I am obsessed with squash at the moment, like really really obsessed. I’ve started eating it at almost every meal. I guess when I start eating it for breakfast I’ll know I’ve gone a little too far, but at the moment I’m loving it and this is one of my favourite ways to eat it. It’s such an amazing autumnal dish, so perfectly warming and comforting for the cold weather. Risotto, on the other hand, is something I’ve been missing a lot. I used to eat it all the time, it was my go-to cold weather dish but sadly the normal white rice just does not do good things for me, or for that matter, anyone else. This brown rice version, however, is just divine. The ultimate replacement! It’s so healthy and filled with tons of fibre, which means it keeps you happily full for hours. The flavours and textures are actually perfect. I love how the bite sized cubes of cumin and paprika roasted squash melt against the creamy risotto in each mouthful. The spices really serve to give the dish such a beautifully deep, rich flavour, while the addition of apple cider vinegar and a little lemon ensure a tanginess that intensifies all the existing aromas. Despite not having any cheese or cream this dish is still so incredibly creamy, thanks to the combination of blended squash with tahini and nutritional yeast, which are two of my favourite ingredients. I’m pretty new to nutritional yeast, but it’s amazing. It gives such an incredible flavour to dishes which are missing their traditional cheesiness. I know it sounds weird but it really does recreate that distinctive flavour. Even better, it is so good for you as it is a complete protein, which is particularly rich in the B vitamins. Don’t worry though, it’s not like adding normal yeast to your food – it’s from a totally different strain and is deactivated so it won’t turn your body into a candida feeding ground! If you feel like spicing the dish up a little, and making it even more nutritious you can always add some more veggies. I normally go for mushrooms, as they give a delicious meaty feel to it and really complement the existing deliciousness.
- 2 large butternut squash
- 3/4 of a cup of brown rice
- 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
- a handful of fresh coriander
- 1 tablespoon of tahini
- 2 teaspoons of paprika
- 1 teaspoon of cumin
- 1 lemon
- olive oil
- salt & pepper to taste
Start by cooking the rice, this will take about forty five minutes. Once you put the rice in the pot with the boiling water add the salt, a drizzling of apple cider vinegar and a sprinkling of dried herbs to add some flavour. You’ll need to continue stirring the rice and adding more boiling water occasionally as it cooks, just make sure the rice never runs out of water until it is cooked.
While the rice cooks chop the squash into bite-sized squares, cutting off the skin as you go. Then places the squares onto a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil, paprika, cumin, salt and pepper. Bake this at 190C for about 15 minutes, until the cubes are perfectly soft and delicious. Roasting the squash really brings out the flavour, making it much more delicious than it it was steamed.
Then put three quarters of the squash into a blender of food processor with about a quarter of a cup of water plus the nutritional yeast, apple cider vinegar, tahini, salt and lemon. Blend until a smooth creamy consistency forms.
Once the rice is about 5 minutes away from being cooked, and there is very little to no water left, stir in the creamy squash mix. Then add the remaining pieces of squash and a handful of finely chopped coriander. Then enjoy!