AUTUMN SQUASH WITH WALNUT PESTO AND GOATS CHEESE
Squash is one of my favourite foods in Winter with its natural sweet flavour. I tend to allow squash to do the talking and keep the flavours simple but with white quash, the flavour isn't as sweet and intense, so you need a robust topping. Choose to keep the skin on or off. I prefer keeping it on but only eating the orange squash skin; the white can be quite tough. This mix of vegan pesto and goats cheese allows for a creamy, Moorish meal – one perfect for a chilly day. I use walnuts in my pesto for their source of anti-inflammatory omega-3 essential fatty acids, in the form of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Walnuts are also rich in antioxidants, including being a very good source of manganese and copper, plus they taste great alongside the creamy taste of nutritional yeast and warmth of nutmeg – my secret ingredient for pesto. Make the batch and keep in the fridge for a few days – it’s great with pasta, courgetti or squash raw noodles.
1 large white squash
½ butternut squash
handful of okra
3 handfuls of kale
120 g goats cheese
For the pesto – serves 4 with more leftover for the week
1 handful walnuts
2 packs (200g) basil
3 tablespoons of nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons tamari or liquid aminos
2 cloves garlic
pinch of nutmeg
a good glug of olive oil
1. Cut the squash into big chunks and place on a tray along with the okra. Season, add the thyme and olive oil and gently rub through with your hands.
2. Place on 180 ° for 20 minutes, give it a good shake and then back in for another 10 minutes. Place the kale in the oven on the top for the final 5 minutes until it is nice and crisp and the squash is soft.
3. Whilst the squash is in the oven, make the pesto. Mix the ingredients in a blender (I use a vitamix) on a low blend to keep a little crunch. Add in a little water or extra olive oil if it’s thick but keep the consistency thick enough so it sits on a fork.
4. Layer the kale on the plate and top with the squash and okra. Drizzle the pesto over the top and then add 30g of organic goats cheese to each plate.