Butternut Squash, Kale and Cauliflower Bake

Last year I went vegetarian for the whole month of January, something I decided against this year mainly due to having a fridge full of Christmas leftovers to use up that I didn’t want to go to waste. However, as the month has gone on I have still found myself opting more and more for meat-free meals. I’m sure at some point I’ll challenge myself to do something like Veganuary, but for now just eating a less meat is a lifestyle I can work with.

This recipe is unashamedly and whole-heartedly inspired by a lunch I keep getting from the hot counter at Veggie Pret. In essence it’s a bulked up, pimped up cauliflower cheese and that’s something I can totally get on board with. You could throw all sorts of veg into this but I think the dish works best if you keep it simple so that it doesn’t become too much of a jumble. I toyed with the idea of swapping the kale for spinach since I much prefer it, however, given the baking time I think the heartier kale holds its own much better in this recipe.

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This is a great vegetarian dinner option on it’s own but I also think it’d make a great side for roast chicken if you fancied a bit of a break away from your traditional meat and two veg formula. It’s also a great one for households trying to cater for a mixture of veggies and carnivores since the vegetarians can have a larger portion and you can top with some grilled chicken or sausages for the meat lovers.

 

Ingredients

(serves 3-4)

1 head cauliflower, cut into florets

1 small butternut squash, diced into 1-2cm chunks

50g kale

Handful breadcrumbs, for topping

Small handful grated grana padana (or parmesan), for topping

 

For the bechemel sauce:

2 tbsp unsalted butter

2 tbsp flour

500ml semi skimmed milk

salt and pepper

2 tsps ground nutmeg

50g grated grana padana (or parmesan)

 

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 190ºC.
  2. In a saucepan on a medium-high heat add the butter and flour and combine using a whisk until they form a roux.
  3. Add the milk a splash at a time until the paste like consistency becomes a creamy sauce. Continue to whisk throughout.
  4. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper, adjust seasoning to taste.
  5. In an oven proof dish add the kale, squash and cauliflower, ensuring the veg is evenly mixed thorughout.
  6. Cover with the bechemel sauce.
  7. Top with breadcrumbs and grated cheese.
  8. Bake for 40-45 minutes until topping is golden and vegetables are cooked through.

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