This plant-packed butternut squash is the best way to get through veganuary

The latest edition from Strong Bites is this wintery butternut squash recipe that’s just as good for your gut as it is the planet.

Look, we’re here for plant-based fakeaways and meat alternatives that can ease the need to tuck into a real meat burger during veganuary and beyond. But the real benefits of cutting out meat (particularly for the environment and your gut) come from switching to a diverse range of local and seasonal plants. That’s why we’ll be regularly tucking into hearty goodness like this stuffed squash from our Strong Bites series.

Think you need animal protein to recover from training? Think again, squash is somewhat of a superhero thanks to the fact it hosts potassium and magnesium, minerals associated with supporting nerve and cell function. Plus, it’s packed with vitamins A – crucial to bone health – and C, which we don’t need to tell you helps build a hard-working immune system.

Stuffed with sprouts (which are still seasonal, thank you very much) and dried cranberries (brilliant if you have some to use post-Christmas) for a fibre-packed meal your gut bacteria will enjoy munching on. 

Couscous butternut squash

Couscous stuffed butternut squash recipe

Serves: 2-4

Cooking time: 1 hour


 2 butternut squash, halved & seeds removed

2 tbsp olive oil

150g couscous

150g sprouts, finely shredded

2 sage leaves, finely chopped

100g roasted chestnuts, roughly chopped

25g dried cranberries

50g toasted pecan nuts, roughly chopped

Sea salt & black pepper

Pomegranate seeds, to serve 


1. Preheat the oven to 200°c (fan assisted)/220°c/gas mark seven.

2. Place the butternut squash onto a baking tray, cut side up, and drizzle with the oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for one hour, or until soft and cooked through.

3. Meanwhile, cook the couscous according to the packets instructions.

4. Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the remaining oil. Once hot, add the shredded sprouts and fry for five to six minutes, until softened. Add the sage and fry for a further minute or so.

5. Remove the pan from the heat and add the couscous, chestnuts, cranberries and pecan nuts. Taste and adjust the seasoning if required.

6. Scoop a little flesh out from the centre of each butternut squash to make room for the couscous mixture (don’t throw it away! You can freeze extra butternut squash to use in smoothies, or mash it and serve it as a side dish). Divide the couscous mix between the squash and serve whilst still warm.

Recipe and images courtesy of @georgieeatsuk.

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