Butter up to squash: Two ways to cook with squash

The autumnal favourite pops up in a warming bowl of dahl and as a stuffing for a vegetable taco

 

VANESSA’S WAY . . . SPICED ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND PUY LENTIL DAHL

When I see a one-pot recipe where butternut squash is thrown in to boil, I’ll usually go off-piste on the recipe and roast it in the oven first (if you line your baking trays with tinfoil it avoids extra washing up).

For so little effort, the gentle caramelisation roasting gives transforms squash into a great side dish. It also yields any number of warming soups, risottos, purées and salads.

I’ll admit, the worst thing about butternut squash is the cutting stage and I still haven’t mastered a best way. But if I remember to separate the thin end from the round, wider end, and position the squash on its flat, cut side before chopping, it is easier and safer.

This warming dish with earthy Puy lentils is perfect comfort food.

GARY’S WAY . . . BUTTERNUT SQUASH, CHILLI, GARLIC AND ONION TACOS WITH CUMIN YOGHURT

It’s very seldom I go full-on veggie, but today I do. Butternut squash is just one of those vegetables that can handle being centre stage. Ironically enough though, this dish was inspired by a steak and squash taco I ate while on a trip to the US to visit some old friends in Boston two years ago.

I was in Harvard Square, taking a stroll past the university, when I came across a wee spot which has replaced a place I used to go to when I had the urge for a seven layer chocolate fudge cake.

My immediate thoughts were of sadness, but once inside and settled in to the funky surrounds of this hip new spot, and a wee glance over the menu, I was hooked. A steak, eggs and veggie taco had my name written all over it. It was, as we say in Donegal, clean lethal.

Here I’ve taken away the steak (feel free to throw some strips in though) and gone with butternut squash, chilli, garlic and onion. A top drawer brunch dish and, like I said, add some steak strips and a fried egg should you fancy sustenance for a full day on the couch, glued to the TV.

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