Stuffed Butternut Squash with Maple Syrup and Freekeh

Laura Hemmington

butternut and toasted bread

Maple roasted butternut squash stuffed with pecan, thyme and cherry freekeh sounds good, doesn’t it? And it’s really simple to make too! This is a perfect cold-weather meal: really warming and hearty with all the autumnal flavours you could want, with the goodness of some lovely wholefoods ingredients to keep you nice and toasty. Serve with vegan sausages for an extra treat.

  1. For the butternut:
  2. 1 butternut squash
  3. 1 tsp coconut oil (solid)
  4. 2 tsp pure maple syrup
  5. ½ tsp cinnamon
  6. 10g fresh thyme
  7. For the stuffing:
  8. 100g freekeh
  9. 500ml water
  10. 1 tsp oil
  11. 250g chestnut mushrooms (dried mushrooms, such as porcini, would also work well)
  12. 1 red onion
  13. 4 cloves garlic
  14. ½ tsp dried chilli flakes
  15. 10g fresh thyme
  16. 20g dried sour cherries
  17. 30g pecans, chopped into small pieces

This recipe is for two, as a main course
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 60 minutes

  • Freekeh (or farik) is a cereal food made from green wheat that goes through a roasting process in its production.

  • Preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F / Gas Mark 6.
  • To prepare the butternut, use a sharp knife to top and tail it and then cut lengthways down the middle. Scoop out the seeds and stringy bits using a spoon. Next, slice a criss-cross pattern across the flesh – this ensures the butternut can soak up all of the lovely coconut oil and maple syrup (and helps it to cook more quickly).
  • Drizzle half of the maple syrup onto each half of the butternut and into the scooped-out cavity, followed by the oil (the oil can be melted in advance, or spread on solid). Sprinkle on the cinnamon and thyme leaves.
  • Place on a baking tray and cook for 45 minutes to an hour. It may take longer depending on the size of the butternut; just keep an eye on it (and cover with foil if you think it’s at risk of burning). It should turn a lovely caramelised brown, and should be soft, but not mushy.
  • While the butternut is cooking, prepare the freekeh. This usually involves simmering it in water for about 15 minutes, but check the instructions on the packet.
  • Chop the onion, garlic and mushrooms and heat the oil in a frying pan. Cook on a medium heat with the dried chilli flakes until the onions are soft and lightly browned. Add the thyme leaves, cherries and pecans and give it all a stir, helping the cherries to absorb the lovely flavours. The aroma is amazing! Add the freekeh, stir to combine and remove from the heat.
  • To serve, pile some spoonfuls of the lovely stuffing into the butternut and reserve some for the table (or to eat the next day in a tasty salad).

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