We’ve set ourselves a challenge this week that Ainsley Harriott would be proud of. We’ve decided to have a ready, steady cook style competition (although there’s no way of this being judged or therefore won; any of you who know me will know that I’m not entirely happy with this aspect) with one ingredient and store cupboard essentials. The ingredient we’ve chosen is butternut squash as when we lived together a few years ago we’d regularly buy one, but all we ever did was make wedges to go with pizzas, which got quite repetitive. We’ve both got much more adventurous with our cooking these days and we’ve realised how versatile these are. I know they’re a pain to chop but it’s worth it in the end because they’re so tasty and I always like to think I burn a few extra calories by doing it.
On her neverending search for the perfect veggie burger, Ali came up with this easy recipe…
Butternut bean burgers (vegan, gluten-free option)
Makes 10 small burgers or 5-6 large
- 1 small BNS, chopped and skin removed
- 1 tin kidney beans, drained
- Half an onion, chopped finely (red or white will do)
- 1 cup breadcrumbs (sub with oats if preferred)
- 3tsp paprika
- 2tsp cumin
- 1tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
- Salt and pepper to taste
1. Chop BNS into cubes, cutting skin off as you go
2. Boil for 10 minutes or until soft
3. Drain, mash and season
4. Add drained beans and mash these in too
5. Add remaining ingredients and stir in
6. Use 1/4 cup to scoop out 8 mini burgers, or 1/2 cup to scoop 4 larger burgers and flatten down to shape (I find they cook better as smaller burgers and I usually have at least two)
7. Place on coconut oil greased baking tray and bake at 200 for 35 minutes, until they’ve firmed up to the touch, flipping over halfway.
8. Serve with wholemeal/gluten-free burger buns, sliced avo, melted cheese (pop on top for last few mins of cooking) and sweet potato wedges if you want to go all out. Or pair with a kale salad and drizzle with tahini if it’s more of a Tuesday night affair.
Meanwhile in Competitive Corner, Chaz did her healthy take on a favourite dish of ours – the classic risotto.
Butternut, beetroot and barley risotto
- 1 medium sized BNS
- 1 cup of dry pearl barley
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tbsp of paprika, cumin and nutmeg
- 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar
- 1tbsp of tahini
- 1 lemon
- 6 beetroot balls
1. Rinse the pearl barley and let it simmer in veg stock and season. It will take about 30 minutes to cook.
2. Cut or peel off the skin (put to one side for later) of the squash then chop it into chunks (about the size of half your thumb) and place on a baking tray in a preheated oven. Sprinkle with paprika, cumin and nutmeg and put it into oven for about half an hour.
3. Once the chunks have softened place about 10 cubes to the side (the ones that look the nicest) and put the rest into a blender with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, a tablespoon of tahini, the lemon juice and some more seasoning.
4. Blend it all together with about 2 tablespoons of water until it’s creamy. While this is blending put the skin shavings into the oven and roast them on high so they get nice and crispy.
5. Stir in the creamy BNS sauce with the barley, then place the butternut squash chunks, beetroot and crispy shavings on top.