How to make Butternut shakshuka, a wonderful, hearty one-pot dish that’s ideal autumnal comfort food

Melanie Johnson shares a recipe for butternut squash that's simple, tasty and exotic.

‘Autumn brings comfort food and this spiced dish is sure to keep you feeling warm,’ says our kitchen garden cook, Melanie Johnson, of this recipe that adds a big dose of extra flavour to butternut squash.

Shakshuka — sometimes spelt shakshouka or chakchouka — is a north-African dish characterised by eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, olive oil, peppers, onion and spices; this take on the classic dish adds the squash for a fine seasonal twist.

It’s not a complicated dish, but if you fancy something even simpler then Melanie suggests that a stuffed butternut squash could also hit the spot: ‘Halve a whole butternut — skin on, from top to bottom — then remove the seeds and fill with a stuffing made by frying together chopped leeks, garlic and lemon zest,’ she suggests.

‘Next add a sachet of ready-to-use mixed grains mixed with some grated mozzarella and cheddar cheese. When filled, replace the two halves back together, tie them with string, then brush all over with oil, roast for 45 minutes and serve with mustard-cream sauce.’ What could be simpler?


Serves 4

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  • 1 tbspn olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • Half a butternut, peeled and diced
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, microplaned
  • 1 tbspn rose harissa (or regular but this one adds a floral balance)
  • 200ml white wine
  • 400g tinned tomatoes
  • 240g drained chickpeas
  • 4 eggs
  • A handful of fresh herbs, such as parsley and basil, chopped


Heat a splash of olive oil in a large heavy-based pan with a lid. Add the onion and cook over a medium heat until soft, but not browned. Tip in the butternut and red pepper and continue to cook until they soften. Add the garlic and rose harissa and cook for a couple of minutes to release the flavours. Pour in the wine, reduce by half, add the tomatoes and leave to simmer for 10–2 minutes.

Once the butternut is cooked, stir in the chickpeas so they are evenly distributed. Crack one egg into a cup and tip it gently onto the mixture. Repeat with all four eggs. Place a lid on the pan and cook for a few minutes until the eggs are set, but still have a delightfully runny yolk.

To finish, scatter over the chopped herbs and serve with buttered toast.

How to make stuffed butternut squash with bangers and mash

When autumn arrives, it brings with it the most amazing excuse to eat comfort food.