This vegetarian stuffed butternut with lentils is just as delicious as the meaty version with mince (you can hardly tell the difference!). Not overly quick to make, but really easy!
Preheat oven to 200ºC (390ºF) fan bake and line a large oven tray with baking paper.
Trim the top off the butternut and cut in half vertically. Scoop out seeds and discard. Rub flesh with oil and sprinkle oregano, salt and pepper over the top. Place skin side up on prepared tray and roast for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, flip over and cook for a further 20-25 minutes, until tender.
Meanwhile, finely dice carrot and onion and crush garlic. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add carrot, onion and garlic and cook until soft (about 5 minutes). Stir in tomato paste, vinegar, sugar, crumbled stock cube, oregano and paprika. Cook for 2 minutes. Stir in drained lentils and pesto tomatoes. Simmer rapidly for approximately 15 minutes, until sauce is thick.
PREPARE STUFFED BUTTERNUT
Remove butternut from oven and carefully scoop out the flesh, leaving a 5-10mm border around the edges. Roughly mash the flesh and stir into the stuffing. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Crumble half of the feta into hollowed out butternut, then spoon in the stuffing and crumble remaining feta over the top. Sprinkle with pinenuts. Bake for 10 minutes, until feta and pinenuts are golden brown.
MAKE SALAD AND SERVE
Divide rocket between individual serving plates. Slice cucumber and place on top. Drizzle with a little olive oil and vinegar. Cut stuffed butternut in half to make 4 serves and place on plates with salad.
WINE MATCH: Go for a Sangiovese or Cabernet Sauvignon.
GLUTEN-FREE OPTION: Use a gluten-free stock cube (can dissolve in a little boiling water if need be).
INGREDIENT SWAPS / NOTES: If you’re not keen on lentils and don’t mind a non-vegetarian meal, this recipe would work just as well with beef mince (400g / 14oz). Add to pot once you have softened carrot, onion and garlic, then break up and brown all over before adding herbs etc.
STORING AND REHEATING: Keep stuffed butternut separate from salad. If reheating for dinner, I would microwave butternut for 1-2 minutes first, then bake in oven at 180ºC for about 15 minutes (microwaving helps give it a head start, otherwise it takes a long time to heat through). Alternatively, just reheat in microwave. Add salad just before serving.