Monday 20 October 2014

Butternut Squash, Carrot & Quinoa Nut Roast GF

Butternut Squash, Carrot & Quinoa Nut Roast in loaf tin

I've been making this awesome nut roast regularly throughout the Summer. Quick and easy to prepare, it's packed full of protein from the quinoa and the nuts and the butternut squash and carrots give it a subtle sweetness as well as a lovely warm, orangey tinge.

Quinoa in a bowl

The nut roasts I used to make years ago always had breadcrumbs added to the mix, something I rarely do these days when there are far better nutritional alternatives. Quinoa is the ideal replacement for the bread because it can soak up some of the moisture of the vegetables and act as a binder at the same time. But the best bit about using Quinoa is the protein. Unlike other grains it contains significant amounts of the amino acids lysine and isoleucine which enable quinoa to be considered as a complete protein source.

Butternut Squash, Carrot & Quinoa Nut Roast in a pan ready to go into the tin

Butternut squash and carrots contain significantly high levels of beta-carotene, an antioxidant that helps to boost the immune system and helps to maintain good eyesight - a precursor form of vitamin A. Did you know that the body can cleverly regulate the amount of beta-carotene that it converts to Vitamin A and there is no chance of consuming too much from these food sources? However, if you do eat too many carrots, for example, you may end up with a yellow tinge to your skin though fortunately this is reversible.

Fry the vegetables in a frying pan

Don't worry too much about the exact quantities, a little more or less butternut squash, nuts or quinoa doesn't make that much of a difference to the recipe. It is important, however, to time the cooking of the quinoa since it needs to be slightly undercooked before adding to the vegetables. Also, I used a lined 2 lb loaf tin but you can use a square dish if you prefer and you don't need to line it, it just makes it easier turn out.

Cooked Butternut Squash, Carrot & Quinoa Nut Roast

Butternut Squash, Carrot & Quinoa Nut Roast GF

75 g uncooked quinoa (about ¾ cup)
250 g mixed nuts (e.g. almonds, cashews, brazils, walnuts)
1 large red onion
1 stick celery (optional)
400g peeled butternut squash (about ½medium butternut squash)
2 carrots
1 large clove crushed garlic
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried rosemary
extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground sea salt and black pepper

  • Set the oven to 180° C 
  • Finely chop the red onion and celery, peel and dice the carrots and butternut squash.
  • Melt about 1 tablespoon of oil in a deep frying pan and add the onions and celery.
  • Cook the onions over a medium heat until they start to go translucent then add the garlic, butternut squash and carrots.
  • Fry the vegetables for about 10 minutes, stirring regularly then add the herbs.
  • Cover with a lid and cook on a low heat for a further 10 minutes, adding a tiny bit of water if the mixture seems a little dry.
  • Meanwhile rinse the quinoa for at least 2 minutes in a wire sieve under the running tap.
  • Tip into a pan and add double the amount of boiling water.
  • Bring to the boil and simmer with the lid on for ten minutes while the vegetables are cooking.
  • Drain the quinoa then tip it into the vegetables, put the lid back on, turn off the heat and leave for 5 to 10 minutes so the quinoa can absorb the liquid from the vegetables.
  • Mash the mixture with a potato masher to break up some of the vegetables chunks.
  • Finely chop the nuts and add to the pan with plenty of sea salt and black pepper. Start with 200 grams and add more, if necessary, to absorb the moisture.
  • Mix well then tip into an oiled or lined tin.
  • Bake for about 35 to 45 minutes in the centre of the oven until crispy on top.
  • Tip out straight away, slice and serve.

Butternut Squash, Carrot & Quinoa Nut Roast sliced