Sunday, 1 December 2013

Mixed Beans with Spicy Butternut

We thoroughly enjoyed this recipe!  I had only ever used Butternut Squash before by painstakingly peeling and chopping the beast, struggling to carve out the seeds and stringy section with a knife, before cooking it into a delicious risotto.  I kept seeing people on blogs just, cutting them in half lengthways, scooping out the seeds with a spoon (can't believe I never thought of that before!) and roasting them in the oven.  So this was my first time trying it this way, plus I decided to make up a mixed spicy bean sauce to go with it.


1 large butternut squash
1 tin kidney beans (or equivalent amount if you grew your own)
1 tin cannellini beans (or equivalent amount if you grew your own)
1 tin haricot beans (or equivalent amount if you grew your own)
1 tin chopped tomatoes/fresh tomatoes depending on what you have available
1 medium onion
2 carrots - grated
2 large garlic cloves
3 fresh chillis (I used birdeye, which were fairly large for the variety, but use as many as you wish to correctly spice the beans)
2 handfuls fresh spinach
1 handful fresh coriander (I used 4 stems and their leaves)
Chilli powder
Mixed dried herbs (I used a bought one, but you can use whichever dried herbs you love to eat)
Olive oil
Cumin seeds
Mustard seeds
Ground tumeric
Ground ginger
Ground paprika
Garam masala
Lemon juice
Tomato Puree

Instructions (Serves 4 as a generous meal or 6-8 as a side)

  • Set the oven to pre-heat to 180 degrees celsius
  • Chop the squash lengthways - I found it easier to remove the top and tail ends, as little as possible.  You don't need to remove the skin
  • Scoop out the seeds (with an ice cream scoop because its entirely more satisfying)
  • Foil a baking tray and place the squash flesh side up/skin side down on the tray
  • Fold up a piece of kitchen roll and pour on a small amount (equivalent to approx 1 tbsp) of olive oil.  Use this to wipe the surfaces of the flesh to evenly coat in oil, and make sure to get into the area where you scooped the seeds out
  • Sprinkle chilli powder, mixed herbs and cumin seeds onto the surface, in quantities you like to taste.  I put a fair bit of chilli powder on because hubby and I love spicier things. 
  • Place into the oven on the middle shelf and set timer for 45 minutes.

  •  Add oil to a saucepan and heat on lowest heat
  • Chop onion and add to pot along with mustard seeds, cumin seeds, ginger, tumeric, garam masala, chilli powder and paprika.  I usually put approx 1.5 teaspoons of each spice.  If you don't have fresh coriander you can add ground coriander at this stage instead
  • Stir the spices into the onions to coat them.  Allow to cook for 2 or 3 minutes until the onions begin to soften
  • Chop garlic and chillis and add these to the pot, stirring in to coat with spices too 
  • You can raise the heat slightly, but keep it towards the lower side

  •  I used tinned beans because I didn't grow any this year (thanks slugs!)  but you can use dried beans you grew yourself if you prefer.  You can also change the types of beans used to suit what you have.  In terms of cooking, these instructions are for tinned beans, please prepare your dried beans in advance so they are at a quick cooking stage
  • Drain all beans and rinse together
  • Add beans to pot, along with grated carrot and coat with spices
  • Add tomatoes (I used tinned because I'm all out of ripe tomatoes for the moment - some ripening in the boiler cupboard! - but you can use fresh, just make sure to add some water to compensate for the liquid

  •  Stir well and add 3 generous shakes of lemon juice, fresh spinach, tear up coriander leaves and stems and add these too
  • Allow to cook for 3-4 minutes, or until spinach has wilted
  • Add tomato puree (I usually add equivalent to 2 heaped tbsp to thicken up nearly all my sauces)
  • Make sure everything is stirred in well, cover and put down to lowest heat again
  • Leave like this while you wait until the oven timer has gone off
  • When the timer for the squash goes off, flip them over so the flesh is down and the skin up - the spices will have soaked nicely into the flesh now, so you don't need to worry about them falling off
  • Reset the timer for a further 20 minutes

  •  Keep an eye on the spicy beans to ensure they don't burn - stir every 5 or so minutes
  • You want them to just begin to reach a slightly mushy consistency, where the sauce is very thick, but the majority of the beans are still holding shape.  When it reaches this point, turn OFF the hob, but keep the lid on until its time to serve.

  •  When the timer for the squash goes off, check its soft by stabbing it with a blunt normal eating knife.  If it feels about the softness you'd like to eat it at, serve, if not, put it back for another 10 minutes.
  • For the purposes of the photos I displayed an entire half with the beans, but in reality it is too large a portion so cut the squash halves in half again, and serve with a similar amount of the bean mixture.

  •  My butternut squash was over 25cm long, so it was quite substantial, but if you have a smaller one, half the recipe for the bean mix and it will serve 2.
  • If you're not big on beans you can reduce the amount of this, and serve with a small amount of rice instead of so much bean mix.
  • Enjoy! We sure did!


  1. That looks lovely, I will definitely try it when this years butternuts are ready, not till March or April here. An easy way to peel butternuts or pumpkin for that matter is to put chunks in microwave for a minute and then they peel like potatoes.

  2. Look so delicious. A dish with complete ingredients. Thank you for sharing

    1. Thank you! Do you grow and eat many squashes like this in Indonesia?

  3. Looks and sounds delicious - bit like a tagine.

    1. Thanks! Not sure what tagine is, I will have to look it up haha

  4. It looks delish. I've never cooked a butternut squash this way, I always cube it.

    1. So had I until this, and I have to recommend trying it this way too. I'd still cook it both ways though!

  5. oh gosh, this looks delicious, I printed your post so that I can try your recipe, thank you! :-)

    I enjoyed visiting your site, lots of great recipes and photographs too! visit my site sometime, if you like cheesecake you might like this recipe:

    Michael :-)

  6. Thanks Michael! Glad you liked the recipe. I'll check out your blog for sure :)