Squash with mushroom tagine
- 30ml olive oil
- 150g white open cup mushrooms, sliced
- 150g large flat mushrooms, sliced
- 2 small red onions, cut into thin wedges
- 350g butternut squash, deseeded and cubed
- 1 red pepper, de-seeded and cubed
- 1 clove garlic, chopped
- 2 - 4 tsp harissa paste
- 400g can chopped tomatoes
- 250ml vegetable stock
- 2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
- Heat half the oil in a large frying pan or wok, add the mushrooms and sauté for 3-4 minutes until golden. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
- Add the remaining oil, vegetables and garlic to the pan and sauté for 2-3 minutes.
- Add the harissa, tomatoes and stock then season to taste.
- Cover the pan, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 - 20 minutes or until the squash is tender.
- Stir in the mushrooms and simmer uncovered for a further 5 minutes.
- Stir in the coriander and serve then serve spooned over couscous.
Butternut squash is a very good source of vitamin C, beta-carotene,and the B vitamins thiamine, niacin and vitamin B6. It also has a low glycaemic index (GI), which can help control blood sugar levels. Low GI foods have been shown to be helpful when incorporated into a weight reducing eating plan, and may support the management of type 2 diabetes.
Beta-carotene is a type of 'carotenoid', a family of antioxidants that can provide protection against free radicals. Carotenoids are what gives squashes their vibrant orange colour. Free radicals damage cells and are thought to be involved in ageing and the development of chronic disease. Beta-carotene also has an anti-inflammatory effect and may be important in lowering levels of 'bad' cholesterol in the blood.
Butternut squash also contains a natural source of vitamin A, which is better than supplements as these can often provide excessive levels. The main function of vitamin A is to maintain eye health and sight, but it can also support skin health and immune function.
The butternut squash is originally from America and it was grown in Mexico as long ago as 5000 BC. The squash wasn’t introduced to Europe until the 16th century and didn’t become popular here until the 19th century.
American Indians called the butternut ‘the apple of God’. The seeds of the squash were believed to increase fertility.
When choosing a butternut squash go for one that has a dull rind – a shiny rind suggests it was picked too early so it won’t have the buttery sweetness of a mature squash. Avoid those with a green tinge.