Squashing Delights and Autumn Eats

The dreaded moment has happened – the weather in Madrid has taken an icy dip. Though the temperature is still wavering between 12 and 18 degrees, this is marginally colder than the lush 28 we had been hitting up until last week.

So, it is officially Autumn. Which means, wolly jumpers, golden leaves and a generally fog of orange hues. But most importantly, it means soups, stews and lots of butternut squash, sweet potato and pumpkin. Yum.

Though I haven’t yet mastered an elegant summer diet of mixed greens and fruit salads, in that I generally eat the same food no matter what the weather, it’s nice to truly recieve the warmth provided by that autumnal grub.

That’s why I bring to you these three autumnal meals, inexpensive and oh so comforting.

Butternut Squash Risotto

Ingredients:

2.5 cups of Rice – I used Brown, but Risotto Rice works too – 40 cent
1 Butternut Squash – €1.50
1 Red Onion – 30cent
2 Cloves of Garlic – n/a
2 Handful of Spinach – Approx 70cent
1-2 Tblsp of Nutritional Yeast: 80cent
1 Stockcube dissolved in about 700ml of water (may need to add more water to this, or may not sue all, depends on the rice!)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degress celsius
  2. Cut Squash into cubes and put onto a baking tray, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and olive oil to keep it from sticking. Put into the Oven and cook for approx 25/30 mins, or until squash is soft. Check every 5 or 10 minutes by putting a knife through. If it’s easy to break, it’s done.
  3. While the squash cooks, fry the red onion and garlic in a little olive oil for a few minutes.
  4. Add the rice, and coat it in the oil, onion and garlic. Add salt and pepper.
  5. Add in a good spoonful of stock, enough to cover it, let it simmer.
  6. When the stock is absorbed, add more, by the spoonful.
  7. Continue to do this until the rice is soft and cooked and all the stock has been absorbed. If you run out of stock, simply add hot water until it is cooked.
  8. When the butternut squash is cooked, put 3/4 of it into a blender with a dash of almond milk (or any milk) and puree.
  9. Add the Butternut squash mixture (it should be thick and creamy) to the cooked rice and mix though to give the rice a creamy consistency.
  10. Add nutritional yeast and mix well.
  11. Then, add the spinach to wilt and rest of the bitesize chunks of squash.
  12. Serve and Enjoy!

Price: Approx €4

Tip: If you don’t have an oven, like I once didn’t, just par boil the butternut squash and fry it a little in olive oil to give it flavour.

Squash and Bean Stew

Serves: 3-4

Ingredients:

1x Butternut Squash – €1.50
1/2 a kilo, approx, of baby potatoes – €1
1x 500g Jar of Butterbeans – 80cent
3x Carrots – 50cent
1x Carton of Tomato Passata – 35cent
1-2 Spoonfuls of Nutritional Yeast (optional) – Approx 80cent
3 Tablespoons of Thyme – Approx 40cent
1 Red Onion – 35cent
2 Cloves of Garlic – n/a

Method:

  1. Chop Red onion and garlic. Fry in a pot with some olive oil, salt and half of the thyme.
  2. Chop the squash and carrots into bite-size chunks and add to the pot when the onion and garlic are soft.
  3. Coat the squash and carrot and cook for a further 10 mins.
  4. Chop the baby potatoes into bite size chunks and add to the pot.
  5. Add the Passata and some water to cover the vegetables. (optional to add a half or quarter cube of stock)
  6. Add further seasoning, the rest of the thyme, and even some chilli flakes.
  7. Simmer for approx 20-30mins, until potato, squash and carrots are soft.
  8. Then, add nutritional yeast and butter beans, stir well and cook for further 5 mins. Optional add of spinach here, until wilted.
  9. Serve and enjoy!

Price: Approx €5.

Vegan Shepards Pie

Serves – 4-5

Ingredients:
2-3 Large Sweet Potatoes – Approx €2
1x Red Onion – 35cent
1x Spring Onion – 30cent
1x 500g Jar of Kidney Beans – 60cent
1x 500g Jar of Butter Beans/Chickpeas – 80cent
100g Cherry Tomatoes, Halved – €1
1x Red Pepper/ 1x Courgette – 50cent
1-2 Tblsp of Nutritional Yeast – Approx 80cent
1x Carton of Tomato Passata – 35cent
2 Cloves of Garlic – n/a
1 tsb of Paprika – n/a
1 tsb of Honey – n/a (optional)
1 dash of Soy Sauce – n/a (optional)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven at 200 degrees celsius
  2. Chop sweet potatoes into chunks and boil in a pot of water.
  3. Chop both onions and garlic and fry in a seperate pot with olive oil.
  4. When soft, add in chopped pepper or courgette, and the cherry tomatoes, and fry for another minute.
  5. Add in both beans (drained and washed) and the passata, stirring well.
  6. Add soy sauce, honey, and paprika and seasoning and bring to simmer for 15 minutes.
  7. When the sweet potatoes are soft, drain the water and add some seasoning and a couple of dashes of almond milk (or any vegan milk) and mash.
  8. Add nutritional yeast to bean mixture and stir well.
  9. Spoon bean mixture into a lasagne dish, and flatten.
  10. Spread Potatoe mix on top and flatten.
  11. Cook in oven for a further 15 to 20 minutes, until the mixture is bubbling and the mash is a little crispy on top.
  12. Cut into slices and serve. It will be quite juicy so might need to be served in bowls! Enjoy!

Price: Approx €7, perfect for a when you have guests or else freeze the leftovers!

Tip: Sometimes I add a bit of quinoa in when I add the passata, as it gives the mixture a thickness, but it is fine without!

Both images are before the oven – I was too hungry and forgot to take one after!

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