It’s almost six months since my last post – how time has flown! Back then I was enjoying fresh Spring ingredients, sharing my asparagus and pea pasta recipe. Now we’re deep into autumn, and comfort food is back – this autumn squash stew is the perfect place to start.
Unless you’re one of my Facebook friends, you may wonder what I’ve been up to the last six months. Well, I’ve been taking a much needed break with my husband Steve. But we’ve not been resting on our laurels – the exact opposite in fact. In our campervan, Dave, we’ve been travelling round the UK, exploring the Scottish coast and Northumbria way up north and round the South West in Devon, Cornwall and Dorset. Literally going to the most northerly then the most southerly points of the UK mainland. It’s been awesome.
But now we’re heading into the winter months, it’s time to take a break from having a break! Staying in one place means I have time to write – and actually get some reliable internet, something that has been challenging but also surprisingly refreshing.
Whilst away, I’ve been thinking about what to do with The Sensitive Foodie going forward; it’s still work in progress but it’s going to be much more on the blogging/writing side of things for now. So watch out for lots more seasonal recipes and top tips.
Cooking fresh, whole-food plant-based dishes in the van has been a little challenging at times as lack of space is a big issue. Everything gets stream-lined. And it means simple, easy to get ingredients and equipment are all I have to hand.
As space is at a premium, multiple-use items have been really useful, like my steamer pan. A good stainless steel pan base with moveable steamer basket to pop on top means I can cook two different things at the same time, taking up less space and time. And it uses less energy, which is really important these days! The base pan also works as a stand-alone pan and it’s what I’ve been using to make my one-pot meals as well as stews like todays recipe.
Squash and pumpkins are everywhere at the moment and you get a great variety even in the cheaper supermarkets like Lidl. Horray! I used a small pumpkin for this recipes that I picked up at from a National Trust kitchen garden we visited, but you can use whatever type you like.
If you’ve read my blogs before, you’ll know I’m a big fan of orange veggies particular pumpkin and squash. They contain an important group of anti-inflammatory phytonutrients called betacarotene which can be found in all orange and some green veggies and are linked to helping the body heal as well as preventing problems in the first place. And there’s so many different recipes you can use these delicious orange orbs in, both savoury and sweet, like this yummy pumpkin pie or savoury pumpkin scones.
This stew is really comforting and perfect now the clocks have gone back and the long evenings are with us. It’s packed full of healthful nutrients plus plant-based protein from the beans – I’ve suggested white beans (like butterbeans) or red beans (like kidney beans), but just use whatever you prefer, or have sitting in the back of the cupboard.
I hope you enjoy this yummy autumn stew and it fills you with a warming glow. Do let me know if you give it a go.
Autumn squash stew
- Medium-sized stainless steel saucepan or non-stick pan if you prefer
- 1 medium leek trimmed and washed
- 1/2 medium red onion
- 1 medium carrot
- 1 small squash or pumpkin
- 3 medium mushrooms * optional
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon dried garlic granules
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 tbspoon tamari or coconut amines
- 1 tbspoon tomato puree
- 200 ml hot water
- 400 gram tin cooked white or red beans rinsed and drained
- 2 handfuls baby spinach, kale or cavelo nero chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- Cut the leek in half length ways then slice into halves. Slice the onion. Peel the carrot and cut into small chunks.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of water in the base of a medium-sized pan and add the leek, onion and carrot. Sauté on a medium heat for 5 minutes until the veg start to soften - add more water if needed so they don't stick to the base of the pan.
- Whilst the veg are cooking, cut the squash or pumpkin into quarters, de-seed and peel. Cut into small chunks.
- Add the squash to the pan and continue to simmer for 2 minutes.
- Wipe the mushrooms clean and cut into bite-sized chunks.
- Add the mushrooms to the pan along with the thyme, dried garlic and paprikas. Stir well.
- Mix the tamari, tomato pureé and water together in a small jug. Pour into the pan - there should be enough to just cover the squash. Add more water if needed. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Check to see if the squash is cooking by poking it with a sharp knife. It should be easy to pierce. If it's still really hard, continue to cook for another 5 minutes. If soft, add the drained beans to the pan and simmer for another 5 minutes.
- If using spinach, turn off the heat and add the chopped leaves. Leave to wilt for a couple of minutes before serving. If using kale or cavelo nero, add to the pan and simmer for a few more minutes until they soften. Turn off the heat.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste (take care with the salt as you have already added tamari).
- Serve with mashed potatoes or mashed parsnip and celeriac plus another green like broccoli.