Cooking with squash
Pumpkin, butternut, gems and other sorts of squash can be prepared in any number of tasty and nutritious ways, and the good news is that children usually enjoy the results. Here are four of our family favourites

Butternut & bacon lasagna

Serves 8


  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 500g pumpkin, peeled and cubed
  • 4 tbsps unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • Dash of freshly ground cinnamon
  • Pepper
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 250g streaky bacon
  • Lasagna sheets

Béchamel sauce

  • 2 cups fullcream milk
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup all-purpose white flour
  • 1 cup fromage fraise or crème fraiche
  • 1 cup freshly grated cheddar cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
  2. Steam the pumpkin until soft.
  3. Sauté the onion in a pan with butter and cook over medium heat until the onion turns pale gold.
  4. Add pumpkin, nutmeg and cinnamon and mix well.
  5. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Roughly mash the pumpkin mixture
  7. Set aside.
  8. Cook the bacon until crispy. Set aside.

To make the Béchamel sauce

  1. Heat the milk in a heavy-bottomed sauce pan until it is almost boiling.
  2. In a separate pan melt the unsalted butter with the flour over low heat. Stir rapidly with a spoon. Cook this for one minute and then remove from the heat.
  3. Slowly add half the hot milk to your butter and flour mixture. Stir constantly.
  4. Return the milk, butter and flour mixture to low heat until the sauce begins to thicken. Add the remaining milk slowly while stirring, working it into the thickened sauce. Continue to stir until it comes to a boil.
  5. Season with some salt and continue stirring until the right consistency has developed. If any lumps form, beat them out rapidly with a whisk until they dissolve. Remove from heat.

To assemble

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
  2. Spread a little olive oil around the inside of a medium sized baking pan.
  3. Place a thin layer of Béchamel sauce on the bottom of the baking pan.
  4. Place a single layer of lasagna sheets on top of the Béchamel sauce.
  5. Layer on half of the pumpkin mixture, all the fromage fraise (or crème fraiche), then a single layer of lasagna sheets, Béchamel sauce, the rest of the pumpkin mixture, then all the bacon, more Béchamel sauce, and the last layer of lasagna sheets.
  6. Finish off with the rest of the Béchamel sauce, and finally sprinkle with cheddar cheese.
  7. Place the tray on the middle rack of the oven.
  8. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the top begins to lightly brown. Remove from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before serving.

Oven-baked crisps with a healthy dipping sauce

Serves 4


For the chips

  • 1 large butternut, whole and peeled
  • 3 tbsps olive oil
  • Maldon sea salt, to taste
  • Cracked pepper, to taste

For the dipping sauce

  • 1 large aubergine, washed
  • 250g chunky cottage cheese
  • 1 tin chickpeas, drained
  • 1 tbsp parsley
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • 1 lemon, juice and zest
  • Salt and pepper to taste


To make the chips

  1. Preheat the oven to 150ºC.
  2. Thinly slice the butternut with a vegetable peeler.
  3. Place a thin layer of raw butternut on a baking tray and drizzle with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.
  4. Bake until the butternut is crispy yet still maintains its colour. If you cook them for too long they will go brown and burn.
  5. Take the butternut crisps out of the baking tray.
  6. Repeat the baking until all the butternut is finished.
  7. Serve with a healthy dipping sauce or store in an airtight container.

To make the sauce

  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
  2. Prick the aubergine with a fork a few times and place it in the oven.
  3. Bake until soft when squeezed, approximately 10 minutes.
  4. Set aside to cool.
  5. Cut the aubergine in half and scoop out the flesh. Discard the skin.
  6. Place the aubergine, cottage cheese, chickpeas, parsley, cumin, paprika, lemon juice, zest and salt and pepper in a blender and blend until smooth.
  7. Place in a container and refrigerate until needed.

Pumpkin fritters

Makes 20


  • 2 cups cooked pumpkin, lightly mashed
  • 30g flour
  • 4 tbsps ground almonds
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon powder
  • Cooking oil


  1. Mix the cinnamon powder and sugar and set aside.
  2. Combine the mashed pumpkin, flour, ground almonds, baking powder, salt and egg yolks into a soft batter.
  3. Beat the egg whites until stiff, then gently fold them into the pumpkin mixture.
  4. Heat a little oil in a large frying pan.
  5. Fry spoonfuls of batter like pancakes until golden brown on both sides.
  6. Remove the fried fritters from the pan and place on a heated dish.
  7. Sprinkle liberally with cinnamon sugar and serve.

Squash soup with cheesy croutons

Serves 6



  • 500g Hubbard squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch leeks, diced
  • 1 cup potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 cup sweet potato, peeled and cubed
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 2 gem squashes, steamed
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cheesy croutons

  • 1 small French baguette
  • 3 tbsps olive oil
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp garlic, crushed
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
  2. Place the Hubbard squash, one tablespoon olive oil and salt and pepper (to taste) in a baking tray and roast until golden brown.
  3. In a preheated pot, gently fry the onion and leeks in one tablespoon of olive oil for 3 minutes.
  4. Add the potatoes and sweet potatoes and cook for another 2 minutes.
  5. Add the stock and simmer for 20 minutes.
  6. Add the roasted Hubbard squash and gem squash to the pot and cook for a further 10 minutes.
  7. Season to taste.
  8. Set aside to cool.
  9. Blend with a handheld blender until smooth and thick.
  10. Reheat when you’re ready to serve.

To make the cheesy croutons

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
  2. Cut the baguette into thin slices (about 1cm) and brush both sides with olive oil.
  3. In a bowl, mix together the Parmesan, parsley and garlic.
  4. Place the baguette disks onto a baking tray and spoon the cheese mixture over each disk.
  5. Season to taste.
  6. Bake in the oven until cheese is melted and golden brown.
  7. Set aside to cool.
  8. Place the cheesy croutons on top of your warm soup and enjoy.

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