaving a border of around 1cm behind. Chop the squash flesh and add this to the rice mixture. Stuff the rice mixture into the butternut squash halves packing in as much as you can. Cover with foil and return to the oven to heat through for ten minutes.
Before serving sprinkle the sumac over the top and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve alongside your favourite Christmas side dishes – roast potatoes, greens and Brussel’s sprouts are a must!
Mandy Mazliah is a vegetarian mum of three whose kids don’t eat vegetables. Read about her efforts to get them to eat their five a day at www.sneakyveg.com.
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