Two-squash and shiitake bake

This flavoursome, filling, and frugal dish takes a while to put together, although most of that is unattended cooking time and doesn’t involve much effort. You can also make it in advance, so this might be something you could construct on a day off and reheat on a fasting day for a main meal. I used two different squashes but you could just use one type if you have a big one (our dry summer last year meant that mine are on the bijou side).

Recipe for Two-squash and shiitake bake (serves 4)

Ingredients for two-squash and shiitake bake50g dried (250g fresh) shiitake mushrooms
1 small butternut squash (360g cooked weight)
1 small spaghetti squash (360g cooked weight)
100g shallots
1 head of garlic (about 8 cloves)
90g/½ cup brown basmati rice
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp smoked paprika
salt and pepper

Total calories per serving:  220

Method: Bake the whole squash at 350°F/180°C for one and a half hours, or until fully cooked. Put the whole shallots and head of garlic in the oven for the last half-hour of the squashes’ cooking time. Cover the mushrooms in hot water and soak them for about an hour until they have rehydrated. Keep the soaking liquid. Once the squashes and shallots are cooked, allow them to cool down enough to handle (around 30 minutes).

Meanwhile, cook the rice in one cup of the mushrooms’ soaking liquid for 20 minutes, or until done. Stir the soy sauce into the cooked rice and slice the mushrooms (you can discard the stems if they seem tough). Cut the squashes open and remove the seeds, then scrape the flesh into two separate bowls, one for each squash. Mash the smoked paprika (or whatever spices you like best) into the butternut squash with a little salt and pepper. Peel and slice the cooked shallots and stir them into the spaghetti squash. Squeeze out the soft garlic from inside the cloves of the garlic head and add that with some seasoning to the spaghetti squash, too.

Now all you need to do is assemble the dish. Line a one-pound loaf tin with parchment paper and layer in the ingredients. I did mine in this order: butternut, mushrooms, rice, mushrooms, spaghetti squash. Cover the top of the loaf tin with a layer of foil. When you’re ready to eat, bake the loaf for 30-40 minutes at 350°F/180°C, until piping hot. Remove the foil and carefully turn the loaf out on to a plate. Hopefully to exclamations of appreciation from your audience. (Although be warned that it will collapse as you cut into it…). I served this with some lime and mango pickle on the side to add some extra kick for another 25 calories.