Last night I cooked for friends, two of which are vegetarians. I was pretty tired, as well as being quite low on time and money. None of these factors sound like the premise for a good meal. Anyway we got some wine out and I devised a plan. I decided to cook roasted butternut squash and sweet potato, which were joined by lemon and cumin flavoured spinach and chickpeas, olive ciabatta and feta cheese. I thought I was cooking enough to have left-overs the next day, but the six of us devoured the lot of it, using the bread to tidily scoop up the last of everything. So I decided to write-up what turned out to be a bit of a veggie feast. This is a very easy meal (you will be quite capable of glugging back your chosen poisen while cooking). It could be doubled or halved very easily depending on how many people you are feeding and how greedy they are. Chickpeas are great, they are cheap, low in fat, high in protein and fibre. This is such a lovely meal, it is filling without sitting too heavily on the stomach. It also felt so summery, I think it may have encouraged the glimpse of good weather today!
For the roasted Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato:
- 1 large butternut squash
- 2 large sweet potatoes
- salt and pepper
- 2 tsp ras el hanout
- olive oil
You can obviously vary the vegetables you use according to what you have in the house. Try using sweet root vegetables or peppers instead – anything like this would also work really well with the salty feta and spiced chickpeas.
Roast for about 40 -45 mins at 190C / gas mark 5
For the Chickpeas and Spinach:
- 1 red onion
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 1 leek
- 2 x 400g can of chickpeas
- 200g spinach
- zest and juice of 1 lemon
- 3 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp ras el hanout
- 300g feta cheese
- pinch of chilli flakes or powder
- optional – sprinkling of seeds (I used black sesame seeds)
Gently fry the onions, garlic and leek in olive oil and a pinch of salt until softened and reduced. Then add the chickpeas, lemon juice and zest, spices and cook for a further 5-10 minutes. Add the spinach and cook for about 2 minutes on a medium heat. Then add half the feta (leaving some to add at the table) and garnish with seeds.
Serve with some good bread, olive oil and balsamic. Keep the wine flowing!