Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Chickpea and Spinach stuffed Gem Squash

Perfect for one
We got Gem Squash in our veg box this week. Its all very well being able to skip the potatoes or lettuce when I want to, but sometimes I end up with a replacement I have no idea about.

This was one of those times.

Now I like orange winter squash and they're very nutritious, but after a disaster soup situation with some spaghetti squash, I've been a bit more careful to find out what I'm dealing with when it comes to new veg.

So cute!
I love the size and shape of Gem Squash, they're the perfect serving for one, but most of the recipes I found on google suggested stuffing them with mince or some variation thereof which didn't appeal.  The South African way is to roast them with butter but that seemed too plain for anything but an accompaniment and I wanted to make a one dish meal (for a change).

While I'm desperately trying not to symptom spot its impossible not to notice that I'm experiencing all the same annoying symptoms as last month, plus nausea, and legumes are supposed to help whether its PMS or morning sickness so chickpeas are also on the menu.  I don't know exactly when I'm due this month as I didn't take the bbt thermometer to Jersey and I haven't figured out my cycle properly since my last loss, but it must be by the end of the week.

We have loads of spices to throw out use up before we move to Australia so I thought I'd try to create a North African inspired recipe.

Gem squash is a lot harder to cut than I expected and I struggled somewhat to cut the tops off evenly.  You might need your super-strength for this.

 Fertility Focus
Winter Squash is rich in Vitamin A and zinc and selenium which is important for reproductive health
Turmeric is good for stabilising blood sugar levels which helps with managing weight and hormone balance
Chickpeas are a plant source of protein
Spinach is rich in ironfolic acid and vitamin K

Pre-prepped for a change
  • Gem Squash
  • Butter
  • Cumin seeds
  • Coconut oil
  • Ground coriander, cinnamon, turmeric
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Chickpeas
  • Tomato
  • Spinach

Set oven to 160 degrees Celsius.  Wash and dry the Gem Squash.  Cut the tops off and scoop out and discard the seeds. Rub with butter, replace the tops and roast in the oven for approx 25 minutes.

While the squash is cooking, toast some cumin seeds in a dry pan.  Once they're toasted add a teaspoon of coconut oil and the ground spices.  Cook for a few minutes then add half a finely chopped small onion, garlic and ginger.  Saute until soft.  Add a cup of pre-cooked chickpeas and stir until completely covered with spices and onion mix.  When the squash is nearly ready add chopped tomato and spinach.  Mix around so the spinach wilts.

Ready to stuff the shells
Remove the squash from the oven and scoop the cooked flesh out of the shell and lid. They are extremely hot to hold so use oven gloves or something.  The flesh comes out all stringy. Pull it apart and mix it into the pan with the chickpeas.

Stuff the empty shell with the chickpea mix and return to the oven for another 10 minutes.

I served this with quinoa and some harissa paste I found lurking in the back of the spice cupboard.

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