Butternut stacks with quinoa lentils

This is one of those quick and delicious recipes which looks impressive with not a lot of work. It’s a short-cut of a recent new recipe I tried that had kale pesto glueing it all together.  In my opinion it was too gluggy, and not worth all the pesto work.  Instead I’ve relied on spicing up the lentils – you could add chopped coriander or basil for more taste if you like.  It’s one of those dishes that can become Thai or Indian or Italian, depending on the spices and herbs you like to use.

butternut quinoa lentils

I loved using the roasted butternut slices to ‘sandwich’ in the lentil-quinoa mix.  A great protein and carbohydrate hit from the quinoa and lentils, plus lots of phytonutrients from the leafy rocket and beta carotene squash.

Serves about 4:

1 kilo butternut (try to find an especially long neck, as you’ll be using just the neck ’rounds’ – 2 per person – for this recipe.  The rest can go in tomorrow’s stir fry, or sweet potato/butternut mash!)
generous tbsps of coconut oil – or ghee – for the butternut and for the onion
250g rinsed red quinoa
250g lentils, ideally soaked overnight
1 red onion, finely sliced
1 tsp cumin powder (grind from whole or buy the powder)
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp dried finely chopped red chilli – or fresh!
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
packet of organic feta (the dish also works without)
rocket leaves – a handful on each plate
sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste



Rinse the red quinoa then cover well with water –  3 cms extra water – and cook until the little ‘tails’ on the quinoa seeds show.  They should be cooked but have some bite still left (usually around 15-20 minutes).  Drain off any excess water and leave covered to keep warm.

Whilst the quinoa is cooking, gently fry the red onion in coconut oil in another pot.  When transparent, add the drained and washed lentils and enough water to cover them well. Cook until they are al dente, about 10-15 minutes, and drain off any excess water,
Remove from the hotplate, add the spices and chilli, and replace the lid so it stays warm and cooks a little longer.  At this point, have a taste and adjust the flavours – add more chilli, or more cumin or cinnamon to suit your palate.

Mix together the quinoa and lentils and leave covered until the butternut is ready.

Meanwhile, cut the neck of the butternut into 2-3 cm rounds – 2 rounds per person – and coat well in coconut oil or ghee, then sprinkle a little sea salt and pepper over them.  Roast in a 180 degree oven, turning halfway, until cooked.  About 20 minutes, if that…

Now put it all together!
A handful of rocket as a base (I didn’t add dressing as I love the peppery flavour, but add a little lemon and olive oil if you wish).
Then the lentil/quinoa mix, then crumbled fetta and the last round of butternut.

Voila!  Your butternut stack is ready.

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