I have called this Messy Baked Butternut Squash because all the ingredients are thrown together and it is best if they are mixed by hand before placing in the oven to infuse each other with the delightful mix of fragrance and flavour. The brightly coloured butternut squash can only improve when combined with the dark red of the paprika. I use a blend of smoked and sweet paprika so as not to overpower the dish with too much smokiness but of course you can play with the proportions to suit your own taste. Nothing needs to be precise in this recipe.
The apple adds sweetness, the mandarins almost disappear leaving their tangy peel to add a contrasting pop of flavour. The herbs impart their flavours and fill the kitchen with mouth watering fragrance. As you eat this dish, get messy again and squeeze the soft buttery cloves of garlic over the squash. I even like to chew on the herbs which have become crisp in the baking process.
The Messy Baked Butternut Squash is delicious served with a big crunchy salad and wholegrain bread. I also discovered the slices of butternut squash make a perfect foundation for a spoonful of hummus, topped with a sliver of tomato and some chives, when an attack of the munchies happens mid afternoon.
Yield: 4 – 6 servings
Preparation time:15 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour
1 medium sized butternut squash
1 or 2 apples, cored and sliced
1 bulb garlic, broken into cloves, no need to peel
1 or 2 thin skinned mandarins, thinly sliced
Several sprigs of sage
Several sprigs of thyme
Several sprigs of rosemary
Several sprigs of marjoram
Salt and Pepper
What to do
Oven: 200°C, 400°F
1. Line a large baking tray with baking paper.
2. Halve the butternut squash, scoop out the seeds and cut into a just under 1 cm slices. Place the slices into the baking tray.
3. Add the fruit, herbs and garlic cloves and toss everything around a little.
4. Sprinkle generously with both of the paprikas, making sure that each slice of butternut squash has a sprinkling of paprika. Add some freshly ground salt and pepper.
5. Cut a piece of baking paper large enough to just cover the tray and place it lightly over the butternut squash.
Place the tray in the centre of the oven and bake for 30 minutes.
6. Remove the tray from the oven and using a large spatula toss all the ingredients around. Add another sprinkling of paprika, salt and pepper. Cover with the paper and pop back into the oven.
7. Bake for about another 30 minutes until the butternut squash is tender, removing the paper cover for the last 10 minutes or so.
Whole Food Plant Based Tip: Butternut squash has high in Vitamin-A, a powerful natural anti-oxidant which is required by the body for maintaining the integrity of skin and mucosa as well as an essential vitamin for healthy eyesight. It is also an excellent source of vitamin E, thiamin, niacin, vitamin B-6, folate, pantothenic acid, and manganese.