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Stuffed Butternut Squash with Moroccan Spiced Barley & Chickpeas

 Stuffed Butternut Squash with Moroccan Spiced Barley & Chickpeas    

A heartwarming recipe to warm you up all winter. This was the main attraction at our Moroccan Christmas cooking classes. Barley is a healthy and hearty grain and it soaks up all the wonderful spices in this home made ras-el-hanout spice blend. 

Lerato recipes

Cooking Time: 50 mins - 60 mins

Serves 4 people  

1 Butternut squash, topped & tailed, halved lengthways & deseeded 

Olive oil 

300g Pearl Barley (washed & soaked overnight  or 30 minutes before cooking)

1 large onion, thinly sliced 

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated 

1 chilli pepper, de-stalked & chopped 

1 red bell pepper, de-stalked, deseeded & chopped 

2 tbsp ras-el-hanout spices (see recipe here)

250g chickpeas

3 large carrots, scrubbed 

1 ltr hot vegetable stock (or 2 stock cubes in hot water)

Sea salt & black pepper 

1 small bunch parsley, finely chopped 

1 small bunch coriander, finely chopped

4 mint leaves, roughly chopped  

2 tbsp pomegranate seeds


Let's get cooking!

1. Pre-heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas mark 6. Place the halved and deseeded butternut squash on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Brush the insides with olive oil and roast for 40 - 50 minutes until tender. Once cooked use a spoon to carefully scoop out some of the cooked squash in order to make space for your stuffing.

2. For the barley, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a pot, sweat the onions for up to 10 minutes until softened. Add the garlic, chopped chilli, peppers and 2 tablespoons of the toasted and ground ras-el-hanout spices. Pour in the chopped carrots, chickpeas and stir well.

3. Add the barley to the pot with 500ml of hot stock, saving the rest for later; then season with salt and a teaspoon of black pepper. Stir and cover to cook on medium heat for 40 - 50 minutes. Check every 20 minutes and push the sides without stirring as we don’t want mush. Add more water as the barley dries up until cooked with just a bite. 

4. In the final 5 minutes of cooking, you can and the scooped squash into the barley.

5. Season the remaining whole side of squash with a pinch of sea salt and sprinkle with some of the leftover ground spices, scoop the cooked barley onto the squash and top with chopped parsley, coriander, mint, chopped pumpkin seeds and some pomegranate jewels! 

What a colourful and heartwarming dish to serve as a vegan centrepiece or as one of your many sides for a festive celebration. 


If you enjoyed this recipe, please like and share with the world. I love reading from you, so share your pictures when you do try it.

Remember to tag me @leratofoods on Instagram, Twitter & Facebook also using the hashtag #leratofoods so I can easily find your posts.
Happy cooking!!!


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