Deliciously creamy stuffed squash with St Tola goat’s cheese

Kitchen Cabinet: Hannah O’Donnell, chef at Kai in Galway, shares her go-to recipe

St Tola goat's cheese is made by Siobhán Ni Ghairbhith and her team in the Burren in Co Clare with milk produced from her own herd of goats. They produce a range of goat's milk cheeses that range from soft cheese curd to mature St Tola.

They are one of the Irish cheese makers still making cheese from raw milk, using milk from their own farm herd, as opposed to being solely dependent on buying in milk to produce cheese.

St Tola original is the perfect texture for this dish as it folds in perfectly with the rest of the ingredients, resulting in a lovely creamy, firm filling.

Hannah O’Donnell is a chef at Kai in Galway.


St Tola, quinoa, and pecan stuffed squash

Serves four

2 medium sized butternut squashes, halved lengthways and seeds removed
100g red quinoa
120ml vegetable stock
50g St Tola goat's cheese
30g pecans, toasted and chopped roughly
Handful of dried cranberries
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped
Few leaves of sage, chopped
2 tsp ground fennel
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chilli flakes
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp black pepper
2-3 tsp salt
1 tbsp date syrup
Good quality olive oil
40g grated Parmesan


1 Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

2 Place the squash on a baking tray. Oil generously all over and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 30 minutes skin up, until tender. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes.

3 To cook the quinoa, put it into a saucepan with 120ml vegetable stock, or water and one vegetable stock cube. Bring to boil and simmer for 15 minutes till fully cooked. Check for water levels because the quinoa might need a top up. Remove from heat and allow to cool.

4 Scoop almost all the flesh out of the squash leaving about a 1-2cm of flesh close to the skin. Place the squash shells back on to the baking tray and set aside.

5 In a medium sized mixing bowl add the squash flesh, goat's cheese, quinoa, herbs, lemon and cranberries. Add the spices, cumin, fennel, chilli flakes and oregano. Add the seasoning and date syrup. Mix until well combined and check for seasoning.

6 Carefully spoon the mix back into the squash shells till the shape of the squash is back intact, even slightly over-filled. Sprinkle Parmesan on to the tops of the filled squash. Put the stuffed squash back into the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes until browned and hot in the middle.

7 Serve with a seasonal salad or with steamed greens.

8 The squash can be replaced with pumpkins, which are also in season. These can also be made ahead of time and refrigerated for up to two days. Bake for about 25-30 minutes when cooking from the fridge. Also, if there is extra filling it freezes well and can be stuffed into jacket potatoes, courgettes or even peppers.

Kitchen Cabinet is a series of recipes for Food Month at The Irish Times from chefs who are members of Euro-Toques Ireland, in support of Ireland’s food producers. #ChefsMeetProducers.