Spiced baked feta in squash bowls {gluten free}

Spiced baked feta in squash bowls {gluten free}

Happy almost Halloween! With the temperatures dropping and the clocks going back over the weekend, it’s really starting to feel like fall out there. Besides indulging in some Halloween candy and scary movies this time of year, I tend to crave cooking with pumpkins, squashes, sweet potatoes - basically, anything sweet, nutty, and bright orange. So to mark the spooky season, I thought I’d take the opportunity to share this recipe for spiced baked feta in squash bowls - a recent favourite of mine!

Spiced baked feta in squash bowls | Beloved Kitchen
Spiced baked feta in squash bowls | Beloved Kitchen

When I first started this blog a couple years back, one of my colleagues at work mentioned that she often baked feta inside butternut squash, adding toppings like toasted pine nuts, as part of her holiday spread. As much as I loved the idea of it, I never actually tried it for myself. In one of my latest veg-box deliveries I found a beautiful little butternut squash and I finally took the plunge. I only wish I had tried it sooner - this stuff is so simple, but oh so good!

Spiced baked feta in squash bowls | Beloved Kitchen

The concept is super simple and you’ll love this recipe if you’re a fan of baked feta and/or squash. You start off by roasting the butternut squash on its own with garlic, your favourite spices (mine are rosemary, smoked paprika and cayenne pepper, bay leaves), and some salt and pepper. Once the squash is cooked, you scoop out a little bit of the flesh, add the feta, top with some more spices and olive oil and finish in the oven until warmed through. I like to serve this with a big kale salad, maybe some kraut salad or braised red cabbage, and some whole grains like short grain brown rice or quinoa.

Spiced baked feta in squash bowls | Beloved Kitchen
Spiced baked feta in squash bowls | Beloved Kitchen

I hope you enjoy the recipe! If you give it a try, let me know what you thought in the comments section. Have a great Halloween!

-xo KA

Spiced baked feta in squash bowls {gluten free}

This recipe is really easy to throw together and makes the most of winter squash and feta cheese. You can substitute any herbs or spices that you like - my favourites include rosemary, smoked paprika and cayenne pepper. Opt for some nice-quality ingredients for this one as it’s quite a simple recipe, with the squash and the feta centre-stage.

Ingredients:

  • 4 tbsp olive oil, divided

  • 1 small/medium butternut squash

  • 2 garlic cloves, pressed

  • 1 tsp dried rosemary, plus extra for topping

  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, plus extra for topping

  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper, plus extra for topping

  • 1 good pinch sea salt flakes

  • 1 pinch ground pepper

  • 4 bay leaves

  • 1 - 1.5 cups | 175-200 g sheep or goat’s milk feta, cut into bite-sized cubes

Method:

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius | 375 Fahrenheit.

Using a large sharp knife, carefully cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds using a spoon and set them aside.

Rub the entire surface of the squash, including the skin, with 2 tbsp of the olive oil and transfer to a rectangular baking dish cut side up. Rub the cut side of the butternut squash with the pressed garlic, and then sprinkle over the rosemary, smoked paprika, cayenne pepper, sea salt flakes and black pepper. Place 2 bay leaves in the cavity of each piece of squash. Transfer to the oven, and bake for approximately 40 minutes. Be sure to keep an eye on the squash, as cooking time depends on the size of the squash. The squash is done when the flesh is easily pierced with a fork.

While the squash is baking, remove the squash seeds from the flesh, rinse and pat dry with paper towel. Toss the seeds with a tiny bit of olive oil and sea salt flakes, and transfer to a baking sheet. Add to the oven 20 minutes before the squash is done, to roast them until they’re nice and crunchy, removing them from the oven at the same time as the squash.

Once the squash is done cooking, remove from the oven and scoop out a little bit of the flesh from the middle of the elongated section of the squash, so as to create a bowl shape. Place the scooped out bits of flesh in the bottom of the baking dish. Add the cubed feta to the main cavity of each butternut squash half plus some in the elongated section of the squash (see photos). Top with additional rosemary, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper, and drizzle another 1-2 tbsp of olive oil over the cheese. Return the baking dish to the oven and bake for a further 15-20 minutes, until the feta is warm throughout.

Remove the baking dish from the oven and allow to cool a little bit before serving, adding the roasted squash seeds as garnish.

Serves 4 as a main, or more as a side.

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