After being recently inspired to consider eating less meat, I wanted to give my stomach a break from it and turn veggie for 1 day per week. I decided to do what I love the most on a rainy UK bank holiday, switch on Jazz FM and create a Paleo recipe!
Paleo pesto stuffed butternut squash
Rich, creamy and delicately flavoured, butternut squash is a versatile addition to the dinner table. It also helps that butternut is one of the most nutritious vegetables around – low in fat, high in fibre, and packed with valuable nutrients like vitamin B6, vitamin C, potassium and carotenoids. Caroteoids are a powerful antioxidant that not only provide high levels of Vitamin A, but also help boost your immune system.
With its wonderful flavour and textures, it’s perfect at any time of the year – but especially in autumn as the weather starts to cool. In this dish, make the most of its dense and filling qualities by pairing it with fresh basil, grown in my garden. A great alternative to pasta, butternut provides a perfect foundation for traditional Italian flavours like pine nuts and basil, absorbing and combining with them to result in a sweet and fragrant dish that’s lovely on its own – or as a side.
Here’s what I was aiming for:
Let’s get cooking!
The recipe below will make enough Paleo pesto to stuff 1 butternut squash to bursting point, or happily fill 2. So if you’re cooking for 4, you should have enough from the ingredients list below.
I didn’t weigh how much basil I put in, it was (I think) the last harvest from my basil plant. The great thing about basil is you can taste it even if the amount is tiny so use as much as you like. The same goes for pine nuts, if you want to use more and make the Paleo pesto creamier please do!
Paleo Pesto ingredients:
- 1 Butternut squash
- 100g of Pine nuts
- Large bunch of fresh basil leaves
- 15 tsp or 90ml of Olive oil
- 3 round shallots or 1 small white onion
- 4 cloves of garlic
- Juice from ½ a lemon
- Preheat the oven to 220 °C, 425°C / Gas mark 7
- Slice the butternut squash lengthways in half.
- Remove the seeds.
- Place on a baking tray, straight in the oven for 50 minutes.
Making a Paleo “Pesto”
- In a dry hot pan, toast the pine nuts. Set aside when lightly brown.
- Roughly dice the garlic and shallot, place in a food processor.
- Squeeze in the juice of half a lemon, drizzle in the oil and blitz.
- After a quick blitz, add the basil in and blend again, this time more gently.
When the butternut squash halves are softly roasted, fill them with the Paleo “pesto”, return to the oven for a further 10 minutes.
When you’re happy with the result serve and enjoy. This Paleo pesto stuffed butternut squash goes perfectly with some crisp kale – sautéed in a hot pan, with just a drop of oil.
Voilà c’est tout!