Lasagne is always a good idea for dinner. I always make two while I’m making one, it’s not much extra work and then there’s one in the freezer for a rainy day. This version is an autumn/winter favourite. Layers of roasted squash and garlic, spinach and pumpkin seed pesto, pasta sheets and plant based béchamel. Delicious!
Ingredients (serves 6)
1 kg squash, cubed
1 bulb of garlic, minus 1 clove
6 sage leaves
olive oil, salt and pepper
Spinach & Pumpkin Seed Pesto Layer:
400g spinach, wilted
150g pumpkin seeds, toasted
1 clove of garlic, saved from the bulb above
the juice of half a lemon
6 tbsp olive oil
10g nutritional yeast
salt and pepper
Plant Based Béchamel Layer:
150g plain flour
20g nutritional yeast
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 litre oat milk
salt and pepper
250g lasagne sheets
extra sage leaves to decorate
Turn the oven on to 200C and cut a kg of winter squash (like kuri or butternut) into cubes, tumble them into a large baking tray. Peel a whole bulb of garlic and add the cloves to the dish, but put one aside for the pesto.
Toss the squash and garlic with 6 torn sage leaves and a generous drizzle of olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper then pop the dish in the oven to bake until soft. Meanwhile prepare the pesto and béchamel.
Put the spinach in a colander and pour over hot water to wilt the leaves. Squeeze the water out of the wilted spinach and put the bright, green lump in a food processor. Add the pumpkin seeds, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, olive oil and garlic. Blend into a rough sauce, taste and season with salt and pepper. Blend again briefly to bring the pesto together. Then make the béchamel.
In a cold pot, whisk the flour, nutritional yeast, mustard, nutmeg, olive oil and oat milk together. Then put the pot on a medium heat and whisk and cook until the sauce thickens and can coat the back of a spoon. Season well with salt and pepper then put to one side and check on the roasting squash and garlic.
When the squash and garlic is cooked though, mash it roughly, leaving some texture. Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed, then it is time to assemble the lasagne.
In a deep baking dish, add a 1/2 cm layer of the squash purée. Add a layer of pasta sheets, then a couple of ladles of the béchamel. Spread two or three heaped tbsp of spinach pesto over the béchamel, don’t worry if it mixes in. Then repeat until you’ve used all the ingredients. Squash, pasta, béchamel, pesto… Ensure you finish up with a thick layer of béchamel.
Decorate the top of the lasagne with some fresh sage leaves then pop it into the oven to bake until bubbling. After about 20-30 minutes, the pasta should be cooked through and the top should be golden. Test with a small sharp knife. Then cut and serve with a side salad or steamed greens.
The best current gut health science advises that we should be including as much plant diversity in our diets as possible. According to Dr Megan Rossi, one of the worlds leading gut health scientists and researchers, we should aim for 30 diverse ‘plant points’ every week. Do you eat 30 different plants a week? We certainly hope our veg boxes help you along the way to hitting that target.
We all know about the importance of eating our greens, but did you know that purple foods are really important to include in our diets too? Purple fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants called anthocyanins? All brightly coloured fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants which help prevent or delay cell damage. It’s best to get a full range of all the different types of antioxidants out there, so in the spirit of eating the rainbow, I’ve been trying out one of the new vegetables we have in, the vibrant, purple sweet potato! I’ve already made an irresistible classic – baked purple sweet potatoes with a bean chilli – and I couldn’t not make some gnocchi. Here’s the surprisingly simple recipe. I made a batch of butternut gnocchi at the same time for even more plant diversity on our plates. How will you eat purple sweet potatoes?
pesto to serve (make your own or we deliver a choice of organic pestos, add them to your fruit and veg order here)
Pre-heat your oven to 200C. Scrub one sweet potato per person. Prick the potatoes with a fork and bake them in a tray in the oven until soft all the way through. Sweet potatoes cook faster than regular potatoes, so test them after 20 minutes.
Allow the potatoes to cool to a temperature you can handle. Then peel them or slice them in half and scoop out the soft flesh.
Mash or puree the baked sweet potato flesh in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Season the mash really well with salt (bearing in mind you will be adding flour).
Then start adding flour, a little at a time, and mixing it into the puree until you reach a soft dough consistency*. I generally use plain flour or strong white bread flour but most flours work. You can easily make these gluten free by using a plain flavoured gluten free flour like rice flour or a plain gluten free flour blend.
Tip the dough onto a floured work surface and gently knead into a smooth, soft ball. Do not overwork the dough, you want to keep it tender.
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Get a frying pan and some butter or oil ready too.
Roll the ball of dough into a long snake about 2 cm thick. You may wish to divide the dough into manageable pieces, depending on how big a batch you are making.
Cut the snake into bite sized pieces. You can leave the pieces in the pillow shapes they are, or roll them into balls then over a gnocchi board to make little grooves. Alternatively you can roll the pieces over the back of a fork.
Boil the gnocchi in the pot of boiling water in small batches. Once they start to float to the top of the pot, scoop them out with a slotted spoon and fry them in the frying pan with a little oil or butter until they are hot and crispy and take on some colour.
Toss the hot gnocchi with some pesto (you can loosen the pesto with a little of the pasta water if needed) and enjoy with some peppery salad leaves.
*I made a batch of butternut squash gnocchi at the same time. The method is the same. But as butternut squashes generally contain more water than sweet potatoes, they need a fair bit more flour to turn into dough.
Butternut squashes are the most common squash that we deliver on repeat at Green Earth Organics and it’s no wonder. Organic vegetables just taste better! If you’ve ever been disappointed by a bland, watery supermarket squash, we urge you to try one of ours. These vibrant veggies are sweet and nutty and their fabulous flavour is more than matched by their incredible nutritional profile. Butternut squash is a great source of fibre, vitamins and minerals including A, B, C, E, calcium, magnesium and zinc.
Here are just 4 ways I cook a butternut squash regularly. Let us know your favourite butternut recipes in the comments or over on our friendly facebook group. We love to see what you’ve been making with our vegetables.
Head to our shop here to sign up for a veg box subscription or order from our wide selection of organic fruit, veg and groceries.
Lentil Pie with Squash Mash
Ingredients (serves 4)
1 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
10 diced mushrooms or two grated carrots or beetroots (use any base veg that is in season or a combination of veg that you like, diced or grated)
2 sticks of celery, diced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 vegetable stock cube or a big pinch of dried, crumbled mushrooms
1 mug of green/brown lentils (or two tins of cooked lentils, drained)
1/4 to 1/2 a butternut squash (or about 400g if you want to weigh it), peeled
a similar amount of potato as the squash, around 400g
salt, pepper and olive oil or butter for the mash – to taste
Sauté the onion, garlic in a little olive oil over a medium-high heat until starting to soften and take on some colour.
Add the diced mushrooms/carrot/beetroot and celery and a big pinch of salt and sauté for a bout 5-10 minutes until they have cooked down a little.
If you are using raw lentils, add them now and the stock cub or dried, crumbled mushrooms and herbs if using. Cover with water and simmer and stir until the lentils are cooked through. Keep tasting and adding more liquid if needed.
If you are using pre-cooked lentils from a tin, add the stock/dried mushrooms/herbs and a mug of water and simmer the vegetables in that for 5 minutes first, then add the drained lentils to the pot and a touch more water if needed to make a nice (not too dry, not too wet) base for your pie.
Taste and adjust the seasoning if needed with salt and pepper. Pour the lentil pie mixture into a baking dish and preheat your oven to 200C.
Meanwhile peel, chop and boil the potato and squash together until soft. Drain and mash with salt, pepper and a little oil or butter. Taste for seasoning.
Top the lentil base with your sunny, butternut mash. Rough it up a little with a fork and drizzle with olive oil.
Bake for 20-30 minutes or until hot, bubbling and crisp and golden on top. Enjoy with seasonal greens.
Butternut Squash Hummus
Ingredients (makes about 600g of hummus)
1 tin of chickpeas, drained over a jug to reserve the aquafaba
1 heaped tbsp tahini
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1/4 of a preserved lemon or the juice of 1 lemon
salt to taste
1/4 of a butternut squash (about 400g or so)
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp smoked paprika and olive oil to drizzle
Roast the butternut squash with a drizzle of olive oil, a tsp of cumin seeds and a pinch of salt until soft. This could take 20-3- minutes at 200C depending on the exact size of your squash, just keep an eye on it.
Place the drained chickpeas, preserved lemon, crushed garlic, tahini and cooked butternut into a food processor. If you are using lemon juice, start with the juice of half the lemon and see how you go.
Add a splash of aquafaba and a pinch of salt and blend into a smooth paste.
Taste and adjust the seasoning as you like with more lemon, salt, tahini, garlic as you prefer. If you like a lighter, fluffier hummus, add an extra splash of the aquafaba or some cold water and blend again.
Serve drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of smoked paprika.
Butternut, Beetroot & Tofeta, Lentil Salad
Ingredients (serves 4-6)
1/4 of a butternut squash
1 red onion
olive oil, salt and pepper to taste to season the above
1 mug of lentils boiled in 2-3 mugs of vegetable stock or water (or 2 drained cans of pre-cooked lentils)
dressing – 1 crushed clove of garlic, 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard, 1 tsp maple syrup, 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar, 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, pinch of salt
3 handfuls of chopped fresh herbs (dill, parsley and mint?)
This dish is really special with the addition of my tofeta. You can find the easy recipe illustration in this bog post here or in my book which is available to add to your order here. Otherwise use whichever cheese you prefer or replace the feta with toasted nuts or seeds.
Pre-heat the oven to 200C and find a large baking dish.
Boil green lentils in stock or water until cooked through. Drain off any excess liquid and leave to cool while your prepare the vegetables, herbs and dressing.
Chop the squash, beetroots and red onion into slim wedges, season them with salt, pepper and olive oil, then roast them until they are soft and slightly charred.
Mix up the dressing ingredients and stir it through the cooked lentils.
Chop the fresh herbs then arrange the salad into a large salad bowl or platter.
Put the dressed lentils on the base, spoon over the roasted vegetables, scatter over the fresh herbs and crumble the tortes on top.
Enjoy warm or cold. This keeps well in the fridge for no more than three days. Keep the tofeta seperately and it will last longer.
Butternut & Swede Gratin
Ingredients (serves 4)
1/2 a butternut squash
1 small swede or half a large one
2 crush cloves of garlic
a small handful of wintery herbs like thyme/rosemary/sage
salt and pepper
4 or 5 handfuls of breadcrumbs (add chopped herbs and nutritional yeast to your breadcrumbs to make them more flavoursome – or replace the bread crumbs with crushed nuts/seeds)
Pre-heat the oven to 200C.
Thinly slice the butternut and swede and mix them together in a large, lidded baking dish with the crushed garlic, a generous drizzle of olive oil and salt and pepper to your taste.
Pour in enough oat milk (or use cream for a richer gratin) to cover about a cm of the base.
Put the lid on the dish and bake until the vegetables are soft all the way through. This should take about 30-40 minutes.
Remove the lid and add a little more oat milk. Scatter over a thin layer of breadcrumbs, drizzle with olive oil and return to the oven for a further 10-15 minutes, lid off, to brown on top.
Serve with seasonal greens or as a side to a roast.
Introducing the slightly more laborious, but much more exciting cousin of macaroni cheese! Béchamel Baked Butternut Gnocchi! This is comfort food at it’s finest.
My vegan béchamel sauce is very simple to put together, and for this I’ve simply whisked it up and poured it over sautéed celery and leek. Then I popped in lots of freshly boiled butternut gnocchi (not as tricky to make as it seems), scattered over some tangy capers and crushed pumpkin seeds and baked it until the béchamel was bubbling and thickened! I got some gorgeous cherry tomatoes in my box last week so I placed them on top to roast in the oven. Their bright acidity is the perfect foil to the creamy richness of the béchamel and gnocchi.
I’d love to see your photos if you make this dish. Share them with us over on our friendly facebook group or tag us @greenearthorganics1 on Instagram and don’t forget to share this blog post with your friends. Liz x
enough plain flour to bring it into a dough (this varies depending on the water content and size of your squash)
salt, pepper and optional herbs or spices (sage/rosemary/thyme/chilli flakes…)
Pre-heat your oven to 200C.
Cut a small butternut squash in half, scoop out the seeds and bake it – cut side down – in a hot oven (200C) until the flesh is soft all the way through. Test it with a small knife, it should easily slide into the soft, roasted butternut. (This normally takes 30 minutes or so. While it’s in the oven, get on with the sauce and preparing the toppings below.)
Allow the squash to cool to the point where you can easily handle it, then scoop out all the roasted flesh and mash or blend it into a smooth purée.
Find your biggest pot, 2/3rds fill it with water and get it on the stove to heat up to a rolling boil while you make the gnocchi.
Season the purée with salt and pepper and taste to check the seasoning. It should be slightly too salty as you are going to fold in a fair bit of flour. You can also add optional extra flavours at this stage. For example chilli flakes and sage or rosemary and lemon zest… or just leave it plain, that’s delicious too!
Then stir in enough flour to turn the purée into a soft dough. You can use plain flour (make sure there are no raising agents in it) or strong bread flour or even a gluten free plain flour blend. Gnocchi works best with white flour rather than wholemeal.
The amount of flour varies depending on the size and moisture content of your squash. Just start with a mug or so, gently fold it in and keep going until it’s the right consistency to be tipped out onto a floured work surface and very briefly kneaded. You want to work it as little as possible to keep it tender, but just enough to bring it together into a manageable ball of dough. It should be soft and sticky, get a helper to keep dusting the work surface and your hands with flour to make it more manageable.
Cut the ball of dough into 4, then roll one of the quarters into a thick snake. Chop the snake into little bites. If you want to make little traditional looking grooves in the gnocchi you can stamp each bite with a fork or you can roll them over a gnocchi board if you have one… or simply roll them into balls.
Then drop the gnocchi into the now boiling water in batches. Gently loosen them from the bottom of the pot with a slotted spoon. When they rise to the top of the water they are done and can be scooped out and placed in the sauce below. I do them in batches of one snake at a time, then while that batch is boiling I get the next snake ready.
Keep going until all your gnocchi dough is used up. If you make too much for the bake, then you can cool down and keep the excess boiled gnocchi in the fridge/freezer and use it another day (pan fry it with a little olive oil or butter and serve with pesto and salad?)
In an oven and hob safe, large, wide pan, sauté the sliced celery, leek and garlic with the butter or olive oil and some salt and pepper until soft. Then turn off the heat. (If you don’t have an oven and hob safe large dish like this, you can just sauté the veg and tip it into a roasting tray instead.)
Then whisk the flour, milk, mustard, nutritional yeast, nutmeg, salt and pepper in a large jug or mixing bowl and pour the mixture over the sautéed celery and leeks.
Boil the gnocchi in batches as above and pop them into the dish on top of the sauce.
In a small blender or large pestle and mortar, crush/blend the handful of pumpkin seeds with a small handful of nutritional yeast for a crunchy, savoury topping. Scatter this over the gnocchi and sauce.
Sprinkle over the capers and cherry tomatoes then pop the dish into the oven (with an optional drizzle of olive oil) to bake until the gnocchi are burnished golden brown and the sauce is thick and bubbling. This should take around 20-30 minutes.
Serve with a simple green salad and an ice cold glass of white wine and enjoy!