The Carnival squash is such a wonderful-looking Fall squash with its bold colours (like the trees) and, like all squash, packed full of nutritious goodness, making it a perfect candidate for meatless Monday.
The squash are roasted in the oven until tender (but not so tender that they collapse). Meanwhile, cook up the Thai green curry filling, using squash that you cut out before roasting, along with a red chili pepper and lots of spinach. I made up the filling right after I put the squash in the oven, but didn’t add the spinach. Once it was ready to that point, I turned the heat off and let it sit until the squash was roasted. This not only provides a break in the action, but gives the squash in the sauce a little more time to soften.
Once the squash was out of the oven and cooling, I re-heated the sauce and stirred in the spinach, cooking just until wilted. Spoon in to your roasted squash bowls and enjoy!
I’m not sure this recipe is totally kid-friendly as written. The Thai curry filling, along with the red chili pepper pack a wee bit of a spicy punch. That said, when eaten with the roasted squash from “bowls”, it’s absolutely perfect. If you wanted to take that back the spice back a notch, you might use less curry paste and use a regular red pepper instead of a chili pepper.
There is not a ton of squash in the filling. You could top it up with some more squash bought separately, but it’s fine as is, as you will have the roasted squash from inside the squash bowls to eat, as well. If you do, cubed butternut squash would be a great choice for this dish. Also, feel free to switch out the green curry paste for red or yellow, as you like.
Roasted Squash with Thai Curry Vegetable Filling
This is a great Meatless Monday dish, particularly in the Fall when squash are plentiful and cheap. Use your favourite curry paste – green, red or yellow.
- 3 small Carnival squash
- 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, roughly chopped
- 2 Tbsp. green Thai curry paste (can use red or yellow curry paste)
- 400 ml (13oz) can coconut milk (I used full fat, but you can use lite, mixed with 2 tsp. cornstarch)
- 1 Tbsp. fish sauce
- Juice from 1/2 a lime
- Small piece of lemongrass or 1/2 tsp. lemongrass paste
- Basil or thai basil leaves
- 1 small red chili pepper, core and seeds removed and diced (or you can use any red-coloured pepper)
- 85 g (3 oz./ 2 cups, packed) baby spinach leaves
- Preheat the oven to 325° F. Cut the top off each squash and set aside. Use a teaspoon to scoop out the seeds and fibrous pulp from the centre of each squash. Use a sharp knife to cut away the squash flesh around the top cut edge to leave a 1/2-inch rim and give a bowl shape to each squash. You’re not going to have a ton. You could top it up with some more squash bought separately, but it’s fine as is, as you will have the roasted squash from inside the squash bowls to eat, as well.
- Roughly chop the flesh you have removed. Place the hollowed-out squashes and their lids onto a baking sheet (cut side down) and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour until softened, but still retaining their shape (check regularly after 30 minutes, as baking time will vary depending on size of squash and how much flesh you cut away). Once out of the oven, flip large piece over so it’s cut side up and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before filling.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion for 5 minutes until softened. Stir in the curry paste and pumpkin flesh and cook for 2 minutes, stirring continuously. Pour the coconut milk over the mixture and sprinkle with the red chili.
- Simmer for 15 minutes until the pumpkin flesh is tender. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper and stir in the spinach. Cook until just wilted. Spoon the mixture into the centre of each squash and serve immediately.
Prep time: 10 min | Cook time: 50 min | Total time: 1 hour
Number of servings (yield): 3