Play Hard

Easy and indulgent stuffed and roasted squash

HLN’s Dotty gives us another little piece of meat-free magic

Written by High Life North
Published 27.02.2021

By Dorothy Miles

If you want to add that little bit of extra decadence, try adding some torn mozzarella to the top before you bake, allowing it to bring its golden, elastic goo to the party. Leave it off for a vegan recipe.

Serves 2


  • 1 small squash
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 100g cherry tomatoes
  • ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 white onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 40g green lentils
  • 40g rice
  • salt and pepper
  • Salad to serve


  • Pre-heat the oven to Gas 7/220/200 fan.
  • Cut the squash in half, lengthways. Using a spoon, carefully scrape out the seeds and discard. Pour over 1/2 tbsp olive oil and massage it all over the flesh. Season with a bit of salt and pepper. Roast the squash for 30–40 minutes, until tender.
  • Remove from the oven and carefully scoop out the squash innards, taking care not to go too far and break the skin. Chop the flesh into bitesize chunks.
  • Now prepare the filling. Finely dice the onion and quarter the cherry tomatoes.
  • In a medium saucepan, heat ½ tbsp olive oil over a medium heat and add the onion. Sautee the onion for 5-8 minutes until it is just beginning to soften, then grate in the clove of garlic and add the spices. Cook for further 2 minutes.
  • Add the squash innards and stir so that they get coated in the onion mixture. Cook for 3 more minutes.
  • Add the cherry tomatoes, rice and lentils. Stir to coat the grains in the flavoursome mixture before adding just enough cold water to cover the grains. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil.
  • Once the mixture is boiling, pop a lid on, turn down the heat and leave the grains to simmer for roughly 10 minutes.
  • After 10, test them. You want them to be really quite al-dente, as they’ll be cooked again in the oven. Season with plenty of salt and pepper then spoon the mixture back into the cups of squash. Top with cheese (or keep it vegan) and return the oven to bake for 15-20 minutes until golden and crisp on the top.
  • Serve alongside a big crunchy salad with your favourite dressing.
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