Veganuary is a charity which has been set up to encourage people to try plant based foods and meals. It is said one in eight Britons are now vegetarian or vegan and almost a quarter more describe themselves as flexitarian, occasionally supplementing their diet with meat or fish. It is a form of eating which fits in well with AGA cooking, using methods of roasting, casseroling, steaming, grilling, toasting to bring out the best flavours of vegetables, grains, cereals and nuts.
Cooking vegan recipes need not be difficult and this recipe for Roasted Squash with Mixed Grains is easy to prepare and delicious to eat, all made in the one dish, I used the AGA Full Size Portmeirion Baking Dish which can be used straight from the oven to the table. The dish slides directly onto the oven runners or onto the floor of the oven. It’s a good recipe for a sharing platter – and not much washing up afterwards! The ceramic dish can go in the dishwasher but is easy enough to wash by hand in hot soapy water.
The idea for this recipe came about as I had a beautiful blue pumpkin squash – very proud as I had grown it myself – plus a butternut squash in the vegetable rack. Use all butternut squash if you prefer, or an orange skinned pumpkin. They can be roasted with the skin on and removed before eating, if desired. A hint of warmth comes from using some chilli oil. For quickness I used a packet of pre-cooked mixed grains containing quinoa, red rice, freekah and pearl barley.
The vegetables are cooked in the Roasting Oven on the AGA Full Size Portmeirion Baking Dish.
Roasting grapes bring a sweetness to the dish and are a great way of using up those few left in the fruit bowl!
The garnish lends colour as well as flavour to the finished dish. Fresh coriander adds freshness whereas pomegranate seeds brighten the finished dish. There are some lovely pomegranates in season at present which are easily prepared or indeed you can buy ready prepared seeds.
ROASTED SQUASH WITH MIXED GRAINS
This makes a light lunch and is suitable for vegetarians or vegans. It is cooked and served in the same dish – let people help themselves for a great sharing platter.
3 red onions, peeled and cut into wedges
2 butternut squash or 1 butternut squash and half a pumpkin, outside washed and dried
1 tbsp chilli oil
1 tbsp rape seed oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 x pkt 250g cooked mixed grains (I used Merchant Gourmet Glorious Grains)
1 tbsp rape seed oil
Fresh coriander, 1 bunch, washed, dried and roughly chopped
Rape seed oil for drizzling, optional
Place the onions and squash into a bowl and pour over the two oils, mix well together. Tip onto the full size Portmeirion Baking Dish.
2, 3, 4 and 5 oven AGA: Slide the Baking Dish into the Roasting Oven, lowest set of runners down in the oven. Roast for 25 minutes then remove from the oven and turn the vegetables over and sprinkle with the cumin seeds. Return to the oven for a further 15 minutes.
Place the grains into a bowl and drizzle over the tablespoon of rape seed oil. Remove the Baking Dish from the Roasting Oven and move the vegetables to leave space for the grains. Add the grains to the Baking Dish and scatter over the grapes.
Slide the Baking Dish onto the floor of the Roasting Oven and cook for 10-15 minutes, (stirring the grains after 5 minutes), until the grains are hot and the grapes have begun to soften.
Remove the Baking Dish from the Roasting Oven and garnish with the chopped coriander and pomegranate seeds. If you like, drizzle with a little rape seed oil. Serve at once from the Baking Dish.